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Toronto's first trolley bus was #20, operating on the 'Mount Pleasant' route from 1922-1925.
The idea of powering buses using electricity from trolley wires emerged from the United Kingdom and the United States during the early part of the 1910s. On October 16, 1947, the TTC launched the first of its next generation of trolley bus routes, using vehicles designed at the Canadian Car and Foundry's Fort William plant. Toronto, however, had an extremely large streetcar system that was well maintained enough that a complete conversion to trolley buses could not be justified. This second generation of trolley buses operated for over 40 years, although you wouldn't have known by the look of them.
The TTC sent off coach 9020 to Western Flyer in Winnipeg and coach 9144 to Robin-Nodwell in England for test rebuilding.
In the early 1990s, Toronto's trolley buses were nearing the second end of their useful lives and some of them had to be retired. But this time the approaching demise of the trolley bus fleet coincided with a serious budget crisis; ridership was down because of the recession, and so too was government funding.
In a scene eerily reminiscent of the PCC Graveyard, these rebuilt Flyer trolley buses were also stored at Hillcrest Shops after retirement. Although the trolley buses were gone, their overhead wires remained for some time in case of some eventuality meaning that they might be needed again.
William Miller's excellent page on the history of the Toronto Transportation Commission talks a lot about trolley buses, including pictures and an all-time roster.
Filey, Mike, The TTC Story: The First Seventy-Five Years, Dundurn Press, Toronto (Ontario) 1996. Toronto Transit Commission, Trolley Coach CC&F and Flyer Coaches, The Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto (Ontario), January 1987. To see more articles within the Trolley Bus division, you may return to the Trolley Bus division page. All words and images featured in this domain are either copyrighted to the people maintaining this domain or are copyright to other copyright holders who have given permission for their material to be used on the Transit Toronto web site only.

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Trolley buses did not require steel tracks; constrained only by wires, they were more flexible to operate and cheaper to build than streetcars. The years following the Second World War saw a boom in the development of trolley bus systems. The trolley buses offered potential for replacing Canada's overworked and under-maintained streetcar networks with comparable service and lower infrastructure costs. So the first trolley bus routes replaced lighter-used residential streetcar lines at the edge of the system. In the 1960s and 1970s, there was another expansion of the trolley bus network, and at the same time, the cars in the fleet were nearing the end of their natural lifespans. Western Flyer Coach in Winnipeg completed the project and were given the order to completely rebuild the buses, putting on a new chassis and body, plus remanufactured components.
The ETS refused to release the TTC from its leases, which still had a year and a half to run. This is a pity, because this hybrid of streetcar and diesel bus technology was never really given a chance on Toronto's streets.
This section of the web site features articles relating to Toronto's late, lamented trolley bus network. It was found on a farm almost 50 years later, and is currently at the Halton County Railroad Museum, awaiting restoration.
At the same time, they had the streetcar's advantage of using electricity instead of expensive gasoline for power. The experiment was successful -- so successful, the trolley buses ran themselves out of service, as the ridership grew to a point where the TTC felt that streetcars were required.
Montreal, Edmonton and Winnipeg already had trolley coaches and Calgary and Kitchener were about to follow suit. By 1954, the TTC boasted 125 trolley buses operating on six routes (compared to over 700 streetcars).

With the TTC committed at the time to trolley bus operation, rather than purchase new vehicles (which were hard to come by, then), the TTC looked for companies which could rebuild the vehicles. The first of these new look trolley buses were in operation by 1969, and the rebuilding program was completed on April 26, 1972. In some ways, the trolley buses featured the best of both worlds; they emitted a lot less pollution than their diesel counterparts, were quieter and could climb hills better.
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The idea was fine in principle, but it would take a few years before workable prototypes started to operate on viable lines.
In 1946, CC&F built a demonstrator T-44 unit which it delivered to TTC's Lansdowne carhouse on November 16 of that year. In the mid to late 1950s, the TTC made additional purchases of secondhand coaches from such systems as Cleveland, Cincinnati and Ottawa. At the same time, they were more flexible than streetcars, with simple accidents rarely backing up service as they would on streetcar tracks. Windsor became the first such city to install experimental lines in 1921, and then Toronto followed suit the following year. The TTC shipped it back in December, only to call it back on January 15, 1947 where it operated on south Lansdowne Avenue into February. The 1970s were good years for Toronto's trolley buses, with the energy crisis cementing their place on the Toronto transit scene. Unfortunately, they also offered the worst of both worlds; they didn't have the streetcar's capacity, they couldn't be operated in trains, and their infrastructure requirements meant that they were not as flexible as diesel buses.
Proposals came forward to convert some diesel routes to trolley bus operation, but unfortunately, nothing came of these.

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15.04.2016 admin

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