Riding the Rails

Today took me out on a ramble around the west end of the city on a three-car streetcar charter organized by the Toronto Transportation Society.  The cars used were PCC 4500 (one of the two remaining PCCs in Toronto), Peter Witt 2766 and CLRV 4041 (the one with air conditioning, although this wasn’t a day for it since we’re under the last clouds of the leftovers from hurricane Ernesto).

I spent the first half of the five-hour trip on 2766, an old friend I have not ridden for many years.  Aside from the nostalgia of riding an 84-year old car on city streets, it’s fun to see the car reflected in storefronts, and even more fun to watch the eyes of passersby light up to see the old car.  For the second half, I rode on 4500 and watched 2766 follow us at a distance. Continue reading

The Bombardier Subway Cars: How Much Do They Really Cost?

This isn’t news to anyone, but I wanted to give a bit of the flavour of the discussion at last week’s TTC meeting on this issue.

The TTC has a very bad habit of bringing forward Capital Budget projects that are incomplete — projects that look to be self contained when they are really only the first in a series.  A simple example is a bus purchase that begets a new garage and a requirement to hire, train and pay more staff.  In theory, we are supposed to see the full project impacts and estimated costs at the outset, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Continue reading

The RT and Scarborough’s Future

The Final Report of the Scarborough RT Strategic Plan came up for discussion nearly at the end of a very long Commission meeting on August 30.  This was preceded by a long presentation on the Capital Budget, approval of the Bombardier subway car order and a moving deputation by the wives of two workmen seriously injured by on-the-job carbon monoxide poisoning.  Lengthy debate was unlikely. Continue reading