On a brisk December afternoon, the Toronto Transit Commission opened the doors of probably the most important (and taypayer-friendly) facilities in their system: the Hillcrest Shops. This is where the heavy lifting (literally), refurbishing, repairing, repainting, reverse-engineering and restoration of the TTCs surface fleet takes place.
It's amazing how much actually has to be built from scratch at this place. From obsolete streetcar doors, to ventilation systems, to manual track switchers, the behind-the-scenes members of the TTC toil to keep the rolling stock rolling, without having to prematurely replace a bus, or in the case of streetcars, retirement.
The star of the show was the new low-floor, articulated behemoth of a streetcar, which is guaranteed to cause nightmares in the mayor's office. This thing is HUGE. There are plenty of chairs, some facing each other, which should be an interesting experience for the average above-ground straphanger. Also plenty of doors for entry and exit, which in theory should keep things moving along more quickly. Lots of LED lighting along the sides of the doors which flash to alert potentially-passing drivers of their open status. The thing is, you won't be able to pass these things. Unless you're driving a dragster and have an open curb lane for at least 1000 ft., that is. They also had a NovaBus articulated bus on display, which should be entering service in the near future.
For heritage sake, they had the PCCs, a Peter Witt, and a lonely ALRV out in the yard for people to walk through, and reminisce over.
Photos taken at the TTC Hillcrest Shops on Bathurst Street in Toronto, Ontario on November 23, 2013.