They’ve been clattering along Toronto streets for over 40 years and on Sunday, the last of the TTC’s Canadian Light Rail Vehicle (CLRV) streetcars made their final journey along Queen Street.
The iconic red streetcars are being put out to pasture as the TTC continues to convert their fleet to Bombardier Inc.’s “Flexity Outlook” accessible streetcars.
Next to the CN Tower, Toronto’s streetcar fleet has become a symbol of a city on the move over the years, often gracing coffee mugs, t-shirts, and other forms of pop-art. Tourists can often be seen snapping photos of the vehicles as they glide down busy downtown streets.
The first CLRV streetcar entered service on Sept. 30, 1979, as part of a program to replace the elderly “Red Rocket” trains, some of which had been in service since 1938, the TTC says.
“In total, the TTC purchased 196 CLRV streetcars, supplemented in 1988 by an additional 52 Articulated Light Rail Vehicles (ALRVs), which were nearly double the length of the CLRV,” the TTC says. “The last of the ALRV fleet was officially retired on Sept. 2, 2019.”
The old streetcars won’t disappear forever though – the TTC says several will be kept by the agency and by transit museums in Canada and the United States.