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Ottawa LRT to resume reduced service on Saturday following axle fault

Ottawa's LRT line will resume reduced service on Saturday, Aug. 14 at 6 a.m. after an errant axle suspended service on the line for five days. Nick Westoll / Global News

Service on Ottawa’s Confederation Line LRT will resume at a reduced capacity Saturday morning after an issue with an axle bearing knocked the trains out of commission for the past week.

Ottawa transit boss John Manconi confirmed in a memo to council Friday afternoon that LRT service will resume at 6 a.m. on Aug. 14 with a reduced schedule that will see trains arrive every 10 minutes.

As more trains are cleared to return to service, that frequency will increase.

Buses will be on standby at transit stations should customer demand overwhelm the train capacity.

Read more: 7 OC Transpo double-decker buses need steering fix after inspection

The vehicles were still being put through their paces on Friday afternoon, but Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) confirmed to city staff that each train had passed a safety certification, Manconi said.

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He also provided more details on the incident Sunday night that brought the system to a halt for five days.

That evening, an operator had been moving a train from Tunney’s Pasture Station to the storage facility when they experienced an “abnormal and rough ride,” Manconi said in an earlier memo. Initial investigations showed one of 10 axles was derailed from the track.

Read more: Ottawa LRT shut down, TSB on scene after errant axle results in ‘abnormal and rough ride’

RTM disassembled the train’s axle bearing unit, which connects the axle to the wheel, to take a closer look at what happened.

Crews found that one of the bolts in the assembly was not fully tightened and “had a very small amount of movement, by fractions of a millimetre,” Manconi wrote.

“This movement caused damage to the bearings inside the unit and wheel, which in turn led to the axle coming off the track on Sunday evening,” he said.

The green portion of the bolt on this axle bearing unit was loose, allowing for a small amount of movement that was enough to derail one axle on an Ottawa LRT vehicle from the track on Sunday evening, according to the city’s transit boss. via City of Ottawa

The investigation into what caused the problem with the bolt is ongoing, with Manconi indicating findings would be ready by the next transit commission meeting on Sept. 20.

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In the meantime, RTM is carrying out an inspection procedure to watch for similar faults in the axle bearing units.

Crews inspect the damaged Confederation Line train just east of Tunney’s Pasture station. Nick Westoll / Global News
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