TTC subway cars history

What TTC subway cars looked like back in the day

Toronto might have some of the fanciest subway cars in North America with the Bombardier-made Rocket models that carry passengers on Line 1, but go back 30 years and you could sill ride an old Gloucester car.

Over and above their iconic red colouring, these trains were noteworthy for the fact that they were the first to ride the rails in Toronto, and their incandescent lights would periodically turn off because of the way that they were wired.

Although the TTC was originally interested in purchasing Chicago PCC to service the Yonge line when it opened in 1954, a change of heart led to the purchasing of 104 of the Gloucester cars for $7,800,000.

To put that into perspective, the contract with Bombardier for the TTC's first 70 Toronto Rocket trains was roughly a billion dollars.

The G-series cars were followed into service in 1962 by M1 cars that were built by the Montreal Locomotive Works. These were longer trains than the G-series, and though only 36 were ordered, subsequent trains maintained the dimensions of these cars.

H-Series cars were introduced back in 1965 and would become a fixture of underground transit in Toronto, running through six series before ultimately being retired. The last H6 train made its final journey on June 20, 2014. 

Since then, the TTC subway has been run exclusively on Bombardier T1 and Toronto Rocket Trains, with the former in service on Line 2. The lights don't randomly go out and there's no single seats anymore, but there are still little hints of the old cars in the layouts used today.

Here's what Toronto subway cars looked like back in the day.

TTC Gloucester Subway Car

Drawings for Gloucester Cars, early 1950s.

TTC Subway

Car 5000 on display (note no wheels) in 1952.

TTC Subway 1953

Off the ship in 1953.

TTC Subway

Gloucester Wheels.

Vintage TTC

Approaching Davisville Station 1953 before the official opening.

Gloucester Subway Car TTC

Sitting at the Davisville Yards 1953.

Interior Gloucester Subway Car

Interior of a Gloucester Car before the ad areas were filled in, 1953.

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A different angle of the same car.

Subway Transfer

A transfer in 1954.

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Route Map 1954.

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M1Car at the CNE in 1962.

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New additions to the subway line.

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Carpeting (this was installed on cars 5044 and 5045).

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Another carpeting shot.

201163-hawker-siddeley-1965-s0648_fl0179_id0001.jpgHawker Siddeley car (these don't look wildly different from the T1 models).

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Fluorescent Lights on a Gloucester Car in the 1960s. Photo by Frank Denardo.

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Route Map 1966. Photo via mencc1701.

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Postcard view of a Gloucester train in the 1960s.

ttc 1960s

Gloucester Car in Davisville Yards, 1960s. Photo via Chuckman's Nostalgia.

ttc 1960s

Davisville Station looking south, 1969. Photo by NE2 3PN.

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Gloucester Car at Davisville Yard in 1969. Photo by Frank Denardo.

ttc 1970s

Interior of H-series subway train, 1975. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

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Gloucester and H-series cars 1990. Photo by Robert Lubinski.

h series subway ttc

H-series interior. Photo by Dennis Marciniak.

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Late H-series interior. Photo by Danielle Scott.

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T1 Specs from Bombardier.

Lead photo by

Frank Denardo


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