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Metro LRT Line experienced 11 service delays in November

EDMONTON — The ongoing saga of issues with the Metro LRT Line’s signalling system continues, as a new report shows the system led to 11 service delays last month.

According to a report up for debate at city council Tuesday, there were 11 incidents in November that resulted in service delays of five minutes or more. Of those 11 disruptions, six were caused by “vehicle on-board controller faults,” which resulted in delays of up to 10 minutes.

The Metro Line also experienced five “zone controller issues” between the Churchill and NAIT stations, two of which resulted in more significant passenger delays. In one of those cases buses had to be brought in to replace trains; the other ended up in a 30-minute delay.

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There is still no word on when the line will be fully operational.

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“For better or for worse, the Metro Line has sort of become the thing that people point to when they’re frustrated about this, that and the other for the city,” Mayor Don Iveson said Tuesday night. “And I understand that frustration because we’re as frustrated as citizens too that we haven’t been able to get this system that we wanted on the timeline we were originally promised.”

The city has brought in Rail Safety Consulting to do an independent rail safety audit on the line to identify issues with the signalling system. According to the city report, more work needs to be done before the signalling system is given the green light to go ahead.

The city says bus operations in the Kingsway/NAIT area have stabilized, although concerns have been raised by Kingsway Mall about traffic delays impacting the holiday shopping season. The city says it is working with the mall on several promotional ideas in hopes of encouraging shoppers to visit the mall.

“We know that with any new Metro Line or LRT there is some growing pains. We knew that, we said that from the get-go,” said Ellie Sasseville, executive director of the Kingsway District Association. “Obviously there were some setbacks in November and some huge delays and that’s been a bit of an issue for the business community around us.”

“We did meet with the city in advance of the Christmas season, largely as a proactive way to talk about the influx of traffic flow. We’ll upwards of 40,000 people come through here a day and we just wanted to make sure that we’re all on the same and we are optimizing all the signalling and moving people through the area as best as possible,” said Susan Denney with Kingsway Mall.

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