|Toronto's New Subway Cars
KEVIN MCGRAN - May 17th, 2006.
Maybe you didn't know it, but for the past 50 years, you've ridden the M-Car, the G-Car, the H-Car and the T1.
But the TTC has finally had enough of boring, old internal "engineer speak" it uses to refer to the various of models of subway trains it has used through the years.
With the TTC opting for a radical new design for its next-generation trains, it wants a radical new name for the fleet. So it's having a Name the Subway Train contest.
"We think this is quite the significant departure from the traditional way that we've done things in Toronto," said TTC project manager Chris Heald. "We're going away from these 2-car trains to 6-car trains. We don't think T2 is the right designation. We're saying: `Why don't you tell us what you think it should be called?'
"The `Silver Bullets?' We don't know. We have no idea."
Commissioners will discuss details of the contest as well as the future of the subway at their monthly meeting today. It's expected the contest will be part of a new train unveiling June 5 at Davisville Station. One of the current T1s will be reconfigured to look — as much as possible — like the kind of car the TTC will be purchasing to begin replacing the fleet in 2009.
The seats will be all along and under the window, facing the middle. The rear doors will open allowing people to move through cars. And the driver's cockpit will exist only in the front and rear of the 6-car configuration.
The TTC will also seek comments from riders about what they hope to see in new trains via a website, a survey and various public events this summer.
"We're trying to get as much consultation and feedback from the public as we can," Heald said.
Bombardier, which has the exclusive right to deal with the TTC for new subway trains until September, is expected to make a formal proposal to supply trains at the end of this month with negotiations continuing in June.
If no agreement is reached, the TTC will go to the open market for its new trains. Even if Bombardier and the TTC reach a deal, it will still be scrutinized by an independent consultant company.
"If they don't think we're getting value for money, or if they don't feel it's competitive with today's world market, then we can't sign with Bombardier," Heald said. "But they are competitive. They know what the prices are worldwide better than anyone. We're not expecting them to be too far away from what we're looking for."
The current fleet of 372 T1s were built by Bombardier. The T stands for Toronto.
The remaining 306 subway trains (H-cars) were built by Hawker-Siddeley Canada Ltd. The M-Cars were built by Montreal Locomotive Works Ltd. and were phased out in the 1960s. Bombardier now owns Hawker-Siddeley and MLW.
The G-cars came from Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Co., of Bristol, England. They were the first subway trains, often called "Gloucesters" (pronounced Glos-ters). Some say the red Gloucester gave the TTC its "Red Rocket" nickname; others say it is derived from red streetcars.