Bombardier Recommended for Low Floor Streetcar Order (Updated)

Updated April 25, 9:30 am.  I have added material from the media briefing and the staff report that I did not have time to incorporate in the original article.  The additional material is appended below after the break. 

On April 24, the TTC announced that Bombardier has won the competition for an order for 204 new low floor streetcars for Toronto.  The staff recommendation will go to the Commission itself for approval on Monday, April 27.

Both Bombardier and Siemens bid on this tender, and the proposals from both vendors were considered to be compliant both on technical and financial grounds.  Therefore the question came down to cost and with Siemens’ bid over 50% higher than Bombardier’s, there was no question about the winner.

The vehicles will be a modified version of the Flexity car with three powered two-axle trucks and five car sections.  Bombardier has not yet updated their site with information about the vehicles (as of 2:00 pm EDT April 24).  An illustration of the proposed car is in the Toronto Star’s article posted earlier today.

Although not guaranteed, this contract places Bombardier at the front of the line for supplying cars to the much larger Transit City system, especially if that builds out to anything near its full extent.  The contract includes provision for add-on orders, but the TTC will be negotiating their price separately as the Transit City cars will have significant differences affecting their cost:

  • Transit City will be built to specifications that allow off-the-shelf cars to operate on it — no tight curves or steep grades.
  • The TC cars will be double-ended and double-sided.
  • The TC cars will likely have only two powered trucks rather than three.

Subject to funding, a process still under negotiation with the Federal and Provincial governments, the first prototypes would arrive in Toronto in mid-to-late 2011 for non-revenue testing.  Production deliveries would start in 2012 and stretch out to 2018 by which time the last of the existing CLRV and ALRV fleets would have been retired.  A new carhouse, likely in the Port Lands, will be required to house this fleet while the older cars would run from Russell and Roncesvalles.

Postscript:  I cannot help mentioning that the illustration of the new car shows a vehicle facing westbound on Queen at Bay signed “Neville”. Continue reading