Funeral for a Subway Car

Waiting for a bus last week, I managed to capture a funeral procession for an old TTC subway car. Car #5605, a H-4 subway car, was built by Hawker-Siddley and accquired by the TTC in 1974 or 1975. In 2001, car 5605 was placed into storage at Wilson Yard when the final T-1 subway cars were delivered. Car #5605, along with 35 other H-4s, were put aside in anticipation of the 2008 Olympics, to be used for additional service in the chance that Toronto won its bid. Eight other H-4 cars were converted to work units.

TTC #5605 was given a full police escort as the car was taken away from TTC property. #5605 is survived by 50 H-4 cars, which remain in service on the Bloor-Danforth line during rush hours only (you can recognize them by the shape of the roofline and the comfy orange benches). These few survivors will be replaced (along with the H-5 cars on the Yonge-University-Spadina Line) when the new “Toronto Rocket” trains arrive starting in 2009. I noted that Future Enterprise is an interesting name for a scrap dealer.

In lieu of flowers, senior levels of government are requested to send funds for capital and operating expenses to the Toronto Transit Commission.

46 comments

  1. It’s sad to see this subway car headed off to the scrap heap. I ride the J,M,Z from Brooklyn to Manhattan for work and they have the same trains still in service and in worse shape than poor #5605. Some are completely rusted and the insides have graffiti scratched into all the plexiglas windows and doors, not to mention sprayed on every surface, yet they’re still riding along, carrying thousands of commuters every day. I wonder if Toronto, in it’s haste to be the best, is discarding perfectly good components of its infrastructure in a ‘newer is better’ mind set? So long #5605, a death well before your time.

  2. If TTC didn’t have such a weird gauge maybe they could have been moved to the scrapper in groups by rail, rather than one at a time on trucks. Oh well…

  3. Even if the gauge were the same, what railway would move dead cars with no brakes and unique couplers along their tracks? And it would only help if the scrapper had their own siding. The cost would be pretty prohibitive.

    Still, it;s sad to H-4s leaving already.

  4. Joseph – these cars are beyond the end of their lifespans, they’re over 30 years old. They’ve been overhauled before and as they become increasingly orphaned in the fleet, the cost of upkeeping them becoming higher, as parts become less available, not to mention the manufacturer, Hawker Siddeley, no longer is in the rail business.
    The trains aren’t great for passenger comfort anymore either, as they were the last models without air conditioning. Riding the H4 trainset on the BD is hell in the summer, and I’d much rather let it pass and wait for an H5/H6 or T1.
    I can’t wait for the “Toronto Rockets” (trying to decide what is worse, that or “Metrolinx”) to arrive, as it’ll bring passenger comfort and operational flexibility to a new level. We’ll be the first city in North America with “snake” trains — well, Vancouver is getting them too, but if we get our delivery before they start operation on the Canada Line, then all is good.

  5. One thing I notice as a look at my post again is the suddenly ubiquitous red-and-blue lights on the police cars here in Toronto (and across Ontario). Being a life long Ontarian, for me, blue flashing lights were always associated with snow plows and salting trucks(or K-Mart specials before Zellers bought them out). The red-and-blue seemed so American to me, probably thanks to all the action movies imported from the States.

    It was one of those little things about Ontario that was different from anywhere else.

  6. Maybe it would be a great idea to get brand new comfortable subway cars when the TTC can afford them. How about keeping the older cars around and invest the money in a more effective manor like expanding existing service and decreasing wait times and delays.

  7. Getting rid of old subway cars is one of the ways to decrease wait times and delays. These things probably have a couple of million km on the odometer and that makes them a lot less reliable than when they were new. Hard-to-find parts means each problem keeps them out of service longer.

    The claim that the TTC replaces its equipment too quickly just doesn’t fit overall: this is an agency that still has 30 year-old streetcars and 26 year-old buses on the road. (The typical service life of a bus is 12 years in Canada; 8 in the US.)

    And Sean, I know what you mean about blue lights for cop cars. The claim was that blue was much more visible, so I can understand safety trumping nostalgia.

