Aug 7, 2006

Cool customers - not the first of its kind

There has been much in the news recently about CLRV No. 4041, the TTC's new air-conditioned streetcar.

This isn't the first time the Commission has introduced this specially equipped type of streetcar to its customers. According to John Bromley, author of Fifty Years of Progressive Transit, History of the Toronto Transit Commission (Electric Railroaders' Assoc.), the TTC added air conditioning to two of the new streetcars (CLRV No. 4089 and ALRV No. 4238) in 1995. However, in both instances, the trial was less than successful and soon terminated.

Almost a century before passengers using the streetcars of the still privately-owned Toronto Railway Company on hot summer days were treated to rides through the hot city streets on board what were called "convertible" streetcars similar to car No. 505 seen in the accompanying photograph. The sides on these cars could be removed in the nice weather and replaced when things turned colder. As cooling as a ride on these vehicles must have been, they could also be a dangerous way to travel. Over the years, more than a few passengers found themselves lying on the roadway outside the car following even a minor collision. Finally, in the fall of 1915, the Ontario Railway Board (since morphed into the oft-despised Ontario Municipal Board) ordered that the sides no longer be removed. Continued...

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