Computer crash caused Confederation LRT chaos

An east-bound OTrain pulls in to Rideau Station on the Confederation Line of the Light Rail Transit system in Ottawa, ON.

OTTAWA — It was a computer malfunction-not a jammed door- which caused a third day of LRT chaos on the Confederation Line LRT.

The  City of Ottawa's transit boss John Manconi says a train was taken out of services and stuck on the tracks at Bayview Station when the 'Train Control Management System' indicated a problem.

In a memo to City Council released Thursday afternoon, Manconi indicated the computer reset took longer than expected.

"The TCMS experienced a fault at Bayview Station and had to be reset. Similar to a personal computer, this reset process involved rebooting the system and engaging technical support staff. Normally, this is a relatively quick reset and we are investigating why there was a delay in the process", stated Manconi in the memo..

Mayor Jim Watson said the problem today was not door-related.

Mayor Watson says today’s technical issue was NOT a malfunctioning door - he won’t say what the problem was - ⁦@OC_Transpo⁩ GM John Manconi will have a response “later today” ⁦@ctvottawapic.twitter.com/gZIKZsy3kY

— Mike Arsalides (@MArsalidesCTV) October 10, 2019

Manconi also says work continues to improve passenger flows at Tunney's and Bair stations.

Here's some of the action items from his memo:

  • At both stations:
    • Staging additional buses for the morning and afternoon peak periods to ensure service reliability from stations is maintained;
    • Staging tow trucks to ensure a quick removal of any buses, which keeps traffic moving within the station; and,
    • Additional operations supervisors, special constables, and customer support staff in red vests have been assigned to the stations to keep buses flowing well, to keep customers safe, and to answer questions from customers.
    • We are working on a plan to install strap hangers in trains.



R1 bus service was implemented for eastbound commuters between Tunney’s Pasture and Rideau Stations and was ended just before 9:00 a.m., with an apology from the transit service.

— Graham Richardson (@grahamctv) October 10, 2019

This passenger gets on the packed train. but then the doors wouldn’t close. Technician in yellow vest arrives with tools.

— Graham Richardson (@grahamctv) October 10, 2019

technician can’t get the door to close even with tools. Packed train out of service. Problems start again.

— Graham Richardson (@grahamctv) October 10, 2019


Delays on Tuesday and Wednesday were caused by door jams.

Manconi says the city along with train maker Alston is reviewing all door issues.

The doors have so far operated automatically, but they do have buttons for times when manual use is necessary. According to OCTranspo.com, when there are too few passengers or when the weather is cold, the button will need to be used to open the doors:

To open the doors manually:

An audio message will let you know the train has arrived. The button on the door will turn green. Simply press it to open.

Avoid holding the train doors open. Holding or blocking the doors will delay the train for everyone. Just wait for the next one. It will arrive every five minutes or less during peak periods.

When boarding, make sure your items (such as backpacks) are fully inside the train to allow the train doors to close. If your item is preventing the doors from shutting, the train will not be able to depart.

When the doors are closing:

Red light indicating door is about to close. The light above the door will turn red. The button on the door will turn red. A sound will chime.

The delays had frustrated riders taking to social media once again to post photos of large crowds at station platforms and wonder how the system will operate once the weather turns cold.

There is a fundamental flaw in the system, the platforms are simply not wide enough. Many of the platforms and staircases are open to the elements. I hope it doesn't get cold in Ottawa or it may be a lil slippery and dangerous.

Hurdman at 8:15 - Max capacity#OttawaLRT #ottnews pic.twitter.com/3kO5477ziM

— Daniel Burnside (@Burnsidesviews) October 10, 2019


The main selling point of the Confederation Line was the downtown tunnel, meant to get buses out of the core, but the replacement bus service has seen those buses return.

grabbed the R1 to try and get to work faster. They are insisting driving past the Lyon station, so it's been 10mins at the same spot. I got off and will walk 30mins... sigh stop forcing the LRT on us! pic.twitter.com/3qVkHGO777

— .:.Team_T&J.:. (@tanjashepta) October 10, 2019

Transit Commission Chair Coun. Allan Hubley says technicians are working along the line to ensure faulty systems can be reset. He says door holding times have been extended at some stations and new protocols are in place to try and get trains back in service as soon as possible when there’s a door fault.

OC Transpo tweeted an apology just before 9:00 a.m., when replacement bus service ended.

Final Update 8h55: All Line 1 service has returned to normal. R1 bus service has now ended. We are very sorry for your delay this morning. https://t.co/qqRDTlsO1L

— OC Transpo Live (@OCTranspoLive) October 10, 2019

More problems today - this latest delay around 730am originating at Bayview Station with a door button apparently pushed causing problems that couldn’t immediately be fixed - buses have been called in to take those affected to Rideau ⁦@ctvottawapic.twitter.com/AU0eD6Eznq

— Mike Arsalides (@MArsalidesCTV) October 10, 2019
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