Hawker Siddeley Canada H5

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Hawker Siddeley H5
Toronto Transit Commission 5741-a.jpg
Delivered 1976-1979
Numbered 5670-5807
Lines Yonge-University-Spadina
Seats 76
Control Chopper
Toronto Transit Commission 5796-a.jpg

The Hawker Siddeley Canada H5 is a type of subway car built for the Toronto Transit Commission. They are classified as H5 by the TTC, but are based on the common Hawker Siddeley RT75 design of previous cars.


The Toronto Transit Commission received 138 H5 subway cars, ordered in 1974 and delivered between 1976 and 1979. They were ordered for the future Spadina subway line and Bloor-Danforth extensions. The H5 subway cars were the first subway cars to be equipped with air conditioning and chopper control as standard equipment. Unlike previous subway cars, the H5 used seating similar to those used in CLRV streetcars]]. These seats were easier to maintain than the bench seats. The H5 cars dropped the characteristic recess, tapering accent around the class lights in favour a simple flat surface.

The front and the rear of the H5 cars were painted with black accents on either side of the end doors. Due to safety and visibility issues, the TTC decided to experimentally repaint these areas with a variety of different, high-visibility colours that included a white end with red, yellow, and orange strips. Finally the TTC settled on simply painting the ends silver. Aside from the Gloucesters and one-off experiment of painting H1 cars 5496 and 5497 red, the H5 cars were the only other revenue subway cars to be painted anything other than the standard silver (ends) and black or grey (roof).

Retirement and resale

The delivery of the Bombardier Toronto Rocket cars allowed the 5300 series T1 cars to move to the Bloor-Danforth line and replace the H4 cars. After all the H4 cars were retired in January 2012, TR deliveries began to retire the H5s. Retirement was fairly sequential, with many of the early cars retired first.

It was announced in September 2011 that 255 H5 and H6 cars were to be sold to EKO Rail, for refurbishing and use on a new LRT project in Lagos, Nigeria. However, a large number of mostly early H5 cars have been hauled off to Future Enterprises in Hamilton ON to be scrapped. Most of the remaining retirees were trucked for storage in Buffalo, New York, to be refurbished at a facility in Hornell. Cars were removed from the commission property on low loader flatbed trucks from Wilson Yard. The rebuild program, later cut down to only H5 cars, eventually fell through when EKO Rail decided to purchase new rolling stock from China instead. The roughly 76 cars shipped stateside were scrapped by the end of August 2015.

The final TTC H5 train made its last run on June 14th 2013, involving cars (Finch end) 5791-5790-5779-5778-5789-5788 (Downsview end) making an afternoon trip from Downsview to Finch and back to the yard. On the return trip up the line, technical issues were encountered with lead car 5788 at Eglinton West, which forced the train to go out of service and deadhead back to the yard.

Later retirees were sent to Westbrook Metals for scrap. The final H5 car left TTC property on October 2nd, 2013.

Spotting Features

  • Flush-mounted lighting on flat end caps at the top ends.
  • Yellow interior doors and doorways.
  • End gate bumpers new flat plate design, instead of sideways T-shaped on previous H-series cars.
  • Reinforcing silver gasket around front window opposite operator controls.
  • Front windows no longer recessed like on previous orders.
  • Side indicator light cluster have 3 lights, instead of 2 on the previous H4 class.

Exception: 5796 has various external and interior spotting features almost identical to the T1 class (see below).

Interesting Facts

  • 5804-5807 were ordered to replace H1 cars 5388-5391 (destroyed by a vandal-instigated fire at Christie Station on October 1976).
  • 5804-5807 were delivered with high-visibility red and orange stripes on their front ends. The stripes were removed in the mid-1990s.
  • 5804-5807 were equipped with M.A.N. (Germany) trucks. Hawker Siddeley acquired the right to manufacture these trucks. This allowed the company to test the design in North America service, and were later used under the H6 subway cars and ALRV's.
  • 5755 was involved in a split switch accident in the Greenwood yard, and was scrapped after the accident. A portion of the cab was preserved for training purpose. Its sister 5754 was modified so that it could operate as a single car (with systems of both an "A" and "B" car, and was later paired up with 5720 (see below) when its mate was destroyed.
  • 5796 was modified by the UTDC and Can-Car sometime between July and December 1990 to become a testbed of some of possible interior configurations of the then-upcoming T1. It also received the same trucks that were later used under the T1 cars. It has kept those modifications since then, including a different interior colour scheme and (reduced) seating arrangement, and exterior body modifications.
  • 5721 was scrapped on May 6, 1999 after it crashed into a H1 train in the Russell Hill subway accident. Its mate, 5720, was renumbered to 5754, while the original 5754 was renumbered 5755.
  • 5717 caught fire on June 8th 2011 and has since been retired and scrapped. Its mate 5716 had been stored after (it is speculated from observation and personal spottings of active units at the time that 5716 may have been the first car shipped to EKO Rail in the US for refurbishing, as all other cars in the fleet were accounted for after the announcement, and 5717 was sent to Hamilton for scrap).
  • A few cars have had all their centre standee poles removed throughout the length of the car. Examples are 5784-5787 and 5799 (not all cars listed). All cars have had the standee pole at the non-cab end under the end air conditioner unit removed.

See also