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First of the new streetcars rolls into town

The new streetcars have arrived.

Well, one of them, anyway.

Train 4400 came in on the rails last week, its slim, low-slung profile turning heads and fetching out the camera phones getting people talking about the next big transit thing.

We won't be able to board them for a while yet, probably not until 2014, in fact, says Jean-Pierre Boutrous, the former Formula 1 entrepreneur and current advisor to TTC chair Karen Stintz.

"It's the first delivery from Bombardier," he says of the Thunder Bay-built vehicle. "They're going to be putting it through its test internally, electronics, make it's ready for prime time. You don't necessarily transport these things with the electronics inside them."

Two hundred and four of the cars have been ordered, at a cost of a little under $6 million each, making for an investment of more than $1.1 billion over the course of the contract, which was signed in July 2009.

There will be a media event officially introducing the car to the public within the next couple of weeks, though Boutros doesn’t expect any car will be put on the tracks before early next year. What he refers to as "revenue service" for paying customers will not start until the year after.

In the meantime, drivers will be trained by Bombardier staff, tests will be run and changes will be ordered for future, as yet unbuilt cars.

"When the rockets came out," Boutros said of the new subway trains still being deployed across the system, "we ran them empty, at night, loaded with concrete bricks to simulate the weight of passengers," saying that the new streetcars will require similar batteries of tests before coming into service.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Jean-Pierre Boutros

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

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