Eglinton Crosstown: Bombardier Light Rail Transit Vehicles

The future is on track – Toronto’s light rail vehicles get put through their paces before public steps onboard in 2021

Metrolinx experts are eagerly putting Toronto’s future generation of light rail transit vehicles (LRV) through their paces behind the huge doors – and on nearby rail lines – at the Eglinton Crosstown Maintenance Facility, at Toronto’s Mount Dennis station. Just over a month ago, the public had a chance to see the LRVs up close during an open house. The story of getting the vehicles to Toronto, as well as the excitement of the part they will play in Toronto’s future, is fairly remarkable. “Our customers are going to have a phenomenal experience,” Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster said. Each new phase of the Crosstown construction, as well as testing on the LRVs, is an important milestone for the project that is expected to start carrying customers in 2021. The smooth and quick Bombardier vehicles will provide much needed transit to neighbourhoods along the19-kilometre route of Toronto’s Eglinton Crosstown LRT line. Metrolinx and its constructor, Crosslinx Transit Solution (CTS), have been conducting low-speed vehicle testing at the Eglinton Maintenance and Storage Facility (EMSF). The LRVs boast a neutral exterior with no brand colour – just simple black and white. That choice was very specific. Once in service, the light rail transit line will be considered part of the subway system, and known as ‘Eglinton Line 5’. Since the underground TTC vehicles have a metal finish, the idea was the LRV colour scheme would resemble them. They now move around easily. But getting them to Toronto by road, and then offloading them, wasn’t easy. The first of many LRVs making its way down the 401 toward the Eglinton Crosstown Maintenance Facility. The vehicles were moved using a special tractor flatbed designed for the extra-long and heavy load. Once on site, an offloading ramp was used to get the first LRV down from the trailer. An electric rail car mover then pulled the vehicle down the ramp onto the tracks of the EMSF. Those on site got a chance to witness history as the first LRV enters the EMSF for the very first time. The new transit machines can achieve speeds of 80km/hr. The actual working speed will be determined by the spacing between stops and the dwells at those stops. The vehicles will carry 163 passengers – that’s three times as many riders as a typical bus – and will use DC power. They will also have traction inverters onboard to use three-phase AC motors. That means quick and smooth power and braking. Among the list of things to be tested, have been the interface of the LRV with the tracks, the yard switches, clearances with the yard poles and the Overhead Catenary System (OCS). The Crosstown LRVs produce zero emissions and will travel on a dedicated right-of-way, so they won’t impede traffic. They’re also used to extreme cold and snow, and are used in cities like Edmonton, Minneapolis and Stockholm. The rest of the LRV deliveries are underway and will continue until all 76 LRVs have arrived in 2021. Until then, they’ll continue to be put through their paces, as their line gets closer to the day they’ll go from testing to Toronto’s newest transit option.