HO New Look Bus – The T6H5307N and the TTC

The T6H5307N New Look Bus

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Words and pictures courtesy of Keith Littlewood

TTC 7578 – from the first order of T6H5307N buses in 1973.
Photo courtesy Keith Littlewood.

The T6H5307N variant of the New Look transit bus was first manufactured in 1972, and by that time is had a well established reputation for reliability and durability that led to this version becoming the predominate transit bus in Canada and the United States.

The design was manufactured in Canada between 1972 and 1984 and was the most popular Canadian New Look model. The first Canadian-built “5307” was delivered to Red Deer, Alberta in 1972. A total of 6181 were built in Canada at Diesel Division’s London (2444) and Montreal plants until the last T6H5307N was sold to Anchorage, Alaska in 1984. GMC’s Truck and Coach Division plant in Pontiac, Michigan, produced only 62 between 1972 and 1977 for American transit systems. The small number of T6H5307N buses produced in the United States is due to the popularity of the air conditioned T6H5307A and the V8 engine powered T8H5307A models.

TTC 8020 – this T6H5307N was built in 1975.
Photo courtesy Keith Littlewood.

The “5307” was offered with a variety of options, including paint schemes, double stream rear doors (or no rear door), interior colour schemes, various type of interior seat layouts, seat designs, steel (chrome) or energy absorbing bumpers and for Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton, the deletion of the standee windows.

TTC 8026 – note the lack of standee windows and the energy absorbing “water jug” bumpers.
Photo courtesy Keith Littlewood.

The T6H5307N was powered by the 6-cylinder Detroit Diesel 6V71N which, depending on customer specified injectors, developed 181-190 horsepower. Two transmissions were available, the two-speed VH-9 transmission and an optional at extra cost VS-2 (“Super V”) transmission with an overdrive gear for transit system that needed higher speeds for freeway operation. In 1976, these transmissions were replaced by the new Allison V730 three-speed transmission.

TTC 8034.
Photo courtesy Keith Littlewood.

The T6H5307N and the Toronto Transit Commission

The TTC received its first T6H5307N buses in June 1973, an order for 105 vehicles numbered 7570-7599 and 7700-7774. The first 50 (Nos. 7570-7599 and 7700-7719) were assigned to Eglinton Division. The balance of the order was distributed to the remaining TTC Divisions: Queensway Division (Nos. 7720-7729), Danforth Division (Nos. 7730-7739), Davenport (Nos. 7740-7749), Birchmount (Nos. 7750-7769) and Lansdowne (Nos. 7770-7774) Division.

TTC 8038.
Photo courtesy Keith Littlewood.

Several features from previous bus orders were retained; including energy absorbing water filled front bumpers. The first “5307s” were also delivered without the stainless steel trim between the headlights and “GMC” badge, a feature that started with the 7100 series model TDH5303 buses delivered in 1967. The 105 buses were delivered without standee windows, a feature specified by the TTC since TDH5303 Nos. 3575-3599 and 3700-3799 were delivered in 1965. The closed side window opposite the rear doors was sealed, unlike the two piece opening window on all previous New Look orders.

An interesting feature of the first order was the decision in the middle of the order to change the colour of the EIP air intake and exhaust vents (on each side of the rear window) from cream to dark grey, starting with No. 7755.

The rear of TTC 7904.
Photo courtesy Keith Littlewood.

Increases in TTC ridership resulting from the elimination of the two-zone fare system in Metropolitan Toronto and concerns about the OPEC oil embargo required more buses for service improvements and to replace older buses. An additional 88 T6H5307Ns were ordered for delivery in 1974, Nos. 7775-7799 and 7900-7962. The first buses began to arrive in June 1974 and featured a number of changes.

Starting with No. 7784, the T6H5307Ns were equipped with roof ventilators to improve air flow during the summer, later, starting with No. 7910, the ventilator hatch was combined with an emergency exit hatch.

TTC 8048.
Photo courtesy Keith Littlewood.

The standard rear axle ratio of 5-1/7:1 was replaced by a higher ratio 6-1/7:1 on buses Nos. 7775-7799 and 7900-7904 to enable these buses to climb the demanding “Hogg’s Hollow” hill on York Mills Ave west of Yonge Street. Since the 2900 series TDH5301’s built in 1959, fully loaded New Looks had difficulty climbing the grade when filled to capacity with customers. The change in rear axle ratio solved the problem and although the “hill climbers” could occasionally be spotted on other Birchmount Division routes, for most of their lives these 30 buses were nearly always assigned to the busy 95 – York Mills route (even after newer buses with the V730 three speed transmission entered TTC service).

The TTC bought 108 more “5307s” in 1975, Nos. 8010-8117. The T6H5307N operated from all TTC divisions and was commonplace throughout the city, but it almost didn’t turn out that way. The last 60 buses (Nos. 8058-8117) were to have been built by Flyer Industries but could not be delivered due to a labour dispute at Flyer and the entire order was subsequently awarded to General Motors. One most readily noticeable feature of this order was the return to cream as the colour for the EIP vents.

TTC 8079.
Photo courtesy Keith Littlewood.

The delivery of new buses is always exciting to transit enthusiasts, but this time it was also a bit disappointing. The 108 T6H5307N vehicles, along with 40 Flyer D800A buses originally to be delivered in 1974 allowed the TTC to retire the last of two favourite bus models: the 1500 and 1900 series 35’ GMC TDH4512 “old looks” and the 1900 series 35’ Canadian Car-Brill CD44A fleet.

The next New Look order, Nos. 8140-8158, was one of the smallest orders placed by the TTC (only the 1960 order for 15 35’ TDH4517 buses was smaller). The 19 vehicles arrived in November 1976 and were the first TTC buses with the new Allison V730 three speed transmission, which allowed the fleet to have greater acceleration, grade climbing and top speed when compared to the performance of previous New Look buses which were built with the VH-9 had the two speed transmission.

TTC 8105.
Photo courtesy Keith Littlewood.

The 19 vehicles were also the first new buses assigned to TTC’s newest bus division, Wilson Division, which opened in the fall of 1976. One other interesting modification was the passenger seating in No. 8158. Instead of being delivered with the standard TTC vinyl covered bench type seating this was equipped with Otaco “Innovator 1” seats that were later to be used in the TTC’s CLRV streetcars, at that time under development.

The TTC continued to order T6H5307N buses, taking delivery of the last new ones in 1983. Additional ones were leased for a short time (originally built for Salt Lake City’s UTA in 1983) in 1998 to cover vehicle requirements until new buses could be delivered and purchased second hand (from Montreal’s STM). Almost all of TTC’s T6H5307N buses built after 1979 (including one from 1975, No. 8073) were rebuilt for further service until the last New Looks were retired from TTC service in December 2011.

Photo courtesy Keith Littlewood.

Rapido’s New Look Bus Models

The T6H5307N bus by Rapido Trains Inc. represents examples of the second, third and fourth New Look orders placed by the TTC. Nos. 7798 and 7910 were delivered in 1974 as part of the 88 bus order, while Nos. 8049 and 8058 represent the 108 bus 1975 order. The 19 bus order delivered in 1976 is represented by No. 8155. All three orders were delivered in the TTC’s maroon and cream colour scheme and were factory equipped with water-filled energy absorbing bumpers.

The Rapido TTC New Look Bus.