Achy Breaky SkyTrain Cars!

Seems some serious corrosion problems are plaguing the TTC’s ICTS cars, which are the same as our SkyTrain Mk.1’s and I hope TransLink will take some time and investigate!

The Mk.1’s do have a history of corrosion, so I would think it would be expedient to check and see.


Ai??Scarborough RT vehicles need repairs to avoid ai???catastrophicai??i?? corrosion failures

TTC asking board’s permission to award $6.8-million sole-source repair contract to Bombardier.


An inspection of the TTC's aging Scarborough RT vehicles uncovered a corrosion problem. The TTC plans to award Bombardier a sole-sourced $6.8-million contract to repair the decaying fleet.
An inspection of the TTC’s aging Scarborough RT vehicles uncovered a corrosion problem. The TTC plans to award Bombardier a sole-sourced $6.8-million contract to repair the decaying fleet.Ai??Ai??(Marcus Oleniuk / Toronto Star file photo)Ai??Ai??
By Ben SpurrTransportation Reporter
Tues., April 18, 2017

The TTCai??i??s aging fleet of Scarborough RT vehicles has a corrosion problem that could cause ai???catastrophicai??? structural failures if not addressed soon, and the transit agency plans to award embattled rail manufacturer Bombardier a sole-sourced $6.8-million contract to conduct the urgent repairs.

The TTC uncovered the corrosion issue during an inspection of its fleet that it undertook after council voted to extend the life of Line 3 (Scarborough RT) until the Scarborough subway extension opens a decade from now.

ai???When we peeled the floors back, we found that some of the vehicles had holes the size of toonies, and a lot of wear,ai??? said Raffaele Trentadue, the TTCai??i??s head of rail cars and shop.

Trentadue said the problem was caused by decades of snow and salt accumulating near the doorsof the 32-year-old vehicles.


This photo shows corrosion in one of the Scarborough Rapid Transit cars. The TTC has discovered corrosion problems in the cars that need to be repaired, otherwise they could lead to catastrophic structural failures.
This photo shows corrosion in one of the Scarborough Rapid Transit cars. The TTC has discovered corrosion problems in the cars that need to be repaired, otherwise they could lead to catastrophic structural failures.


The corrosion has affected load-bearing joints of the door post and car-body frames. According to a report going to the TTC board on Thursday requesting funding for the repairs, if the decaying parts arenai??i??t fixed ai???as soon as possibleai??? the corrosion might compromise the vehiclesai??i?? structural integrity. That could ai???potentially lead to catastrophic vehicle failure and put the service plan of operating the system until 2026 at

TTC chief operating officer Mike Palmer said thereai??i??s ai???no questionai??? that the vehicles are safe but the TTC needs to take proactive measures to ensure they remain that way.

ai???From our point of view this is a good news story. This is us not ignoring a problem, and (instead) dealing with it in quality way and in a swift way which also will benefit customers for the next 10 years,ai??? he said.

The TTC first discovered the corrosion in 2015, but Palmer said it took until now to devise a fix for the problem.


2 Responses to “Achy Breaky SkyTrain Cars!”
  1. TH says:

    You know all the original Mk1 cars are going through refurbishment right now, right? In fact, the refurb program is almost finished with only a handful of cars waiting to go into the shop for the overhaul.

    You love to rail (pun intended) about other “puff pieces” but isn’t that just what this is? Attention grabbing headline, OMG the sky is falling … somewhere else … and we may or may not have the same problem … without actually knowing if there is even a problem with our system. But why let that get in the way of a chance to bash Translink?

    Zwei replies: If one doesn’t look, one doesn’t see. The refurbishments are mainly electrical in nature and cosmetic. BC Transit and TransLink have always been tight lipped on the corrosion ills of the MK.1’s and I do not think the post was overly critical, but I think you are. I think I struck a nerve somewhere.

  2. Haveacow says:

    O.K. everyone lets get a grip! Both the Scarborough RT Cars and the Mk.1 Skytrain Cars have been operating and or tooling around the yard since before both systems were open, so at the least, 32 and 31 years respectively. Considering the cars have been operated nearly everyday since, minus the maintenance time, we can all admit they are aging fast. If they didn’t have some major advanced structural deficits or wear like this, after operating in a country who’s climate can quickly take the best trains made anywhere in the world and turn them to complete garbage in months, I would be really, really surprised! Take any LRV, Subway/Metro, Light metro (in this particular case) OR ANY MAJOR RAIL OPERATING VEHICLE after 30+ years on the job in our climate and operating conditions and I guarantee, you will see this type body and machinery wear somewhere on the vehicle. To all you BRT fans, you would more than likely be ending your 4th and or starting your 5th maybe even 6th generation of articulated bus by now, considering some of the designs North American transit operators would have had to choose from.

    That being said, what is really needed especially for Translink are replacements. So lets talk new replacements! The 4 section Mk.3 Skytrain train-sets cost $4.08 million each. 7, 4 section train-sets were purchased from Bombardier for the latest line extension of the Millennium Line for $28.56 Million. Now everyone of these train-sets required follow on work by both Bombardier and Translink staff to add more equipment once they arrived on the property. This 3rd party technology required by the operator (Translink) that is added after the car builder has delivered the train sets. This is quite common today, don’t panic! ITS VERY NORMAL! For very complicated legal reasons that I have never been fully able to understand, the 3rd party technology can’t be added in the factory, it has to be added in the operators maintenance facility. Problems with the 3rd party technology on Bombardier LRV’s bound for both Toronto and Waterloo LRT lines, is one of the many reasons they are late for testing. Toronto’s Flexity Outlook replacement LRV’s for its legacy streetcar network, is a whole other story. However, 3rd party tech can add anywhere from $150,000 to $3,500,000 the final cost for the order. In Vancouver’s case my spies told me it was an extra $450,000 on the order, or about $29.01 Million.

    Or will we see the famous in song and story, 5 section roughly 80 metre long train-sets, that have been talked about by Translink officials for so long, let’s call them the Mk 4’s. You guys will have to tell me if the current maintenance and storage facilities can even handle them, I really don’t know. This is often a problem with new vehicle purchases, where the storage and maintenance tracks are designed for train-sets or consists of specific length and power plant arrangement. We will assume the Mk.4’s costs 25% more because they added a 5th section. Or Bombardier and Translink could actually get creative/clever and build single 5th sections for insertion into their Mk 2&3 fleets as well as adding new 5 car train-sets so that, thew whole fleet is upgraded to a new Mk 4 standard.

    Now there are 150 individual Mk.1 cars on the roster that will have to be replaced. Which are going to be assigned for the rest of their active lives according to Translink into semi-permanent 6 car consists, 25 of them. Peak Hour service other high demand times and stand in ready replacements. So that means either 38 more 4 section Mk 3 ‘s will be needed or 30 Mk 4’s train-sets just to maintain fleet capacity. This is on top of any new fleet train-sets for the Broadway extension and any other actual increase in train-set operating tempo. That means $155 million for 38 Mk 3 Train-sets or $153 million for 30 Mk. 4 Train-sets. Just to replace these Mk.1 cars. Adding 3rd party tech costs roughly $64,000 per Mk.3 Train-set and $80,000 per Mk.4. Train-set, (based on past costs). That is 157.4 Million total for 38 Mk.3’s and $155.4 Million total for 30 Mk.4’s. Does Translink even have this money to replace its Mk.1’s ?

    Zwei replies: Short answer….NO!

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