The flash flood that happened in Toronto in early August is still causing headaches for the TTC, as it damaged nine new streetcars that were in operation that evening.
Four streetcars have been taken off the roads with significant damage, two of which will be sent to Bombardier’s facility in New York State for major cleaning, repairs and replacement parts.
One of the streetcars that was caught in the storm on King Street at an underpass at Atlantic Avenue saw just under two metres of flooding.
“The issue for us is under the floorboards and in the walls are a lot of electronics,” said Stuart Green, spokesperson with the TTC.
Five other streetcars have already been repaired and are back in service, Green added.
“There were five that went through deeper water along Queens Quay so the wheel mechanisms got flooded,” he said.
“We had to drain those out and clean them out and they are back in service.”
All nine streetcars that were impacted are part of the newly-delivered fleet and none of the older cars were damaged.
“They were operating in areas that were prone to the flooding that day. The older streetcars were operating further north and these particular streetcars were operating on Queens Quay and King Street,” Green said.
“This has nothing to do with design. These cars were designed to go through water in a typical rainstorm but that day was not typical. That day was a very, very heavy rain storm. We talk about 25- or 50- year storm and it was one of those.”
Environment Canada issued a special weather statement ahead of the summer storm, warning of the potential for 50 to 100 millimetres of rain.
The weather agency said approximately 50 to 75 millimetres of rain fell in the span of two to three hours across the area. Localized areas may have experienced higher amounts of rainfall. At the peak of the storm, nearly 16,000 customers were without power, according to Toronto Hydro.
Police and fire crews responded to several calls of submerged vehicles and two men had to be rescued from an elevator in a commercial building in the city’s north end.
Green said it’s unclear on when the four remaining damaged streetcars will return but he added the TTC doesn’t anticipate there will be any disruptions to commuters.
“We have enough streetcars right now that the service …we can cover that, so we are okay,” he said.
“We will make adjustments if we need to but even with four out of commission, we will be okay with streetcar service for the time being.”
— With files from Adam Frisk.