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The Toronto Rocket (T35A08) Mockup

Text by James Bow

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In 2006, to showcase the proposed new design features of the next generation of Toronto subway cars, the TTC and Bombardier modified a T1 train set with a new interior configuration. Cars 5344 and 5345 were taken out of service and their interior remade for public display.

These cars were put on display beside the third platform of Davisville station and opened to the public from June 6 to June 20, 2006, Mondays to Fridays, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. After this, the cars were displayed at these times at Finch station from June 21 to June 23, Downsview station from June 26 to June 30, Kipling station from July 10 to July 14 and Kennedy station from July 17 to July 21.

As part of the display, viewers were asked to fill out a survey assessing the effectiveness of various features and asking for customer input. Potential passengers praised the passenger intercom system, and the ability for train crews to see the customer who is talking to them, as well as the electronic version of the Toronto subway map and other features letting passengers know which stations the train would arrive at next. The gangway design was also popular, both as a means to spread out the load throughout the train, and to aid in a possible evacuation.

I was able to make it out to Davisville on one of the days these cars were on display, and here is a photo journal of what I found.

Mockup Photos

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The third platform at Davisville was empty when I arrived, but I spotted two TTC courtesy personnel waiting for the train to arrive. It pulled in from the north a few minutes later and parked itself at the north end of the platform.

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Only car 5345 was modified, with mirrors but into place to mimic the new subway’s gangway effect. The exterior was not significantly modified, but one new feature was added: a blue LED light beside the door to highlight “multi-purpose areas” of the train, where people in wheelchairs or people pushing strollers could park themselves out of the flow of traffic.

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Here you can see the gangway effect achieved through the use of mirrors. You can also see the mockup of the proposed LED display that will announce station stops, and tell passengers which doors will open.

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This is a representation of the articulation that would exist between cars. Here, it’s placed between the middle doors of car 5345. The mirror at the rear of the car is placed right between the doors of the fourth doorway, which presents a slightly inaccurate appearance for the car, with only three doors between articulations instead of four. This is consistent throughout the car, with the mirrors at the front placed right between the doors of the first doorway.

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One of the bells and whistles displayed on the mockup is this LED version of the TTC’s subway map. Coloured lights will tell riders where they are on the network, where they are going, and where the doors will open at the next stop.

photo5.jpgThe red X indicates that doors will open on the opposite side. The green arrow indicates the doors will open on this side.

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This artists conception, taken from the TTC’s website, illustrates one feature the mockup car was unable to encapsulate. The proposed trains are to feature cabs which stretch the width of the car. The TTC official on duty admitted that a number of people had complained about the loss of the “railfan” window allowing passengers to look out the front of the train.

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Another shot of the gangway effect. Photo by Gordon Keith.

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And another shot of the articulation mockup. Photo by Gordon Keith.

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Another feature of that the mock-up car was not able to simulate was the evacuation ramp out of the front of the train, allowing passengers, including those on wheelchairs, to quickly reach track level.

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This image, taken from the TTC website, illustrates possible internal colour schemes that passengers could choose between. Scheme 1 is obviously closest to that of the T-1, and the internal appearance of the mock-up. The other schemes do not match the internal configuration of the mockup or feature only unpopular side-facing seats. One wonders which scheme passengers favoured.