New Subway Design in 2009? Public Consultation This Year



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During the January meeting of the Toronto Transit Commission, Commissioners were treated to a Powerpoint presentation on possible designs for new subway cars to be bought for 2009-2010. The TTC is looking to replace 234 aging cars and its representatives paid a visit to four properties in Hong Kong and China to see how six-car trainsets with “wide inter-car open gangways” operated. The visit seems to have TTC planners leaning towards bringing in six-car articulated trainsets into the fleet. By allowing passengers access to the whole train, the TTC not only cuts the cost and complexity of its trainsets (by reducing the number of cabs available), but it increases the train-sets’ capacity, allowing crowds to distribute more evenly through the whole train.

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The TTC hopes to issue a request for proposals this month, to be followed up with a website inviting public comment on the possible new designs by April. A full-scale mock-up for public viewing could be available by June, with a contract awarded this October. The pictures you see here are an artist representation of what the mock-up might look like.

One comment that I’m sure is going to be made is the lack of forward-facing seating. This was a strong complaint when the original mock-up of the T1 car was produced. The TTC argues that perimeter (side-facing) seating allows the cars to carry more people during crush loads, and makes the cars easier to navigate and thus to evacuate in an emergency, but many people find side-facing seats uncomfortable inducers of motion sickness. It will be interesting to see if the TTC considers these complaints when the public gets its first look at the new cars’ mock-up.

These pictures were made available by transit enthusiast and activist David Fisher.

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