Urban Transportation Development Corporation

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The Urban Transportation Development Corporation was a crown corporation of the Province of Ontario that was involved in the development and later production of many transit products, primarily for transit properties in Ontario.

History

UTDC was a crown corporation originally named Ontario Transportation Development Corp. (OTDC) and created on June 22, 1973 by the Government of Ontario, Canada, to develop transit vehicles for the province's public transit authorities. Largely this work would be for the province's largest authority, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) although it would later design and build vehicles and systems for a variety of different transit properties across North America.

The first projects undertaken by the UTDC was the design of a system called the ICTS that the Province had been planning since the late 1960's. Envisioned as a half-way system between streetcars and subways, it was to be cheaper and quicker to build than subway, but capable of carrying more passengers than streetcars.

Around the same time, the TTC announced its decision to retain streetcars, and the UTDC was tasked with developing a new, standard car that would be used in Toronto and could be sold to the other properties in North America that had retained their streetcars, such as Boston and Philadelphia.

Development of Facilities

As part of the ICTS project, a plan was approved that called for the development of a facility dedicated to developping, testing, and later, manufacturing various transit system products. On September 29, 1978, the facility was opened in the town of Millhaven, just west of Kingston, Ontario. Although it was initially dedicated to development, a manufacturing facility was built on the site in 1982 - it was called VentureTrans Manufacturing.

In March of 1983, UTDC also purchased a stake in the Hawker Siddeley Canada railcar plant in Thunder Bay, which was renamed Can-Car Rail. With this arrangement, UTDC and HSC were able to win the contracts for the TTC's orders of 52 ALRV's and 126 H6 subway cars.

Orders Come In

1981 was a busy year for UTDC, as three ICTS systems were approved - Vancouver in May, Toronto in June and Detroit in August.

The next orders after those were from the TTC - an order for 126 subway cars in December 1983 followed by an order for 52 articulated streetcars in February 1984. Other than the first 10, the streetcars would be constructed by the Millhaven facility (the first 10 were largely built at Thunder Bay) while the subway cars were built by the Can-Car Rail plant in Thunder Bay.

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) ordered 50 articulated, double-ended LRT's. Delivered in 1987, the cars formed the backbone of their system until 2003, when they were sold to Salt Lake City's UTA and to Sacramento Regional Transit.

UTDC began delivery of 58 subway cars to Boston's MBTA for their Red Line subway. Try as they might though, UTDC was never able to sell their CLRV or ALRV to the MBTA, despite the fact that 3 of the TTC's CLRV's were run for a period in 1980, no sales of the cars were generated.

As well as these, GO Transit ordered 186 BiLevel commuter cars over three batches between 1987 and 1991, and Tri-Rail ordered 18 BiLevels for their "temporary" service. A final order for 104 BiLevels by LA's Metrolink was placed, but would be delivered by Lavalin Industries.

Change of Ownership

In July 1986 the Ontario Government announced that Québec-based Lavalin was purchasing an 85% share in UTDC, for which it paid the Government $50mil. Lavalin however had overextended itself throughout the 1980s, and was itself purchased by SNC in 1991 - the resulting firm became SNC-Lavalin Group. As part of the purchase, the companies reorganized, and UTDC was folded into the Lavalin Industries Division along with what was left of Hawker Siddeley Canada.

Shortly thereafter, the whole of the Lavalin Industries Division was sold to Bombardier.

Products

Mass Transit

Light Rail

  • ICTS
  • TTC CLRV streetcars
  • TTC ALRV streetcars
  • VTA Light Rail Cars (Santa Clara VTA, now in secondhand use in Sacramento and Salt Lake City)

Other

  • Steyr Percheron truck chassis
  • BiLevel III, IV and V coaches (GO Transit)
  • ALRT was to have been developed for the GO Transit's GO ALRT system, but the program was cancelled by the province. The vehicle platform was to have been a lengthened and articulated version of the Intermediate Capacity Transit System, but would have used standard traction motors and overhead current pickup.
  • Multi-Purpose Small Bus - Rek-Vee fibreglass body on Chrysler chassis, designed of dial-a-bus or paratransit service.

References

SNC-Lavalin History
Transit-Toronto
ICTS pamphlet at Mike's Transit Stop
H5 and H6 pamphlet at Mike's Transit Stop
ALRV pamplet at Mike's Transit Stop
UTDC multi-purpose small bus at Alan Gryfe's website