It may just be one small piece of the puzzle, but a milestone was marked Thursday in the ongoing construction of the Valley Line LRT in south Edmonton.
The first section of rail for the line was installed in Mill Woods on 66 Street just south of 34 Avenue.
The CEO of TransEd Partners said it’s a big step forward in the project.
“You’re out of the ground, you’re onto the rail system now. So everything from here up, you’re going to see,” Allan Neill explained.
“It takes a lot of the uncertainty of the time out of it because when you’re in the ground you never know what’s going to happen. So it’s always good to be above the rail.”
To put it into perspective, each piece of rail is 392 metres long and weighs more than 20 tonnes. Each rail piece is made up of smaller 24-metre sections that were welded together in place.
The Valley Line extension to Mill Woods requires four rails — two for each Light Rail Vehicle. Phase 1 of the southern extension will use more than 58 kilometres of rail.
Late last month, the first low-floor light rail vehicle (LRV) for the transit line arrived in the city. The LRVs are different from those currently used on Edmonton’s other LRT lines.
Watch below: Take a tour inside Edmonton’s brand new LRV, to be used on the southern stretch of the Valley Line
One LRV has 82 seats and can hold up to 275 people. TransEd, the company behind the Valley Line project, expects to start dynamic testing of the LRV next year.
The vehicles are being put together at the Bombardier facility in Kingston, Ont. Neill said Thursday that five other LRVs are in production and will be in Edmonton by the end of the year.
The Kingston facility has been plagued by production problems on other light rail vehicle orders. While in Edmonton late last month, the president of Bombardier Transportation assured people all 26 LRVs needed for the line will be delivered to Edmonton on time, by 2020.
“Don’t worry, we’re going to be there,” Benoit Brossoit said in July.
The Valley Line from downtown to Mill Woods is expected to be open by late 2020.