October 8, 2014 2:38 pm
Updated: October 8, 2014 10:42 pm

Opening of Edmonton’s Metro LRT Line delayed for third time

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WATCH ABOVE:  Edmonton’s Metro LRT line to NAIT will not be operating by the end of the year. Vinesh Pratap has more on what’s stalling the operation of a $665 million project.

EDMONTON – The City has pushed back the opening date for the new Metro LRT line yet again, saying it will now be running by early 2015.

The 3.3 kilometre Metro Line is an extension from Churchill LRT Station northwest to NAIT.

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The line was originally expected to be ready for passengers in April 2014. In December, the city announced the opening date would be pushed back to June 2014. Then, in March, it was pushed to the end of the year.

“I am frustrated and very disappointed,” said Mayor Don Iveson.

“Mark my words: the time for assigning blame will come.”

READ MORE: Opening of Edmonton’s Metro LRT Line to NAIT delayed yet again 

Wednesday, the city said the contractor was taking longer than anticipated to complete the new signalling system, and the line wouldn’t be open until early 2015.

Mayor Don Iveson said he is frustrated and disappointed, but added the time for blame will come later.

“We share in the disappointment of many Edmontonians that the line won’t open in 2014,” said Dorian Wandzura, general manager for transportation services, “but it’s going to take several more weeks to ensure that this complex system is working properly so it can safely manage the flow of trains and traffic.”

The new signalling system keeps track of the location of each train and monitors the spacing of those trains.  The system will also allow two lines to safely share the same tracks.

“We’re in the home stretch,” said Wandzura.

“Our signalling system contractor is making progress, but unfortunately won’t be able to deliver the system in time to open the Metro Line this year.”

So far, the contractor has upgraded enough trains with the new signalling system hardware to operate the Metro Line. Software simulations tests have also been done and testing on the tracks has started.

While most of the tests have been done outside regular service hours, the city has shut down the LRT several times to speed up the process.

READ MORE: LRT service shut down Sunday for signal testing 

Once the system is working, operations will be handed over to the city.

“Thank you for bearing with us during this delay,” said Wandzura. “We are doing everything we can to achieve the earliest possible opening.”

The signalling system contractor will have to pay penalties for the delay.

The Metro Line is expected to add 13,200 weekday riders to Edmonton’s LRT network and link major destinations like NAIT, the Royal Alexandra Hospital and MacEwan University to the rest of the network.

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