Articulated Light Rail Vehicle
TC 4200 is the articulated variant of the CLRV, the ALRV (Articulated Light Rail Vehicle) built by CanCar Rail (UTDC). 4200 is the first of 52 cars built in 1987-88.
When the TTC made the decision to continue operating its streetcars into the next century, they searched for a streetcar to replace the venerable PCCs. They settled upon the CLRV. The Ontario Government owned Urban Transit Development Corporation designed and built these new models with help from a Swiss manufacturer, and soon the new models were trundling Toronto's streets. It was UTDC who decided to experiment with the design, a little, to see if the CLRV model could be modified to produce a longer, articulated version. Articulated vehicles were common in Europe, and it was felt that by utilizing this concept would make the model attractive to transit companies thinking of getting into the LRT business (as was starting at that time).
With this in mind, the original order for 200 CLRVs was cut to 196, so that UTDC would have components enough to produce 2 prototypes for the ALRV. Actually, only one prototype was constructed, and who knows what happened to the other two streetcars. The prototype was painted in a modified version of TTC colours and numbered 4900, and it was tested in revenue service along the Queen route, starting on August 10, 1982. Taking a break for the CNE, revenue testing continued until February 25, 1983, whereupon it was stored at Wychwood carhouse on February 26, venturing out for occasional short demonstration trips. It was loaded onto a flatbed on March 7, 1987, and returned to the UTDC's Kingston facility where it has remained ever since.
Car 4900, as originally built, featured a pantograph instead of a trolley pole, hand controls instead of foot controls, was gauged at standard rather than TTC gauge (4 feet, 10 and 7/8 inches), and tested an electronic rollsign. For testing on the TTC, the vehicle had to be regauged and the pantograph was replaced by a trolley pole. The hand controls remained, and the TTC decided to test the effectiveness of the electronic rollsign (although electronic rollsigns are the norm now for TTC buses, the TTC has never replaced the streetcar 'linens', likely because the sign cavity is too small for an effective electronic sign). Revenue service proved effective, and the TTC agreed to purchase 52 modified ALRVs at $1.369 million per vehicle, with an option for 11 more, should they be needed on the proposed Harbourfront and Spadina LRT lines.
Other than their extra long bodies and the bend in the middle, ALRVs have another feature which distinguishes it from its CLRV cousins, that of a large box that sits on the roof near the front of the vehicle. I believe this box houses some extra strong air-conditioning equipment, needed due to the extra space, and also in response to complaints regarding the inefficient air conditioners on CLRV cars. The ALRVs also never had any couplers, and the 'safety shield' came already installed, rather than being added later as in the case of the CLRVs.
Car 4200, the first of the current class of ALRVs, operated under its own power at the UTDC facilities on April 27, 1987 and was shipped to the TTC on June 11, 1987. After a static display at Toronto's City Hall, plus further tests and modifications, revenue service began with car 4204 on the Long Branch route on January 19, 1988. I made a special trip after school to see the ALRVs in service back then. Too bad I didn't bring a camera... With further deliveries, revenue service began on the Bathurst streetcar on July 17, 1988 and the Queen streetcar on January 23, 1989. Although ALRVs can travel throughout the system, they have not been placed in regular service on any other route. This makes photographs of ALRVs on these routes a rare prize indeed. Why do you think we went on an ALRV charter?
Update: August 6, 1999: A number of ALRVs have been placed on the Bloor-Queen's Quay portion of the 510 Spadina streetcar route. The crowds on Spadina may warrant the use of these vehicles but until enough ALRVs were freed up by construction on Queen Street, such an allocation was unfeasible. While construction continues, you may see more ALRVs on Spadina and, who knows? If the tests prove successful, perhaps the TTC will make room to put ALRVs on Spadina permanently...
Fleet numbers: 4200-4251
Normal: 155 passengers - 47,655 kg
Crush Load: 205 passengers - 51,165 kg
Empty streetcar weight: 36,745 kg (81,000 lbs)
Minimum horizontal curve radius: 10,973 mm (36' 0")
Minimum verticle curve radius - convex: 122 m
Minimum verticle curve radius - concave: 244 m
Motor rating: 4 x 87 HP (65KW) continuous, 4 x 123 HP (92KW) one hour.
Initial acceleration rate: 1.2 m/s/s (2.65 MPHPS)
Service Braking rate: 1.6 m/s/s (3.6 MPHPS)
Emergency Braking Rate: 3.13 m/s/s (7.0 MPHPS)
Toronto Transit Commission, ALRV: Articulated Canadian Light Rail Vehicle, The Toronto Transit
Commission, Toronto (Ontario), October 1996.