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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Streetcars

Remember the old Red Rocket? It was light, fast and nimble. It accelerated quickly from stops and could keep up with traffic. So the ride was a little rough and noisy, but it kept slowing traffic down to a minimum and I remember enjoying its quick pace.

Then the TTC decided it needed much bigger and heavier streetcars and the CLRV was developed. It was dramatically different that the old rocket. Over 15 meters long and at 22,685 kg, it was a monster on the tight and congested city streets. The biggest problem (nobody ever talks about it!) with the streetcar was its weight. The entire track network had to be replaced with heavier duty design at a huge cost. The streetcars would wear out the new tracks every few years anyway, so expensive replacements were needed often, costing a lot of money and tying up traffic on major streets for months!

Now we have the new streetcar from Bombardier coming to our streets. What did The Commission decide it needed? Bigger, heavier and slower streetcars, of course! At 30 meters and 48,200 kg, it is huge! Many stops and stations will have to be modified as a result and the tracks will wear out even faster!

I love public transit! As a car enthusiast, I want to see more drivers off the road, so there is more room for me to drive! But Toronto’s lack of long term subway development over the last few decades and the streetcar fiasco make me hate the TTC and our city leaders and bureaucrats with a passion.

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