Monday is your last chance to ride the TTC’s old, articulated streetcars
August 29, 2019
If you’re a transit enthusiast, now is your chance to take one last ride on one of Toronto’s oldest streetcars.
On Monday, the TTC is officially retiring the last two of its articulated light rail vehicle (ALRV) streetcars -- which are about three decades old -- despite the agency’s efforts to extend their life for up to an additional 10 years.
According to the transit agency, both vehicles will run on Queen St. from 2 p.m. until roughly 5 p.m. on Labour Day. One will depart from the Russell Carhouse near Queen St. E. and Greenwood Ave. and head east until Bathurst St.
The other streetcar will depart from Bathurst and Wolseley Sts., at around the same time, although the precise time won’t be determined until later due to road closures and traffic from the Canadian National Exhibition. That car will be part of the Labour Day parade, along with other older model TTC streetcars.
The very last car leaves from the Wolseley Loop at 4:15 p.m. and will return to the Russell Carhouse at around 5 p.m., the TTC said.
Service on the two ALRVs will be free on their last day in commission.
Toronto transit expert Steve Munro said he was “surprised” that the ALRVs were being put in service one last time.
“I’ll go out and track them down and hope that it’s still in service by the time I get there,” he said.
Munro said the ALRVs, which are the longer, articulated cousins of the Canadian Light Rail Vehicle (CLRV) streetcars, have a long history with Toronto public transit.
“There were originally 52 of them (when they were first put into service in the late 1980s),” Munro said. “The idea of having longer cars was to improve the staff to passenger ratio.”
Decades after they were first introduced, Munro said it’s “impressive” they’re only coming to an end now, “because they certainly weren’t designed” to last that long.
In 2015, the TTC spent $26 million on what it said was a major maintenance program designed to extend the life of 30 of its older streetcars, the majority of which are ALRVs. The project was aiming to make the vehicles last another 10 years.
However, the vehicles are so unreliable that the agency can only place two or three into service each day, with the majority of streetcars stuck in a garage in need of repairs.