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Bombardier delivers first LRV for Eglinton Crosstown, on track for TTC streetcar delivery

Last Updated Jan 8, 2019 at 6:57 pm EDT

Two years after missing its initial delivery deadline and two months after missing the revised date, Bombardier delivered the first LRV car for the Eglinton Crosstown line on Tuesday.

Bombardier was expected to deliver the first prototype in August 2016. When that deadline passed with no cars in sight, the date was revised to November 2018 — with media getting a preview of the new vehicles at Bombardier’s Kingston facility in October.

Metrolinx says the LRV was finally delivered to Toronto on Tuesday and will undergo numerous tests over the coming weeks including safety and communications testing. It will then be subject to dynamic testing as well as “vehicle to infrastructure integration activities.”

“We are pleased to see Bombardier Transportation deliver one of the Crosstown Light Rail Transit vehicles to our new Eglinton Maintenance and Storage Facility, which is substantially complete and ready to receive the vehicles,” said Metrolinx spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins in a statement.

In addition, Bombardier has a contractual commitment to deliver five more vehicles by February.

“Under the new contract terms, there are financial penalties for Bombardier if they fail to deliver quality vehicles as per agreed schedule,” said Aikins.

A Bombardier spokesperson tells CityNews the company is on target to make good on its commitment for February.

In total, 76 Bombardier LRVs are to be delivered by 2021, when the crosstown line is expected to be finished and functional.

In the past, Metrolinx had raised concerns that delays in LRV delivery could jeopardize the opening of the line, but a spokesperson said Wednesday that is no longer a concern. Alstom vehicles will be used on Finch West LRT and Hurontario LRT lines.

Construction of the Eglinton Crosstown line began in 2011 with a projected ten year timeline for completion. The project has been moving at a steady clip with tunneling work completed in mid-August 2016 and 15 underground stations under construction by the end of that year.

TTC also plagued by streetcar delivery delays

Along with the delayed delivery of LRVs for the Eglinton Crosstown line, Bombardier’s contract for TTC streetcars has also famously hit several snags over the years.

Of the 184 new streetcars that were originally scheduled to be on the road by now, 117 are currently in service.

However, on Tuesday, TTC spokesman Stuart Green say he’s optimistic targets will be met, with the entire order of 204 new streetcars expected to be delivered by the original delivery date — the end of 2019.

“They’re improving. In December we had about six that were delivered — they came in just under the target for 2018,” he says. “Since they brought the Kingston plant online, they’ve really upped the production. The signs are encouraging. We’re still pushing them and we still expect to have 204 streetcars by the end of 2019.”

To meet the target, Bombardier will have to deliver 82 more streetcars — two a week — till the end of the year.

“It’s an ambitious target, there’s no question about it,” says Green. “With some good luck and some good work from the two plants that they have open now, we should hit that target.”

While the total target is now expected to be delivered as per the original time frame, the delays in meeting scheduled delivery have put considerable strain on TTC resources.

“It’s put a strain on us in terms of having to have buses out, having to keep the older streetcars on the road longer than we wanted to, there’s no question about that,” says Green. “Certainly we’ve had to do a lot of juggling and a lot of moving around of resources.”

In the meantime, the new streetcars that have been delivered are running on Spadina Avenue, King Street, Queens Quay and St. Clair Avenue and the TTC has been filling gaps in other streetcar routes with buses.

The next route to convert to the new vehicles will be Queen Street, with Dundas and Bathurst Streets, Kingston Road and Carlton Street to follow.