Transit Commission and Light Rail Sub-Committee receives updates on O-Train extensions and Line 1 service improvement plans

A graphic with Ottawa City Hall is in the background. A vertical grey stripe and a horizontal turquoise stripe are in the foreground with Committee update in the centre.

At a joint meeting today, the Transit Commission and Light Rail Sub-Committee received an update on the O-Train extensions(link is external) and details on plans to improve service reliability of the O-Train Line 1 vehicles.

The Committees heard that the Stage 2 LRT project has achieved several milestones this year including the start of testing on the O-Train East extension, advancement of track installation on the West extension, and ongoing training of new diesel rail operators and controllers for the O-Train South lines 2 and 4.

In the east, construction continues to progress at all five stations. As part of the O-Train East extension, roadwork on Highway 174 will continue through the summer requiring intermittent closures. Testing will expand over the course of the year, and residents will see more trains running. Testing has also begun of the Overhead Catenary System that supplies power to the trains, and of the power and train control equipment near Montreal Station.

Track installation and station construction continues to progress on the O-Train West extension. The cut and cover tunnels are advancing with most structure work complete, and preparations for installing track in the tunnels at Connaught Park and Byron Linear Park are underway.

On the O-Train South extension, the focus remains on testing the system and training OC Transpo operations staff. Over the next several months, testing hours will expand to practice operating O-Train lines 2 and 4 at the final service levels for a period of eight to 10 weeks to ensure reliability of the overall system. Trial running of the system will occur in this period as well.

Trial running is intended to demonstrate that the complete integrated system infrastructure, including all subsystems, operating personnel and procedures, is ready to provide the service the public expects. Transit Services will provide Council with daily updates on the progress of trial running, including information on the results.

Staff reported that OC Transpo system ridership reached 5.9 million customer-trips in April 2024. In April, O-Train Line 1 service delivery was 98.9 per cent. Conventional bus service delivery in April was 98.8 per cent, which matches the highest number reported over the past year. Para Transpo ridership in April reached 71,700 total customer-trips.

The Committees also received an update on the vehicle and track infrastructure work underway since last October to improve Line 1 service reliability and sustainability. This work includes restraining rail gap management, rail flange lubrication, top of rail friction modifiers, and implementation of nut-pinning enhancements to the wheel hub assembly.

Staff and representatives from Rideau Transit Group provided an overview of expert reports on additional corrective actions to Line 1 trains and infrastructure. Short-term closures of Line 1 will be required in October to make some of these corrective actions such as rail grinding and ballast stabilization. Customers will receive more details on transit services before the work occurs. These measures contribute to the long-term sustainability and improved service reliability on O-Train Line 1.

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