11 trains expected on Ottawa LRT by the end of November

OTTAWA — Ottawa’s city manager says Rideau Transit Maintenance is on track to have 11 trains on the Confederation Line, in time for a free month of transit in December.

Service resumed on the Confederation Line with seven trains on November 12, 54 days after a derailment shut down the system on September 19. Monday morning, a ninth train was added to the Confederation Line.

City manager Steve Kanellakos says a “new maintenance regime” introduced by TRA, Alstom and RTM is “turning profits”.

“If you look at the trains, we run from, most days, 6am to 11,12pm, so we run 16,17 hours a day,” Kanellakos said Wednesday.

“We’ve had very few incidents and we’ve got about 99 percent confidence in the journeys passengers can use during that period. I’ve said it before, and TRA said it loud and clear, you’ve got to expect that there will be an occasional problem with the train where it stops or whether it needs to be reset or if there is a door jam – these things happen in every train system in the world.”

Kanellakos acknowledges that there have been three problems on the Confederation Line since service resumed nearly two weeks ago, but the system has not been disrupted.

“We have not stopped the system, we have not had to implement the R1 service to support the system,” said the city manager.

OC Transpo reported slightly longer journey times between Tremblay and Rideau stations late in the evening due to a stationary train.

Kanellakos says a “circuit breaker broke” and had to be reset by a technician, “not unlikely an electrical panel in your house.”

On November 18, a brake problem stopped a train in the LRT tunnel between Rideau and uOttawa stations. On November 16, a train stopped after the driver heard a noise.

Mayor Jim Watson insists services are improving under the two-year-old system.

“There are literally hundreds of rides a day, and in all three cases, the train system kept working and running — whether there was a detour around a train or whatever, but the system kept running,” Watson says. “We have a much better track record of maintenance and preventive issues over the last three weeks than we had, obviously prior to the shutdown. We are making progress, it is slow and steady.”

Kanellakos says 11 trains will run by the end of the month, meeting passenger demand during the pandemic.

“I realize that people focus on when a train stops or where there is a problem, that’s not unusual,” Kanellakos said. “They were quick fixes and the good news is that we have enough spare parts to get trains back into service immediately and keep the lines running with minimal disruption to passenger times.”

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