  8. I got a few corrections for the person who made took the photos.

    #1 There are only 44 H4’s left in service: 5580-5681, 5600-5601, 5602-5603, 5606-5607, 5610-5611, 5622-5623, 5624-5625, 5626-5627, 5630-5631, 5632-5633, 5638-5639, 5642-5643, 5644-5645, 5646-5647, 5648-5649, 5650-5651, 5652-5653, 5654-5655, 5656-5657, 5658-5659, 5660-5661, 5662-5663

    #2 5604-5605 was retired in June of 2006 along with 5608-09, and 5640-41.

  9. Beyond their lifespan? At 30 years? Come on. The H-4 were the best of the Hawker series. The G and M cars both lasted to 36 years. With proper maintenance and overhaul programs you can keep anything going in good condition. VIA Rail’s stainless steel Budd cars are over 50 years old and in great shape.

    Parts for H-4s are still plentiful as the TTC had hundreds of cars with the same parts. The H-5s use many of the same parts. The issue is that they are due for replacement by more efficient models (if not for that, the G trains would have been overhauled yet again and still be running). Never mind that Hawker-Siddeley isn’t in the business, Bombardier IS the continuation of that business, through its acquisition of UTDC, which took over Hawker’s rail business. The cars are still built in the same plant. If there really was going to be additional peak service, these cars and the H-5s could be kept on for extra service, but this isn’t the plan.

  10. Notably, these cars have much narrower doors. They are less accessible and slower to empty and refill with passengers.

  11. I loved the garish 70s colour scheme on the H-4s.
    For all worth, they will be missed. But I am looking forward to the new cars.

  12. Isn’t the oldest running equipment on a NA subway system the original Montreal Metros? They’re pushing 40 and they are the MILFs of rolling stock.

    I can’t believe I just said that.

  13. You know, I had to google “MILF” to see what that meant and, well, now I know.

    They are fine looking subways, I agree.

  14. “VIA Rail’s stainless steel Budd cars are over 50 years old and in great shape.”

    But remember, standard rail cars don’t have their own engines. They’re just pulled along.

  15. The H4’s are worn out and the remaining H4’s will last to 2009 when replace by the new order of Cars or retired before that if they suffer a major failure.

    Future Enterprise has been scrapping subway cars and buses for the TTC for years.

    K Mart wasnt bought out by Zellers (HBC) K Mart closed down its canadian stores about 1-2 years before it went under in the states.

    Average age for buses in Canada is 18 years and 12 years in the States.

    And the only reason VIA’s BUDD cars still running is cause they are made of stainless steel and have very expensive overhauls done at the AMF ex CN back shops now Alstom shops in Montreal. but there were some of the BUDD fleet that was sold/scrapped due to not being converted to head end power in 1990

  16. It is silly to try and compare a stainless steel-built passenger car, which is rediculously overbuilt to meet past (and present) buff strength requirements, to an aluminum-bodied subway car which besides having additional equipment to maintain and adjust, has just a quarter of the end-to-end strength.

    The H4’s are well past their best-before date and deserve to be put out to pasture.

    By the way, the only reason why the M1’s lasted as long as they did was because they spent the last 10 years of their life in rush-hour-only service.

  17. The last H4s are also lasting now because they are only out on the B-D during rush-hours… I somehow always end up at B-Y station during its run.

    And the TTC’s financial problems are generally on the Operational Budget side, not the Capital Budget side. All the money (gas tax, infrastructure funds, etc.) that the upper levels of government have been forwarding to the TTC have been for capital expenses, like purchasing new buses, streetcars, and subway cars. It was only recently that the TTC vehicles are slowly returning to the “average” age of North American transit systems.

    To say that the TTC shouldnt’ buy new vehicles makes less sense when you look at thte fact that new vehicles will reduce OPERATING costs, with increased efficiency, less maintenance, while improving customer comfort. The new trains will increase capacity by 10% as a result of more space gained by removing the operator cabs between each car and allow for better movement within the trains to help “spread the load”. All-in-all, newer in fact, is better in this case.

  18. “when you look at the fact that new vehicles will reduce OPERATING costs, less maintenance”

    the real fact is they will cost alot to get operating. don’t call it a FACT untill they have them in service and some REAL info.

