Officials apologize after longest LRT disruption yet

A broken overhead wire at St. Laurent Station on Wednesday forced passengers to exit a stalled train. (Viewer photo)

City officials are apologizing after Thursday’s LRT disruption due to a broken overhead wire at St. Laurent Station.

The incident caused delays for thousands of passengers heading east Thursday night. Crews worked non-stop overnight to fix the problem in time for the morning commute.

““I want to sincerely apologize,” Mayor Jim Watson said Friday morning. “This is not the level of service our customers are expecting, and it’s certainly not the level of service we want to be offering.”

Service along the Confederation Line was shut down between Hurdman and Blair Stations on Thursday morning after a wire power line broke and fell onto a train at St. Laurent Station just before 11 a.m.

OC Transpo implemented R1 Bus Service between Hurdman and Blair Stations.

The disruption is the longest on the LRT since the Confederation Line opened in September.

Rideau Transit Group staff worked through the night to fix the issue, as OC Transpo staff prepared several different plans if the disruption were to extend into Friday morning.

Transit Operations Director Troy Charter said the work included removing the damage overhead wire and related components, installing replacement wire, testing the power feed and running trains through the area.

Charter told reporters that while the root cause is still being investigated, it appeared that the overhead wire that supplies power to the train broke and fell onto the train as it entered the station.

On Friday, Charter explained that at St. Laurent station, the wire that provides power to the train changes from hanging overheard to being fixed to the ceiling.

Peter Lauch, the head of Rideau Transit Group and Rideau Transit Maintenance, apologized for the disruption and said they were still working to find out exactly how the wire broke.

Lauch also said customer safety was never compromised.

"The system actually did what it's supposed to do," Lauch said. 

"As soon as the event happened, power was de-energized and there was no live power anywhere. The doors opened under battery power."

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