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Ottawa LRT to resume partial service on Friday, pending final approvals

Ottawa's LRT line is expected to resume partial service on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021 after a 54-day shutdown. Nick Westoll / Global News

Ottawa’s light-rail transit system is set to resume with partial service on Friday, some 54 days after a train derailed and brought the Confederation Line to a halt, according to a memo sent from the city manager on Tuesday afternoon.

Steve Kanellakos said in a memo that testing has been progressing well on the line since it began on Thursday, and that pending the mock service’s “successful completion” on Wednesday, the LRT will be able to operate with passengers by the end of the week.

Transportation Resource Associates (TRA), Ottawa’s hired rail safety adviser, will also need to give its final sign-off on Rideau Transit Group’s (RTG) work to-date getting the trains ready for the relaunch.

Read more: Collision between Ottawa LRT trains in storage yard won’t delay relaunch, memo says

Kanellakos wrote that he’ll confirm the return-to-service date in a follow-up note on Wednesday.

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Service will start with seven trains and one spare available and will expand incrementally as more trains are cleared to return to the line.

R1 replacement bus service will continue to run in parallel with the LRT, but staff will determine as the month goes on whether the extra buses are still necessary based on ridership levels.

Kanellakos also said he believes full LRT service is possible by the end of the month, in line with RTG’s previous estimates but contrasting his own earlier prediction that it would take until mid-December for all 15 trains to be on the Confederation Line.

While Kanellakos wrote that “system testing is progressing well,” there have been a few hiccups on and off the Confederation Line over the past week.

Read more: Ottawa LRT trains pulled from testing as confidence in Rideau Transit Group questioned

Before testing began on the Confederation Line last week, staff confirmed a “minor incident” during routine maintenance at the Belfast Yards storage facility.

Staff then said “vibration” issues were detected during the first day of testing on the Confederation Line, leading to a total of five trains being taken out of mock service.

Then again on Monday morning, a collision between two trains at Belfast Yards damaged both vehicles, though staff said at the time that the incident was not significant enough to affect the return-to-service plan.

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The LRT derailment on Sept. 19 was caused by bolts left loose during repairs to one of the light-rail vehicles, according to a letter released last week from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

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