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Extreme cold affects streetcar service

Today’s extreme cold has delayed the TTC in rolling out this morning’s streetcar service due to frozen switches in Russell and Roncesvalles yards and problems with the pneumatic air lines on some vehicles. As the extreme cold continues, the TTC is warning that morning rush hour will see a shortage of streetcars across the network.

Shuttle buses are operating along all streetcar routes to support streetcar service as crews work to resolve the issue.

The streetcar fleet and equipment — older than 30 years in many cases — do not respond well to extreme cold. Specifically, moisture can build up in the pneumatic air lines that provide braking and door operation then freeze, requiring the TTC to remove a streetcar from service.

The new fleet of low-floor, accessible streetcars that begin service this August will not be susceptible to extreme cold as the current fleet is. They use a combination of electrical and hydraulic systems, rather than pneumatic.

The TTC is phasing in the new cars over six years.