Sophisticated mock-up of a light rail transit vehicle becomes Ontario festival star

Take a ride on a vehicle with no engine – that’s transporting people into the future.

It’s the great imposter.

And a stand-in for a future mover and shaker.

One of the most photographed celebrities of the summer season is a sophisticated mock-up of the light rail vehicles that will soon be rolling across Ontario neighbourhoods. While a full-scale shadow of the real thing – the mock-up appears at festivals and community events – it’s created a fair share of traffic as transit fans grab photos of themselves posing in front of it.

A man holds an infant while next to an LRV mock-up.

A man and child pose while next to the mock-up at a Finch West community event.

So we wanted to take you inside to show you how it compares to the real thing, which will be rolled out on light rail transit lines in Finch West (coming in 2023) and Hurontario (starting in 2022).

This mock-up is the Alstom Citadis Spirit cab model built by Alstom and comes out of Brampton, Ontario.

The LRV mock-up is shown inside a warehouse.

The LRV mock-up, as it waits to be rolled out to community events.

It weighs 12,500 kg and measures 12.798 metres in length with a width of 2.8 metres, compared to its full-scale model which weighs a staggering 81,000 kg and is 48.4 metres long.

The Alstom Citadis Spirit is modular in design with the full model consisting of four modules – two cab modules with two doors per side, a center module with one door per side and an intermediate module with two doors per side. Our mock-up is a cab model with two dual doors per side.

Empty seats within the LRV mock-up.

Like the real thing, the mock-up offers plenty of seating and great views.

It features a floor design that offers step free access and passenger flow for fully compliant accessibility- with formal spots for wheelchairs and strollers. However, due to the nature of our community events and summer festivals, the mock-up is mounted on a trailer bed with access made possible via stairs and ramps.

In both the LRV and mock-up, the interior is designed with comfortable seats and are arranged so half the seats are facing forward and the other half are facing backwards. The seating near the entrances are mounted against the windows to allow extra space for passing through and for those standing, and also to accommodating wheelchairs and strollers.

A man sits inside the LRV mock-up.

Amos Fapuro, a resident of the Finch West community, takes a seat on the LRV mock-up.

In the LRV, automated voice messages and electronic displays mounted along the ceiling will announce the next station and other important information. In the mock-up, there is a sample display mounted on the ceiling.

Seats inside the LRV.

Inside the LRV mock-up, as well as the route the real thing will follow on the Finch West LRT.

The mock-up can’t go anywhere under its own steam. It’s, so far, style over substance.

It’s a sophisticated doppleganger. And, appearing at a community event near you, even without an engine, it’s transporting people into the future.

Story by Tanisha Samuels, Metrolinx community relations and issues specialist for the Toronto West LRT team.