The Air Conditioned Streetcar

Car 4041 has been plying Spadina Avenue this week showing off a trial installation of air conditioning on a CLRV.  This morning when I went for a ride, the weather was moderately warm, not boiling, and it was fairly humid.  The car had a partial seated load as it was right behind its leader.

The A/C is nowhere near as aggressive as it is on some buses or on the T1 subway cars.  Moreover, depending on where you are in the car, you may not feel the effect at all because the cool air does not blow out evenly.  If the car were packed and/or if it were much hotter, I doubt that the unit would be able to keep up with the load.

This brings me to the question of having windows that open on air-conditioned vehicles.  Aside from the fact that on cooler days we could save energy by just letting air blow in from outside, if the A/C cannot keep up with the heat and humidity in the car, a sealed car would be even less comfortable than what we have now.

When I rode back north on a non-A/C car, I sat beside the open window and was actually cooler than I had been on 4041.

If this is an example of what we’ll get on new or rebuilt streetcars, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.