May 25, 2018 5:45 pm
Updated: May 25, 2018 10:40 pm

Edmonton’s Metro Line suffers yet another signalling issue: crossing arms come down on green light

WATCH ABOVE: The problems experienced by Edmonton's Metro Line LRT have been well-documented and now another signalling issue has come to light. Vinesh Pratap reports.


Yet another signalling issue on Edmonton’s problem-plagued Metro Line LRT has come to light, just weeks after the signalling contractor said it was making progress towards completion.

Just before 5 p.m. Thursday, during the evening rush, a “communication issue” between the train signalling system and the traffic signalling system led the crossing gates to come down while the light was green, a spokesperson with the City of Edmonton said.

A picture posted on Reddit shows the traffic light for eastbound traffic on 111 Avenue is green, yet the crossing arms for the north/southbound train along 106 Street are down. Pedestrians can also be seen crossing 111 Avenue, against the green light.

A photo posted to Reddit shows the Metro LRT crossing arms down at 111 Avenue and 106 Street while the light is green.

Credit: Reddit: abitkt7raid

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Holly Budd with the City of Edmonton said the incident “is an example of one of the reliability issues we’ve been working through with Thales.” Thales is the signalling contractor for the Metro Line LRT.

“I don’t know if frustration quite captures it,” Councillor Scott McKeen said when asked what was going through his mind when he learned of the latest issue. “Fury mixed with frustration.

“We are so far down the road on this project and I can’t think of a day where we’ve been told good news.”

READ MORE: City emails reveal frustration, concern after Edmonton LRT trains end up on wrong track

According to the Reddit post, before the light turned green, it was red for about five minutes, which caused some drivers to U-turn or go over the tracks and through the red light.

McKeen said safety is a concern.

“You know that drivers will get frustrated and will get impatient and maybe make a move that could imperil them or others,” he said Friday.

“It’s been an exercise of impatience for us. You want to talk about a driver sitting at crossing arms coming down and just sitting there – that’s what it’s felt like to us. The crossing arms are down politically and we have had no ability to move this along, thus the recent notice of default.”

READ MORE: Issues continue to plague Metro Line LRT, as train enters wrong track

The city originally set an April 30 deadline for Thales to have all signalling issues fixed along the Metro Line. On May 1, the city issued a notice of default to Thales – a process that could start the termination of the contract.

READ MORE: Edmonton serves notice of default to Metro LRT signalling contractor

Thales responded on May 8 with a schedule to complete the work.

“We have been making significant and measured progress towards completion, despite substantial hurdles that have been placed in front of us,” read the statement sent to city administration.

“We have been, and remain, very committed to completing this project. To that end, Thales has provided the city with a detailed roadmap and schedule by which it expects to complete the work. The successful completion of this project, as it has always, will demand cooperation from the city. Thales is optimistic that it will receive such cooperation and Edmontonians will very soon enjoy the full benefits of this advanced system.”

However, the public has yet to hear what the city will do next. An item labelled “Contractual Update” is listed on the city council agenda for this Tuesday, as a private report.

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