Rideau Station Rescue: What to do if it happens again

Passengers wait on the Rideau Station platform for an OTrain along the Confederation Line of Ottawa's LRT system. (CTV Ottawa)

OTTAWA — There has been praise for the bystander and the OC Transpo employee who helped get a woman to safety Wednesday after she fell onto the LRT tracks at Rideau Station; relief, too, that the incident ended without tragedy.

But there was also confusion regarding the danger.

While the oncoming train is the most significant threat to anyone who happens to step on to the rail line, there are signs posted all along the system warning of the risk of electrocution.

In an emailed statement, OC Transpo Director of Transit Operations, Troy Charter, clarifies that the tracks themselves are not electrified.

“Unlike other subway systems that run on electrified rail, O-Train Line 1 is powered by electricity which is delivered through the overhead catenary system above the train,” Charter said. “The rails are not electrified.”

So, what do you do if it happens again?

Charter said the safest option is to use the station’s emergency telephone, which links directly to the control room.

“For everyone’s safety, we ask that if you see an incident occur, to either speak to a staff in the station or use the emergency telephone (e-tel) to call for help, which is located on every platform,” Charter explained. “The e-tel is a direct line to our Transit Operations Control Centre, who can immediately stop the train remotely or communicate with the operator to stop the train, if required.”

Charter stressed the need for customers to remain behind the yellow line on the train platforms.

“It is unsafe for customers to access the track for any reason,” Charter said, “even if they drop something, as they could be seriously injured by an oncoming train.”

In the meantime, the O-Train Ambassador in the red vest, who helped the bystander get the woman in Wednesday’s incident to safety, is being commended for her bravery. OC Transpo Director of Transit Customer Systems and Planning, Pat Scrimgeour, says she was contacted by General Manager John Manconi after the incident.

“Immediately following the incident, we checked in with the O-Train Ambassador to ensure she was okay and did not suffer any injuries,” Scimgeour said. “Later on in the evening, the General Manager called her to thank her for a job well done and for following her instincts to assist a customer in need.”