Canadian Light Rail Vehicle

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Toronto Transit Commission 4107-a.jpg
Locale Toronto
Years of manufacture 1977 to 1980
Years of operation 1977 to present
Track gauge 4 ft 10 7/8 in (1495 mm)
Toronto Transit Commission 4041-a.jpg

The Canadian Light Rail Vehicle (CLRV) is a type of streetcar currently used by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) in Toronto, Canada. They are classed by the TTC as L1 (cars manufactured by SIG) and L2 (cars manufactured by Hawker Siddeley Canada).


It was decided in the early 1970s that should the TTC decide to retain streetcars, it would require a fleet of new vehicles. The TTC worked with the province of Ontario's Ontario Transportation Development Corporation (OTDC) (later Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC)) to design what they called the Canadian Light Rail Vehicle (CLRV). In August 1975 the contract was awarded to UTDC to design and manufacture 200 cars. A mock-up was displayed at that year's Canadian National Exhibition.

As UTDC did not have the capability at that time to manufacture the cars, it was decided to approach an existing offshore manufacturer to produce a number of prototype cars - Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG) of Zurich, Switzerland was awarded the contract to produce 10 cars (which was later reduced to 6). UTDC then awarded the balance of the order to Hawker Siddeley Canada, which manufactured the cars in their plant in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The first six SIG-built CLRVs was delivered between December 29, 1977 and July 13, 1978. The cars built by Hawker Siddeley were delivered from April 24, 1979 to November 19, 1981. Following extensive testing, the first car entered service on September 30, 1979 on the 507 Long Branch route.

Much as any new vehicle, teething problems were faced, and over time the cars have had many modifications made. The original forced-air cooling system was found to be insufficient, and the lack of opening windows a hazard, and so cars were retrofitted early on with sliding sashes. The first 6 SIG cars had their angled perimeter seating retrofitted to the standard configuration soon after the introduction of the rest of the cars. And the couplers, which all cars had been delivered with, were slowly removed, the gaps at the front of each car filled with a replaceable fibreglass "Shiner" skirt, so named after a city counselor who had suggested the skirts to cover up the large gap left by the removal of the coupler.


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