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Toronto Rail Cars Need Urgent Corrosion Fix

Monday, April 24, 2017

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The cars on one Toronto light metro line will be getting some TLC to address considerable corrosion in the 30-year-old fleet.

Line 3 Scarborough, which opened in 1985, is scheduled to be shut down in the mid-2020s, when the city’s Line 2 subway is extended to Scarborough, an administrative district of Toronto located on the city’s eastern end. In the meantime, though, the Toronto Star reports that more than CA$6 million in repairs will need to be done in the near term in order to keep the rusting railcars safe to ride.

In a request presented Thursday (April 20) to the board of the transit agency by CEO Andy Byford, on behalf of the agency’s COO and heads of materials and rail cars, officials describe corrosion holes in Line 3’s rolling stock in 2015. The report says that an analysis showed the holes, “if not addressed, could lead to fatigue cracks that would compromise the structural integrity of the vehicle’s frame.”

‘As Soon as Possible’

Corrosion was found in “the critical high-stress joints of the door post and the car-body frames,” the report notes.

“The finite element analysis showed that the existing stress levels around the corrosion holes exceed the original intended stress levels,” the report reads. “Failure to repair this condition as soon as possible may lead to fatigue cracks, and the need to replace entire frames as opposed to perform a less expensive repair. In order to mitigate and eliminate this risk, the frames must be restored as soon as possible.”

Big Fix

The board reportedly voted to approve the recommended CA$6.04 million ($4.47 million) contract with Bombardier, which bought the company that originally made the railcars, for base repair work (CA$5 million) and potential condition-based repairs (up to CA$1.04 million). That’s on top of more than CA$700,000 in preliminary repairs already conducted by Bombardier.

TTC and Toronto's other transit authority, Metrolinx, have both been at odds with Bombardier in recent years over delays in the company's promised delivery of new railcars, but the contract was reportedly approved by the board without debate, according to Toronto Star reporter Ben Spurr. The report suggested that Bombardier, with proprietary knowledge of the original car design, was the only company capable of successfully completing the repairs.

Repairs to be made to the 26-car fleet, according to the report, include “shipping, teardown, inspection, surface rust removal, painting, structural subfloor replacement, and modern composite floor material installation.”

  • Line 3 has already been undergoing an overhaul to get it through its final 10 years of service. After the line was doomed by the 2013 approval of the subway extension, the transit board approved a plan in 2015 to revamp the decades-old Line 3 to keep it viable in the interim.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Corrosion; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; Maintenance coating work; Mass transit; North America; Program/Project Management; Public Transit; Railcars

Comment from Warren Brand, (4/24/2017, 8:30 AM)

Hard to tell from photo, but looks like galvanic corrosion....

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