Wednesday, October 26, 2016Clear 5°C

TTC debuts revised version of its Rocket subway train

Posted by Chris Bateman / January 31, 2013

toronto rocket strapsThere's an updated version of the TTC's Toronto Rocket subway train circulating beneath the streets of the city this morning. In response to complaints about the lack of handles near the AC unit on the initial Rockets, Bombardier has added a new set of handles and several yellow plastic straps on one test train that the TTC will use to gauge customer response.

The door chimes have also been lowered in pitch and a speaker placed on the outside of the vehicle on the advice of the TTC's Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit, a group that directs the transit provider on issues relating to people with disabilities. The famous three-tone chime now plays at the same time as the automated "please stand clear of the doors" message. It's subtle, but it's there.

The TTC's Brad Ross says staff will travel with the tweaked train and gather feedback from riders but that there is currently no timetable for the rest of the fleet to receive the modifications. Frustrating issues with the Rocket's doors have been traced to a software problem and will be fixed separately. The precise cost of the retrofit, and whether the TTC or Bombardier foots the bill, has yet to be determined.

Do these changes make the Rocket a better ride? Have you caught this train? What did you think?

Courtesy of Reddit user laurenceYYZ, here's a video of the new door chime in operation:

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photo: Brad Ross/TTC



Bronwyn / January 31, 2013 at 11:02 am
It sounds the same?
J / January 31, 2013 at 11:09 am
Are you kidding me?? They've added FOUR handles? What's so difficult about adding, say, 10 more? Had a look at Tokyo's trains recently?
Jer / January 31, 2013 at 11:09 am
Good on the TTC. Taking in feedback and improving on things.
the lemur replying to a comment from Bronwyn / January 31, 2013 at 11:10 am
Same intervals between the notes, just pitched down.
Benedict / January 31, 2013 at 11:11 am
Good improvements.
T replying to a comment from J / January 31, 2013 at 11:12 am
Only 4 handles, but a whole grid's worth of bars, which to me are more useful anyway.
qwerty / January 31, 2013 at 11:14 am
They put the new handles in the wrong place. It should be closer towards the driver cabin and doors. Where they put it now, there are already poles on the left and right. There are no handles by the driver cabin.
L / January 31, 2013 at 11:18 am
While we're at it, change the font used for the LED signs to something serif so it's easier to read.
Steph / January 31, 2013 at 11:20 am
The new trains also need WD-40 on every pull down handle thing. They squeak like crazy.
JT / January 31, 2013 at 11:29 am
Good that they are taking feedback but bad that they are "testing it". Really? Just implement this on all trains. What's the downside? My experience has been that many people don't stand under the AC unit because there is nothing to hold onto so any boasting that these new trains carry more people is completely negated.
cathy / January 31, 2013 at 11:30 am
Is the yellow strap in the back left right in front of the door? The picture makes it hard to tell.
Picard102 replying to a comment from qwerty / January 31, 2013 at 11:31 am
They should be discouraging people from standing near the doors as much as possible.
Alex (Toronto) / January 31, 2013 at 11:38 am
For who may not know this, the revised Toronto Rocket train, which has the new door chimes, is currently being tested on trainset, 5461-5466.
Nomnom / January 31, 2013 at 11:39 am
Did I really just waste a minute of my life to listen to this?
cultureshot / January 31, 2013 at 11:43 am
Can they turn the lights down a bit too? They're CRAZY bright.
Mike I / January 31, 2013 at 11:44 am
How is this news? This train has been going around for a few months now.
qwerty replying to a comment from Picard102 / January 31, 2013 at 11:45 am
Then why did they put in those leaner seats? How bout during rush hour when you have to stand there? There's nothing to hold on to.
the lemur replying to a comment from L / January 31, 2013 at 11:53 am
Yes, and uppercase.
double j / January 31, 2013 at 12:21 pm
Sometimes on the subway, it's not exactly the way I want it. They should really do something about that.
Jacob replying to a comment from Nomnom / January 31, 2013 at 12:21 pm
The guy who made the video has never heard of cutting footage, it seems.
Richard replying to a comment from JT / January 31, 2013 at 12:37 pm
The downside is that people who are 6' or taller will hit their heads on these things. It'll be interesting to see how close I get, given that there was only a few inches above me under those A/C units.
Nick / January 31, 2013 at 12:59 pm
It would be nice if they could put a small circular non-mirrored cutout area (at kid height) in the mirrored window of the driver compartment so kids could look through to the tunnel, as in current trains. If the driver were bothered by this, perhaps some hoarding on the inside could prevent kids from seeing him/her pick his nose etc.
W. K. Lis / January 31, 2013 at 01:12 pm
During the lifespan of any rail car, changes are made.

