The Last (Official) Trip of the ALRVs

Today the TTC officially retired the last of the ARLV (Articulated Light Rail Vehicle) fleet with 4204 and 4207 doing the honours running a 501 Queen shuttle between Russell Carhouse (east of Greenwood) and Wolseley Loop (at Bathurst Street).

In what has become a tradition with the TTC’s older cars, there was an emergency truck and a “pusher” CLRV whose job would be to push its partner ALRV back to the carhouse (or at least off of a main route) if something went wrong. 4117 shadowed 4204 while 4156 partnered 4207.

Nothing went amiss, and the ALRVs ran their three hours of service without incident. Indeed, 4207 did double duty making an early trip as part of the Labour Day Parade before making the first eastbound trip on the 501 ALRV shuttle from Bathurst Street.

Many people are posting photos from the day on Twitter and Facebook. Here are the best of my own.

13 thoughts on “The Last (Official) Trip of the ALRVs

  1. Compliments Steve! Always love your streetcar photography.
    Any nostalgia seeing these run for the last time?

    Steve: It’s odd having been around for the fight to save the streetcar system in 1972, then seeing a new generation of cars, first the CLRVs then the ALRVs come in as a result. It has been a long arc, and we have not accomplished anywhere near as much with LRT in Toronto as we should have thanks to political meddling. Now the TTC desperately needs a bigger fleet, and there is no sense of where we will get it or how we will pay for it.


  2. Thank you for posting your comments and photographs, Steve. By the way, #4117 wasn’t just a pusher – it actually was picking up and dropping off passengers along the way. I was going to try to get a ride on one of the ALRVs but both were packed, literally. When #4117 stopped and let people on, I got on for the ride. And #4117 was providing free trips as well.

    Steve: Yes, I mentioned this in the article.


  3. Good to see you today. Two questions:

    1) Do you believe that the TTC will actually keep a working ALRV as part of its fleet, given the discussion about how its electronics (DC choppers) aren’t being manufactured anymore?

    Steve: They will keep one. How well it will work is another matter. Over time, there will also be a problem with the loss of people who know how to maintain these cars.

    2) About a decade ago, I was cycling behind an ALRV, and it roared and growled every time it accelerated/decelerated, like this ALRV in this video. To my disappointment, neither of the final ALRV’s roared today the way I was hoping. Does anyone know what causes this roar on some ALRV’s but not others?

    Steve: Throwing this out for comment from readers.


  4. Steve said: there is no sense of where we will get it or how we will pay for it.” But we could nix the Suspect Subway Extension and convert that special tax to something with more value that yes, would spend in Scarborough eg. Eglinton E LRT, but also a transit-fleet/yard fund. Yes, it would require politicians brave enough to go for value, and also smart enough to do math of both ridership and value for expenditures, and commit to showing their work/equations, or the work of tteir staff/agencies. Hmm – didn’t Metrolinx opine that the SSE wasn’t good value??? Oh, that was before Premier Ford??

    Steve: Metrolinx opines whatever way the Minister tells them to. Their “professional judgement” cannot be trusted.


  5. @ Jacob Louy

    Sometimes the choppers used to have a noticeable hum, especially in regenerative braking mode. Other cause good be gear hum.


  6. While most of the ALRVs will be sent to the scrap heap, the TTC plans to save one or two ALRVs in Toronto for preservation and send some to railway museums like the Halton County Railway Museum, is that correct Steve?

    Steve: What I have heard so far is that one car will be kept operational in Toronto for special occasions, and one car will go to Rockwood. The museum folks have to decide how much effort they want to put into making their car functional as opposed to a static display.


  7. Hi Steve, you said is that will the 204 new low-floor streetcars – which are all due to arrive by December 2019 or January 2020 – have sufficient enough vehicles to cover all 11 streetcar lines across Toronto, will there be enough resources or are we still going to be short? So how many streetcars are required overall to cover all 11 streetcar routes across the city?

    Steve: We will still be short because of riding growth and longer running/recovery times in schedules. I will be writing about this later this fall when the report on additional new streetcars surfaces. It’s due soon, but there is no announced date for it yet.


  8. Streetcars are a higher class of public transit, above buses. The articulated streetcars were a (+) plus on that class.


  9. Will any of the ALRV or CLRV be preserved for occasional surprise trips, events, or a museum? I think that at least two of each should be preserved in the name of history.

    Steve: The TTC plans to save one ALRV and a few CLRVs. How reliably they will work is quite another matter. Also the streetcar museum in Rockwood will get one of each car.


  10. I remember seeing the ALRVs for the first time back when I was in senior kindergarten on Bathurst St. near College. I still have some art from 1987/88 when I was of an early age, I must have really liked them. : ) I am sorry to hear that the TTC did not follow on the piggyback order for additional LRVs. There are many tram car manufacturers to choose from for additional vehicle orders. I’m not sure what will happen over the 2020s, the routes may have to be supplemented with buses again and then at the last minute the decision would be made for more LRVs.


  11. A week or two ago I rode on 4580, the highest number Flexity I have seen, so far. Could the TTC decide better the devil we know, and purchase additional Flexities, from Bombardier? Should this decision hinge on whether the last vehicle is delivered, and accepted, this year?

    Now that Bombardier has sold off its Crown Jewels, its airliner division, how healthy is it? Is it a gamble to give them a multi-year contract?

    Steve: There are at least two problems here. First, Bombardier would have to build up its supply chain for parts and so deliveries would not be continuous with the present order as they would have been if TTC had placed the order a few years ago. Next, there is no funding in any budget – city, province or federak – to pay for this, and all available funding has been earmarked mainly for subway projects.

    I do not think it is realistic that the TTC will order more cars until Ford is out of office and until funding for general capital programs beyond subway expansion improves. Who will build them by then is anyone’s guess.


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