Full service on Ottawa LRT expected by mid-December: memo

Ottawa's light-rail transit system is now expected to be fully running in mid-December following the Sept. 19, 2021 derailment pictured here. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Ottawa’s light-rail transit system is expected to be back up to full service in mid-December, nearly three months after it last derailed, according to a memo released Tuesday evening from the city manager.

Steve Kanellakos said in a memo to city council that Rideau Transit Group, the consortium tasked with building and now maintaining the Confederation Line LRT, gave the city a date of Nov. 29 for all 16 trains to be ready for service.

But city staff are eyeing mid-December for full service, as Ottawa’s own transit officials and its independent rail safety adviser, TRA, will need to run the system through its paces before signing off on the repairs.

The line has been fully shut down in the wake of the Sept. 19 derailment, which damaged both a train and some of the infrastructure around Tremblay Station.

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Kanellakos said RTG is making progress in its repairs and train inspection regimen and is tracking well for partial service to return to the line in early November.

Service will increase incrementally after that point until the full service levels are reached.

Some trains will be run on the Confederation Line to validate the repairs later this week, he said.

If the LRT system is not at full capacity by the start of December, it will likely affect plans for a fare-free month across Ottawa’s transit system that is currently set for the end of the year.

A motion passed at city council earlier this month for a month of no-charge rides in December — intended as a “gesture” to transit users affected by the shutdown and replacement service — was contingent on the train being back up and running before the month started.

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