The first Peter Witt streetcars have stoves to heat the interior. They were replaced with baseboard electric heaters.

I can see further changes to the Rocket subway train in the future. I don't like the LED lights on the station map over the doors, I hope that over the years it will be updated to a full TV-like screen.
Jack / January 31, 2013 at 01:26 pm
This diatribe is going to sound dirty and can be read in your head with a bunch of "that's what she said" quotes. I hate those curved poles. They are practically useless if someone is leaning agains the glass by the doors. You can basically only hang onto the pole in one or two spots. In the older cars the straight poles allow people to hang on the full length of the pole. With the curved poles if someone (especially a taller person) has their back against the glass partition, their shoulder blocks about 75% of the pole.
Tommy replying to a comment from Jack / January 31, 2013 at 01:47 pm
That's the point. Far too many people stand in the door-wells and for whatever reason don't realize they are blocking the way. The door pole/glass redesign was meant to subconsciously move these people away from the door by not giving them a place to lean. I applaud the TTC and Bombardier for doing this - there's nothing worse than having to push by a door stander reading a newspaper.
Bobbo / January 31, 2013 at 03:22 pm
The door "blocking" is only an issue on one side of the train at any time. Also, if you're standing against the doors and trying to hold onto the curved pole, the glass is way too close and cuts into the back of your hand. The partitions beside the doors are also bad for cold drafts on your legs since they don't reach the floor. The old ones were designed to keep drafts from blowing across people. It's all these little things that make these cars frustrating instead of great.
K / January 31, 2013 at 03:53 pm
They might want to dim the lights a bit. With a white interior - white light just makes it more intense.
Skye replying to a comment from double j / January 31, 2013 at 04:09 pm
Gosh, I have the EXACT SAME PROBLEM. I don't know, it's like they think I'm sharing it with 500,000 other people or something...
Marc / January 31, 2013 at 04:40 pm
Also, that TTC employee at 0:36 is pretty cute. Call me!
ck / January 31, 2013 at 05:47 pm
I'm 6'5" and I've hit my head on the HVAC. I can imagine anyone over 6' is going to have trouble with those extra poles that they've added underneath. It makes sense to have more straps (which are easy to avoid if you're tall, because they hang down, and don't hurt as much if you hit them) but the new steel poles are going to be deadly for tall people. I'm not looking forward to riding this train.
stopitman replying to a comment from Bobbo / January 31, 2013 at 05:50 pm
I disagree Bobbo, people stand infront of the doors that open even when the train isn't at "crush" capacity (to use train vernacular). A lot of the changes they made around the doors was for the sole purpose of keeping people away from them or making it uncomfortable to stand there. At busy stations like Yonge-Bloor where dwell times are a big problem, it can help speed up the train service.

