​RFC Statement on the release of the Final Report of the OLRT Public Inquiry

Earlier today, the Honourable Justice William Hourigan released the Final Report by the OLRT Transit Commission. We are thankful for the thorough work done by the Commission.

From their final report, many issues in all aspects of the project have come to light. While it is disappointing and unacceptable given that many could have been avoided, we do hope that this report serves as a valuable and pertinent learning experience for all levels of government on how to run and execute an infrastructure project of this scale and importance.

While many deficiencies and work remain to be done on the system, the improvements in reliability and resiliency of the system have been noticeable since its opening in September 2019. Having said that, it took 3 years to get to this point and more time is still needed to rectify the remaining deficiencies. We hope that the recommendations are implemented, and the required work is prioritized to allow for the system to be a safe, reliable, and dependable method of transport for all of Ottawa.

We at Rail Fans Canada continue to have confidence in the system, however, we do hope to see permanent and proactive solutions to solve the outstanding issues in a timely manner.

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Final report of OLRT Public Inquiry

The Ottawa LRT Public Inquiry has found there were persistent failures in leadership, partnership and communications in the construction and maintenance of the Ottawa LRT.

Commissioner the Honourable Justice William Hourigan released the Inquiry's final report today in Ottawa. "Our mandate," he said, "was to find out for the residents of Ottawa what happened and why, and how to avoid similar problems in the future."

In releasing the report, Commissioner Hourigan said both the City of Ottawa and the private consortium, Rideau Transit Group (RTG), lost sight of the public interest during the project. "It was unconscionable that RTG and its main sub-contractor knowingly gave the City inaccurate information about when they would finish building the LRT." He also found that City Council was not told that the testing criteria for the LRT was lowered to allow it to pass its final testing phase. "This conduct irreparably compromised the legal oversight ability of Council and raises serious concerns about whether the City of Ottawa can properly complete significant infrastructure projects."

The Commissioner found there were many reasons Ottawa residents did not get the reliable transit system they deserved, including that:

  • The City chose unproven technology for the trains that strained the limits of what an LRT system could do.
  • RTG did not coordinate the work of its sub-contractors and failed to ensure the integration of the various systems and components.
  • An adversarial relationship developed between the City and RTG.
  • The City rushed the LRT system into service before it was ready.
  • RTG and its subcontractors did not provide adequate maintenance.

The Public Inquiry made 103 recommendations to fix the problems with the Ottawa LRT and ensure they don't reoccur on other major infrastructure projects. Commissioner Hourigan recommended that an independent monitor keep Ottawa City Council or the Transit Commission informed about on-going corrective measures. And he said governments and public procurement agencies should examine whether to use a public-private partnership (P3) or another model when building complex infrastructure projects.

Other recommendations include:

  • Collaboration and the public interest should be at the heart of the relationship between the public entity and private-sector partners.
  • Systems integration must be prioritized from the design phase through to construction and manufacturing.
  • Safety requirements should be designed and built in from the outset, to avoid expensive, retroactive changes. An independent safety auditor should be engaged early in the construction of complex infrastructure projects.
  • Reliability and safety issues must be honestly identified and communicated to project partners and the public. The province should give legal protection to whistleblowers who bring forward concerns about major infrastructure projects.
  • Trial testing requirements should be detailed in the relevant contracts and used as the basis for any performance scoring.
  • There should be timely and proper responses to problems related to maintenance and operations by all parties once they arise. The safety and needs of the public should be prioritized.
  • Prior to public opening, there should be an extensive running of the entire system under conditions designed to mirror those of public service.

"More than three years after opening," said Commissioner Hourigan, "some of the LRT's problems still have not been fixed. While relations between the City and RTG have improved, both need to do more work to ensure the public interest is at the core of everything they do." 

Source :Ottawa Light Rail Transit Commission



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Contributing to a more sustainable future with artificial intelligence: VIA Rail extends pilot project to reduce fuel consumption

 As part of its five-year sustainability plan, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) is extending a pilot project which tests the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in order to reduce the Corporation's fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions produced from its rail operations.