    “while improving customer comfort.”

    pfff.. thats not a fact because the real fact is my ass along with other peoples asses love the H4 seats way better then the T1 or h5/6 seats.

    On top of that..

    special maintanence training and part inventory. They are building a new carhouse at Wilson for the new trains that will cost alot of $$$$, what happens if a train breaks down at Davisville? too bad because it has to get towed to Wilson..

  19. H4 = No AC + crappy acceleration and braking = fail

  20. Quit your bitching and go to Montreal and ride their system… NO AC at all when most of TTC subway cars have AC.

    crappy acceleration??? better then the T1’s

    crappy breaking? they have very good breaks that can throw you off your feet and are far better in the winter then the T1 or H5/6 cars.

  21. Mdude, can you honestly tell me you want to ride a H4 during the summer, sweating your ass off in that 30+ year old sauna? Even the TTC is reluctant to use them during the summer because they are unbearable to ride in, which they only do if they have to do a change-off. That inconvenience is reason enough to retire them once the new trains arrive.

    H4’s have crappy acceleration and braking because they don’t have chopper control like the H5/H6/T1’s do. Sure, the noise the loud buzz that the H5/H6/T1’s make is noticeable, but if anything the noise the H4 makes is much worse.

  22. “Mdude, can you honestly tell me you want to ride a H4 during the summer, sweating your ass off in that 30+ year old sauna? Even the TTC is reluctant to use them during the summer because they are unbearable to ride in, which they only do if they have to do a change-off. That inconvenience is reason enough to retire them once the new trains arrive.”

    A/C is a privalage and not a right!!!. i really have no smympathy for anyone who complains about no AC. The people in Montreal would love to have a system with A/C and better frequencys on the lines. and yet people in Toronto still complain? goto Montreal and i dare you to complain about the TTC subway after rideing their Metro.

    “H4’s have crappy acceleration and braking because they don’t have chopper control like the H5/H6/T1’s do.”

    H4’s don’t have crappy acceleration (maby a few jerks but thats a given for their age)

    crappy breaks? come on!!! they are the best in the system and when the driver is good.. the H4’s can stop very good too

    and again they can stop on snow/ice covered rails better then anything else.

    “Sure, the noise the loud buzz that the H5/H6/T1’s make is noticeable, but if anything the noise the H4 makes is much worse.”

    then wear ear plugs if you don’t like the noises. when i ride the H4’s, i have NO problem with them.

    long live the remaining H4 cars!

  23. KILL THE H4’S!!!

    Lol, the only good quality I can think of that the H4 has over the other models is that the seats are better. But the TTC always has the option of going back to seats H4 uses, rather than the ones they use on H5/H6/T1’s today.

    I’ve been on the Montreal Metro. It was a few years ago and I don’t remember having any problems with the trains they had, but it was in the spring so I don’t know how uncomfortable it is in the summer. But if it’s anything like the H4, I feel sorry for them.

    The TTC is going to replace the H4’s and H5’s with the new Toronto Rockets, but I also heard they may be replacing the H6’s as well. That I believe, would be a mistake.

  24. “I don’t know how uncomfortable it is in the summer.”

    Oh its bad.. the trains usualy have a fair amount of people then on the TTC. Their frequencys are just that bad so with all the people packed on the train.

    “But if it’s anything like the H4, I feel sorry for them.”

    It all depends on who you talk to.. There are people i know who love the h4’s and people i know who hates them.