I think changing the chime to be with the doors makes a lot of sense - it just seemed like it took too long before. The strap thing dnever really bothered me much, but more hand holds away from the doors is good. It's also nice to hear that it's a software problem and not a hardware problem with the doors because it should help keep repairs costs down (we can only hope) ;).
B. Ross Ashley / January 31, 2013 at 06:37 pm
I'm okay with all of this, but then again I'm only 5'10". on the other hand they really need to make the accessibility thing work ... getting my wife in her power wheelchair on and off the train right now means disengaging the chair motors and pulling her on and off backwards, because the gap between teh car and the platform is wider than on the old trains and the floor-level difference is as much as 8 cm, expecially at Eglinton, our home station.
evan / January 31, 2013 at 08:11 pm
very happy to see the TTC addressing issues. admitting fault is the first step to progress.
hyacinth replying to a comment from Picard102 / January 31, 2013 at 08:45 pm
Really? It helps to be near the door when you are approaching the stop you want to get off at!
Get It Right / January 31, 2013 at 10:24 pm
Weak, if you have used those handles on a bus you know they aren't sturdy. Use some common sense, where are the poles? I hear there are no poles because of strollers. Please ban strollers, those soccer moms bring in SUV size strollers on rush hour is outrageous. Why can't they use a normal size stroller? The doors not syncing is just sad when the old trains have no issues. This is what happens when you don't have different companies tender bids and sole source to Bombardier.
Drain Man / February 1, 2013 at 10:46 am
Those HVAC boxes are the most backward dumb-ass design move on these trains that are otherwise pretty good.
MBurdock / February 1, 2013 at 01:13 pm
Those handles and the grid are awful. I already hit my head on the HVAC units and have to dodge the projecting handles throughout the rest of the train. All the more reason to drive.
WHAT A MESS! / February 1, 2013 at 01:40 pm
I hate these trains! Can hardly wait to see how bad the LRV streetcars are going to be!
JOhn / February 1, 2013 at 03:48 pm
I've noticed they've also fixed the announcement so it says "Stand clear of the doors" instead of "Stand clear of doors" as it originally did.

They still need to reverse the LED colours on the map, however - it makes zero sense for "green" to represent places you have already passed and therefore are no longer accessible.
Insert name here / February 1, 2013 at 05:30 pm
To anyone complaining about the a/c boxes: The are located in roughly the same place they were with the older trains (at the ends of each car, such as above the driver's cab -- check next time you ride the subway).

As for the height issue, the camera poles (the ones in between the a/c units) were what I always feared hitting as I walked down those cars. This adds to the misery of being tall (6'5"). Still not nearly as uncomfortable as the rear seats in an 72xx, let alone 74xx-78xx.
StevieC / February 3, 2013 at 09:28 pm
All these changes and it still doesn't make a good cup of coffee.
real deeal / August 7, 2013 at 10:36 pm
I honeslty think it was the ttc most stupid descion to get rid of the h series, they where good trains and they where strong also, the door chimes on them where much louder and the fact that they where more comfortable says it all, these new "ttc rockets" only look pretty , there not good at all , they should put them on the sheppard line , and the buses are small and uncomfortable , the older buses like the gm newlook where bigger and more spacious , and new flyers and such , this just shows the ttc that change is not always better , people stress about these things but never have the balls to speak , bring back to old vechicles and make our transit normal again !!!!!
real deeal / August 7, 2013 at 10:57 pm
Ttc needs to understand that in the past the transit was good , if anything they should of keep rebuilding the buses and saving billion if dollars , and install hybrid systems for those older buses , and install handicap ramps , instead of buying , these garbage buses we have recently , the ttc made a huge mistake and they need too repair this mistake , just a waste of money and taxes , if anything they should of focused on building more subway stations that all. Im saying this because ive been using the ttc all my life , so I'm not saying this because I'm trying to be something , I'm saying this because its the damn truth , bring back the old ttc !!!!
NAME replying to a comment from L / September 28, 2013 at 09:54 pm
The font is already serif — not good for signage.
Curt / October 30, 2013 at 02:21 pm
Rode on 5466 on a sunday. First to get the photo of it. Had the same basic chime like the T1 though.
Other Cities: Montreal