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Toronto to purchase dozens of new streetcars from Thunder Bay Alstom plant

A streetcar running on Dundas Street West in Toronto. Photo: Luís Aparício

Toronto will receive $360 million in funding from the federal and provincial governments to move forward with the purchase of dozens of new streetcars. The city had already approved the purchase of 13 new streetcars from the Alstom plant in Thunder Bay in October, but now it will be able to move ahead with the option to purchase another 47, with delivery of the vehicles starting in 2023.

The total cost will be $568 million, with the City of Toronto taking on just over a third of the cost of the project ($208 million) and the provincial and federal governments contributing $180 million, each.

The federal money is part of a $12 billion investment in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) transit that was announced on Tuesday. Most of that money, about $10.7 billion, was earmarked for the construction of four new rapid transit projects, including the Ontario Line.

During a press conference, Mayor John Tory defended the importance of the investment that strengthens the streetcar network of Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), stressing that “this three-way partnership will ensure that 60 new streetcars will be on our streets starting in 2023”.

Toronto previously purchased 204 streetcars from the Thunder Bay plant when it was operated by Bombardier; however, that order was plagued by a series of delays that forced the transit commission to rebuild some of its worn out and end-of-life vehicles to keep up with the demand for the service.

The plant, however, is now being operated by Alstom, after the French company bought the entire Bombardier rail division last year. This Wednesday, Tory expressed all his confidence regarding the company’s ability to comply with the terms of the new contract.

The new streetcars are part of a wider vehicle procurement strategy that the TTC board approved in October, which also involves the purchase of 1,422 new electric buses, 522 new Wheel-Trans buses and 80 new subway trains. ■

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