  25. I hate to hear that the H4 cars (the “round trains with the fans”)are retired forever! They are so cool and rare that I’d rather let a T1 pass and wait for an H4/H5/H6; I like the H series cars the best and I call them “the round trains” for their big rounded windows. It sucks that the H1s were already retired before I even got a chance to ride on them, only to be replaced by some ordinary T1s which are of no uniqueness. Since the H4s are already retired, lets keep the H5 (the “round trains with the red floor”)and H6 (the “ordinary round trains”) cars! The H5s are cool because they have a red floor. Also, the H5 car which looks like a T1 on the inside could be called an H7 car, and it is a good idea to have H7 trains, rather than only one car among the H5s. The H7 series would be as new as the T1 series, so they both won’t be retired for a long time. At least there would be one model of the H series fleet, not only the boring T1s, which I call “the square trains” for their square windows. However, since not all the H4s are retired, let’s keep the remaining ones! They don’t have to be in casual service, but can be used in rush hours (I’ve noticed that the H4s only come out on weekdays). This does not at all mean that they will be retired, not to mention the H2s and H3s, as they were the exact same thing as the H4s. The TTC has made a big mistake by deciding not to update the H4s with new technology, as they can be improved and yet still keep their original look. It seems that the newer the trains, the more ordinary they get (I’m not saying that the H6s are boring), like Come on! Don’t send the cool H series fleet to the (s)crap heap to replace them with some crappy T1s! The H4s do not have crappy breaking or acceleration, and even though I was a little scared to go on an H4 train when I first got one (afraid that the floor will crack open), I got used to them and I admire them completely. Despite the lack of air conditioning, I do not get hot in there at all, and if you do, then bear with it! Bring a water bottle! And if the noise is loud, the buzz on the tested H3s was worse. And what in the world was the idea to create a garbage train out of an H1?! The only thing I dislike about the early Hawker series is that they have that weird curve on the bottom of the car, which makes its shape geometricaly improper. The early Hawker series have a unique feature in their windshield in that it’s tilted inwards like in some of the Orion buses, and that their fences between the cars consist of rings rather than strips. Also, they have the odd mark on top of the front of the car, as well as their destination display, which is rounded and not quite rectangular.

  26. P.S. Remember this golden forluma!

    H4= cool color scheme + interesting physical features à— rare appearanse
    = excellence!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. On Friday I caught an H4 train at 9:00P.M. What the hell I thought these trains were only used during peak periods.

  28. Be happy that you got the chance to ride those cool trains when they are becoming rare!

  29. I don’t care if they’re supposed to be only on peak periods or not, I just want them to be retired.

  30. I mean, I DON’T want them to be retired.

  31. Did you know that, waiting at Islington, I let an H6 pass and a T1 pass too. Since Islington is the next-to-last station, I looked at the westbound trains as well as the eastbound trains. The westbound trains were all T1’s. Then, when the next eastbound train began approaching, I heard loud banging noises. I thaought, “hmmm, that’s weird. Could this be a T1 as well?” But it was an H4! I wasn’t expecting it you know why. It must have just came from the depot, although I never heard of a “Kipling yard”. Anyways, I Boarded the train car 5661, which was nearly empty, and took a few pictures. I also made a video of it leaving when I got out. You never know, this might have been the fairwell ride!

  32. H4’s are becoming an endangered species. In my whole life I’ve only riden the H4 once, I can’t believe that these jerks are getting rid of H4’s already, it’s bad enough that they’re all going to be gone by 2009, but already, come on!!! These subway cars are great and I am totally against getting rid of them.

  33. I have made some corrections on my first comment:

    I hate to hear that the H4 cars are retired forever! They are so cool and rare that I’d rather let a T1 pass and wait for an H4/H5/H6; I like the H series cars the best. It sucks like hell that the H1s were already retired before I even got a chance to ride on them, not to mention the H2s and H3s (well the H2-4s all looked the same), only to be replaced by some ordinary T1s which are of no uniqueness. Since most of the H4s are already retired, lets keep the H5 and H6 cars! The H5s are cool because they have a red floor. Also, the H5 car with the T1 interior (car 5796) should be considered a modernized version of the H5, and how cool it would be to have entire trains from those cars. They would be as new as the T1 series, so they both won’t be retired for a long time. At least there would be one model of the H series fleet, not only the boring T1s. However, since not all the H4s are retired, let’s keep the remaining ones! They don’t have to be in casual service, but can continue to be used in rush hours. This does not at all mean that they will be retired. The TTC has made a big mistake by deciding not to update the H4s with new technology, as they can be improved and yet still keep their original look. It seems that the newer the trains, the more ordinary they get (this is only true for the H and T1 cars and I’m not saying that the H6s are boring), like Come on! Don’t send the cool H series fleet to the shit heap to replace them with some casual T1s! The H4s do not have crappy breaking or acceleration and even though I was a little scared to go on an H4 train when I first got one (afraid that the floor will split open), I got used to them and I admire them completely. Despite the lack of air conditioning, I do not get hot in there at all, and if you do, then bear with it! Bring a water bottle! Because in the Moscow Metro even the relatively new trains lack A/C, and if the noise on the H4 is loud, the noise in the Moscow Metro is just as loud if not louder! And what in the world was the idea to create a garbage train out of an H1?! The early Hawker series have a unique feature in their windshield in that it’s tilted inwards like in some of the Orion buses, and that their drawbars (if they are what I think they are) consist of those loopy things rather than flat metal rods. Also, they have the curvy mark on top of the front of the car, as well as their destination sign, which is rounded and not quite rectangular. So keep up the good work of the H4s and DON’T YOU DARE RETIRE THEM OR I’LL KICK YO ASS!!

