Citywide transit expansion won’t be a reality for nearly another decade, but for a couple of weeks, at least, Torontonians will get the opportunity to sample the shiny new vehicles that will transport them around in the future.
For the duration of the Canadian National Exhibition, Metrolinx has installed a mockup of a light rail vehicle (LRV), 182 of which will eventually service the four Transit City LRT lines to be completed by 2021.
The train, known as the Flexity Freedom, was manufactured by Bombardier and designed to operate above, below and at grade. Metrolinx bought the vehicles for $770-million back in May 2010.
The vehicles, which are being manufactured in Thunder Bay, are similar to LRVs in operation in Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco, according to a recent report published by Metrolinx, a regional planning transit agency. The vehicles have a low floor design, the report states, which provides better access for disabled passengers and provides flexibility for future surface expansion.
According to a brochure published by Bombardier, the Flexity Freedom will also be able to withstand harsh winter conditions, can travel bi-directionally without having to loop and can be combined to form one train with up to four cars, with a top capacity of more than 30,000 passengers per hour in both directions.
The brochure also states the Freedom can reach a top speed of 80 kilometres per hour.
The soonest the LRVs will begin operation is 2020, when three of the Transit City lines – the Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown, the Scarborough and Finch West LRT – are scheduled to be completed.
The Sheppard East LRT line is expected to launch one year after.