11 trains expected on Ottawa LRT by end of November

Ottawa's city manager says Rideau Transit Maintenance is on track to have 11 trains operating on the Confederation Line in time for free transit month in December.

Service resumed on the Confederation Line with seven trains on Nov. 12, 54 days after a derailment shutdown the system on Sept. 19. A ninth train was added to the Confederation Line on Monday morning.

City manager Steve Kanellakos says a "new maintenance regime" put in place by TRA, Alstom and RTM is "paying dividends."

"We've had very few incidents, and we're running at about 99 per cent reliability with respect to the trips served the passengers can use throughout that period," said Kanellakos, noting trains have been running every day since the relaunch of the system.

"I've said before, and TRA said it loud and clear, you have to expect that there's going to be the occasional issue with the train where it stops or it has to be reset or there's a door jam – these things happen in every train system in the world."

Kanellakos acknowledges there have been three issues on the Confederation Line since service resumed nearly two weeks ago, but the system has not been disrupted.

"We've not stopped the system, we've not had to implement the R1 service to support the system," said the city manager.

OC Transpo reported slightly longer travel times late Tuesday evening between Tremblay and Rideau stations due to a stopped train.

Kanellakos says a "voltage breaker went" and needed to be reset by a technician, "not unlike an electric panel in your home."

On Nov. 18, a brake issue stopped a train in the LRT tunnel between Rideau and uOttawa stations.  On Nov. 16, a train stopped after the operator heard a noise.

Mayor Jim Watson insists service is improving along the two-year-old system.

"There are literally hundreds of trips every single day and all three cases, I believe, the train system continued to operate and run – whether there was a diversion around one train or whatever, but the system continued to run," said Watson. "We've had a much better track record in terms of maintenance and preventative issues in the last three weeks than we did, obviously, prior to the shutdown. We're making progress, it's slow and steady."

Kanellakos says 11 trains will be running by the end of the month, which will meet the ridership demand during the pandemic.

"I realize that people are focusing on when a train is stopped or where there is an issue, that's not unusual," said Kanellakos. "They've been quick fixes and the good news is we have enough spares available to put trains back in service immediately and keep the lines running with minimal disruptions to passenger times."