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article imageToronto Transit Commission, officials launch Rocket Subway Train Special

By Andrew Moran     Jul 21, 2011 in Politics
Toronto - The Toronto Transit Commission has finally launched the new Toronto Rocket subway trains along the busy Yonge-University-Spadina Subway line. The launch and cutting ribbon ceremony took place at Downsview Subway Station.
It has been a long, patient wait, but finally they are in full operation.
After five years that Thunder Bay's Bombardier Inc. was awarded the contract, spending more than $230 million for 78 subway cars and two open houses (one media event and one for the general public), the new Toronto Transit Commission Rocket Subways officially launched Thursday at Downsview Subway Station.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (L) and TTC Chair Karen Stintz walking at the Downsview Subway Station platfo...
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (L) and TTC Chair Karen Stintz walking at the Downsview Subway Station platform.
Hundreds came out to Downsview Station to see Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, TTC Chair Karen Stintz, Canadian Member of Parliament Joe Oliver, Ontario Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne and other city and TTC officials to cut the ceremonial ribbon and begin operations.
The mayor and TTC Chair toured the entire subway car. Ford, who noted that everyone knows he loves subways, said this launch is just another step in moving towards a better, more rapid transit system in the City of Toronto.
“The launch of the next generation subway cars is an important step in our strategy to build a transportation ciy that will make subways the backbone of rapid transit in Toronto,” said the mayor. “The new cars will also make public transit a more efficient and pleasant experience for commuters.”
Canadian officials unveil model of the new Toronto Rocket Subway.
Canadian officials unveil model of the new Toronto Rocket Subway.
Stintz, who was happy to announce that the air conditioning system in the subway cars was working perfectly on a 40-degree day, said the transit riders will have a much improved train experience on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line.
“Transit riders will experience an improved transit experience on the Yonge-University-Spadina line in these new, accessible, spacious trains, with many new exciting features, including increased passenger capacity and reliability,” said Councillor Stintz.
The Canadian Natural Resources Minister, whose government contributed a little less than $92 million over a five-year period to the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund, said that the federal government is improving the public transportation system in the Greater Toronto Area.
TTC Chair Karen Stintz (L) walking ahead of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on the new TTC Rocket subway.
TTC Chair Karen Stintz (L) walking ahead of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on the new TTC Rocket subway.
The Ontario government added $83 million and the City of Toronto invested $57 million in the new subway cars.
“The Toronto Rocket will provide families and businesses with greater transit options, reduce traffic congestion and support better air quality across the region,” said the Eglinton-Lawrence MP.
Following the media event, Member of Provincial Parliament Kathleen Wynne said during a media scrum that the province must work with all levels of government, despite the disagreements that have occurred from time to time because “there are different philosophies about what makes society work, what makes a community work.”
Canadian Member of Parliament and Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver speaking at Toronto Rocke...
Canadian Member of Parliament and Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver speaking at Toronto Rocket Subway launch ceremony.
There are a significant number of features added to the new trains, including 24 security cameras, 18 video screens for emergency information, wider passenger entrance doorways, areas designed for wheelchairs and scooters, antimicrobial surfaces and a full walkway of the entire train. Click here for the complete overview of the new subways.
70 Toronto Rocket six-car trainsets will be entirely rolled out by the end of 2013.
Bombardier also won a contract in 2009 to supply the TTC with 204 brand new streetcars for a total cost of more than $1.2 billion.
Despite the postponement of the new trains, one passenger said the Rockets have certainly been worth the wait.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaking during media scrum at Downsview Subway Station.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaking during media scrum at Downsview Subway Station.
“I’m so glad we have these new subways because the old ones have been causing us [riders] and the TTC nothing but grief,” said Joanna Keith, a transit rider who has been riding the TTC for more than 20 years. “I think the best part of these new trains is not the widened areas, the cleanliness or the germ killing treatment, it’s the air conditioning right now.”
She added that she hopes further additions and changes will be implemented to the TTC during the rest of the mayor’s tenure, including cleaner stations and terminals, better bus scheduling and more public consultations similar to the ones that took place last year.
Mayor Ford spoke to the media following the event. Watch the video for full details.
More about Toronto transit commission, toronto rocket subway, Karen stintz, Rob Ford, joe oliver
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