Comment 64064

By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted May 27, 2011 at 08:45:04

Transit item in today's Star:

Reporters were invited for a preview ride between Davisville and Union Station Thursday, months after the new subways were unveiled in October. Commuters won’t get to ride the first new trains until at least June, and possibly later this summer.

That’s when the first of the 70 Rockets, still in testing, will be brought onto the Yonge-University line. Built by Bombardier in Thunder Bay for about $1 billion, they will continue to arrive through 2013.

There are four already in the city and another en route, said TTC spokesman Brad Ross. The existing T1 cars will gradually move to the Bloor-Danforth line and the old H series subways will be retired.

In the meantime, the public is invited to look at a Rocket on the platform at Davisville station on Sunday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

When they finally go into service, you can expect some of the usual lurching and brake noise. But like your TV and computer, subways have come a long way since the T1 cars were built about 15 years ago.

Those improvements should translate into a better ride.

“The systems are much quieter and the electronics are much smoother,” said Mini Gupta, a senior electrical engineer with the TTC.

If you’re particularly tall or petite, you’re also going to notice the absence of those poles in the middle of the train.

Gupta, who claims she’s 5 feet tall, stretched to reach the overhead grab bars. Toronto Star columnist Royson James, who has about a foot on her and an even taller son, fears that the HVAC box that juts down from the ceiling at the front of the cars could be hazardous.

The Rocket’s space and updated features will improve rider comfort on the overcrowded Yonge line, said Ross.

But a key advantage won’t come until 2015, when the TTC’s new computerized signalling system will be complete. That will allow trains to run about 90 seconds apart, compared to a little over two minutes now — giving the Yonge line up to 30 per cent more capacity overall.

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