Bus Stop Classics: Canadian Car and Foundry “C”and “T” Series Urban Transit Coaches – They Outlasted Their American Counterparts

We’ve looked at quite a few buses from our good friends north of the border – let’s take a look at one more.  These two buses up on lifts are Canadian Car and Foundry (CCF) C-Series urban transit coaches, counterparts and competitors of the GM Old Look, and a familiar sight in the eastern, middle, and western provinces of Canada in the 1950’s to 70’s.

CCF Built T6 Harvard Trainer

Prior to WW II, CCF made railcars and other rolling stock, even trying its luck with shipbuilding.  During the war, it was most notable for building under license the Hawker Hurricane fighter, Curtis SB2C Helldiver divebomber and North American Aviation T6 Harvard trainer.

After the war, it returned to the railcar business but also added streetcars to its product portfolio, supplying units to Montreal, Toronto, Regina, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, and several Brazilian cities.

Buses were added too – with the company partnering with the US firm of American Car and Foundry (ACF)-Brill, and license producing its urban transit and intercity designs.  ACF-Brill and CCF, though having similar names, were not affiliated prior to this licensing agreement.  The first urban transit model was the C36 (36 passenger); 32 ft in length, with an underfloor amidships “laydown” Hall-Scott 477 cu in gas six cylinder engine.

CCF C44 Diesel Coach

Hall-Scott engines, while noted for their power and reliability, were also quite thirsty, so transport operators expressed interest in a diesel-engined model with more capacity.  CCF, in turn, introduced the C40 and C44 models in 1951/52.

To compete with the popular GM TDH 5105 (51 passenger) “Old Look”, CCF introduced the C52 in 1955, similar sized at 40 ft long and 102 inches wide.

AEC AV590 Diesel in Vertical Orientation

AEC Routemaster

CCF used UK sourced AEC diesel engines in its coaches, the two most common being the AH590 – a 9.6 litre inline four-stroke six cylinder laydown diesel with 120 hp and 440 ft lbs of torque, and the larger 11.3 AH690 version in the later larger buses with 150 hp and 480 ft lbs of torque.  Bus fans will recognize these engines as ones used in the famous AEC Routemaster series double-deckers.




CCF’s trolley coaches were just as popular as its diesel-engined models, with the T44 and T48 being operated in Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Regina, Montreal, Halifax, Vancouver, and Toronto.  An upcoming post by Dave Saunders will show where many of these trolley coaches were ultimately laid to rest.

With introduction of the GM “New Look” coach in 1959, other bus manufacturers had to up their game, and CCF brought out its “T” Series bus in 1960.  Interestingly, it continued to use the AEC AV690 engine (moved from amidships to a transverse/rear orientation), rather than the more economical GM 6V71 two stroke.  My guess is a previous partnership or agreement mandated this choice.

The resulting higher operating costs, and other reasons, meant the the T-Series was an also-ran in competition with the superb GM Fishbowl, which starting in 1961 was being assembled in-country at the General Motors Diesel Division (GMDD) plant at St-Eustache, Quebec.  CCF ended bus production in 1962.

ACF-Brill in the US tossed in the towel in 1954 – CCF bus production continued a good eight years longer than its US partner.  Today, remaining parts of the company have been incorporated into the vast Bombardier transportation conglomerate.