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TTC orders subway cars from Bombardier

Delivery expected this fall for sleek ‘Rockets’

By Katherine Laidlaw

Four years after the deal was struck, the Toronto Transit Commission has optioned 186 new subway cars from Bombardier Transportation to the tune of nearly $400-million.

The decision, voted on last week by city councillors who sit on the TTC board and announced yesterday by Bombardier, will bring 31 new subway trains to Toronto beginning this fall.

The trains, dubbed the “Rocket,” are slated to replace aging vehicles on the Yonge-University-Spadina line. The T1 trains now running on that line will move to the Bloor-Danforth line.

The first pilot train in the series is being tested at Bombardier’s Kingston plant now, and will be delivered to Toronto this fall, says Marc-Andre Lefebvre, a Bombardier spokesman. The rest of the fleet will arrive in the city between September 2012 and November 2013.

“It’s a totally new car,” said Mr. Lefebvre. “You won’t be able to recognize it at all.”

The sleek silver Rockets are an aesthetic departure from the T1, although the trademark burgundy upholstery inside is staying. Unlike the T1, the train will be one piece to allow passengers to walk its full length.

“There’s a kind of sleeve that links two cars together,” said Mr. Lefebvre, adding no doors will be built in between cars to allow for a clear walkway.

The cars are also slightly wider, Mr. Lefebvre said, to allow for a higher passenger

capacity. The cars’ vertical poles will have antibacterial covers in an attempt to improve sanitation, and an automated display panel with stop announcements and interactive screen maps on the walls will tell passengers what station they’re headed to.

Each train will also have closed-circuit television cameras as part of a ramped-up security system.

In December 2006, Bombardier won a contract to build 39 subway trains for the TTC. Included in that contract was a provision that could be exercised by July 31, 2010, by the TTC to order more trains at the same price. The city will now pay the same basic unit price they paid in 2006, plus an extra $107,000 plus taxes, per train, for some design changes to the 31 trains they’ve now ordered— unless the Canadian dollar drops below 94ยข to USD$1, which will require the board to approve more money for the deal.