  34. The “odd curve” you talked about is called the “undercarrage”

  35. By the way Laurence and Dan Garcia, in Moscow the relatively new cars (the 81.717/714 cars (81.717 are lead cars with a driver’s cab and 81.714 is without driver’s cab)) are as old as the H4’s. They were built from 1976, and yet they are just as new as those hideous T1’s. This is because in Moscow subway cars are treated with care and repaired, not sent to the SHIT heap for no frigin’ reason!

  36. It does seem odd that we can rebuild GM buses time after time but not subway cars – albeit that to rebuild H series cars to modern standards would not be cheap at all.

    However, that would mean migrating subway car engineering from Thunder Bay to Toronto and give us notions of building our own subway cars with out of work auto workers… can’t have that!

  37. Guess what! The Moscow Metro trains are the same as used in all the Soviet countries and even in Budapest! It is the same factory that makes all the models (Wagon match (Russian: Вагонмаш)). And in Moscow the same is happening as here. Moscow’s old E series cars have been retired in early 2007, and the last one (#3605) is kept for the future museum. Those E series cars along with their modifications (Ej, Em, etc) will be replaced with Russich trains, which are also “snake trains”.

  38. Oh, I forgot to mention this. When an H5 car got in a split switch accident it was sent to shit. And the worst that could have happened is that its trucks got smushed. Wow, big deal! Just give the car new trucks and that’s it! And when two T1 cars got wrecked like hell, the TTC actually had them fixed. WTF??????????!!!!!!!!!! Why the hell do they put their effort into fixing something turned to crap and shit something which is only slightly damaged??!!

  39. I love the H4 cars! They are mush better than those hideous T1 jerks!

  40. I love the H4 cars! They are mush (much) better than those hideous T1 jerks!

  41. We don’t believe that! All those people saying bad things about us while we reach our doom!

  42. What, a funeral already? H4s are not that rare in service. I take the B-D every weekday and one week I got an H4 trainset 3 days in a row.

    I love the seat cushions, but that’s about it.

    I don’t like the heat in the summer. I also don’t like how noisy they are. When I see an H4 coming I put my music player away, otherwise I have to crank it up to eleven 😉

    The T1s use brushless AC traction motors and thus cost less to maintain. However I too can’t see why the older trains can’t be retrofitted with newer equipment. It would be way cheaper, no?

  43. The G & M trains can still be seen at Halton county Electric radial museum whay not send 2 retired H4 trains there use them at centre island as pick nik cars They did not even send a H1 car to HCRM.
    The H4 h5 had way better pick up leaving a station the the H1 i like the front on the outside of then the newer subway cars are flat

  44. Next thig go transit send its older cars away to get rebuilt TO needs to hang on to some history maybe have a train museum in to and keep one car of each type ect 5000 G1 5300 5300 M1 5337 H1 H3 5500 and some how save them hell people are moving houses in the city why not have them in a unused area of land so people can aleast tour them dallas has that
    Whats really sad the TTC got rid of the G2s 5100 to 5104 silver with red stripes they were half alumium and steel body they were very unique
    Bottom line once they are gone you will never see them again unless we keep one of each series

  45. There is an old street car in Pickering an old american Pullman standared 4674 in better shape then some of the older ones a halton county radial museum

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