In collaboration with Transport Canada and Innovative Solutions Canada Testing Stream, VIA Rail originally started working in 2021 with a start-up company, RailVision Analytics, to test EcoRail, an AI-enabled software that provides driving recommendations to locomotive engineers to reduce fuel consumption.

The initial six-month testing was completed with locomotive engineers in VIA Rail's simulators and confirmed a potential reduction of up to 15% in fuel consumption and resulting greenhouse gas emissions.

These positive preliminary results prompted the Corporation to extend the project to test the application in real train operations.

"This AI pilot project perfectly exemplifies our determination to find new and different ways to reimagine the way Canadians travel from reservation to destination," said Michael Brankley, Vice-President, Railway Operations. "I would like to thank Transport Canada for their support and collaboration and RailVision Analytics for accompanying us on our journey to contributing to a more sustainable future."

EcoRail monitors the driving behaviour between station stops to determine improvements that will allow for a reduction in fuel consumption. The software analyzes several factors such as equipment used, season and schedule, in order to recommend the most fuel-effective train handling behaviour without impacting travel time.

VIA Rail unveiled earlier this year its five-year sustainability plan, and this pilot project is a key endeavour that will contribute to one of the Corporation's goals of reducing its environmental footprint. For more information on the full plan, we invite you to consult our website.

Source : VIA Rail Canada

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Government of Canada launches a new initiative to address climate change impacts on rail lines

A resilient rail transportation system is critical to strong supply chains and keeping those who live along rail lines safe. Recent events like the 2021 wildfires and floods have shown the impacts climate change and extreme weather events can have on communities and our transportation networks. We must continue to adapt and prepare for these impacts. This is why the Government of Canada is taking important steps towards addressing climate change on railway infrastructure.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced the launch of the first call for proposals for the Climate Change and Adaptation to Extreme Weather Infrastructure initiative under Transport Canada's Rail Safety Improvement Program.

The Climate Change and Adaptation to Extreme Weather Infrastructure initiative will provide up to $10.5 million in funding this year. This initiative specifically targets rail infrastructure projects meant to increase resilience to extreme weather events and advance measures to address climate change measures. It will also support rehabilitation projects that repair damage from significant weather events.

Transport Canada will be accepting applications for the Climate Change and Adaptation to Extreme Weather Infrastructure initiative through an open, competitive call for proposals from now until January 6, 2023.

Further, earlier today, Environment and Climate Change Canada launched Canada's National Adaptation Strategy: Building Resilient Communities and a Strong Economy for engagement. This strategy includes $1.6 billion in new federal funding commitments to help protect communities from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

Quotes

"We must take immediate action to protect our planet from climate change. Our Government will continue to invest in measures which address the impacts of climate change. This is why we are providing funding under the Climate Change and Adaptation to Extreme Weather Infrastructure initiative: to address severe weather impacts on railway operations."

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

Quick Facts
  • Canada's railway system has approximately 23,000 railway crossings, and over 40,000 kilometres of track.
  • Transport Canada's Rail Safety Improvement Program plays an important role in addressing safety needs due to ongoing and emerging safety concerns across Canada. Funded projects have contributed to an overall reduction of risk and increased safety for Canadians.
  • The Rail Safety Improvement Program has an annual budget of $21.3 million in support of rail safety infrastructure, technology and research, and education and awareness projects across Canada.
  • Since the program's inception, 774 projects have been funded across Canada which contribute to increasing safety at grade crossings and along rail lines, and to increase public confidence in Canada's rail transportation system.
  • On July 5, 2022, the Minister of Transport also announced the Rail Climate Change Adaptation Program, which will provide up to $2.2 million in contribution funding to Canadian railways to cost-share research. Its objective is to support research, development, and implementation of innovative technologies, tools, and approaches to better understand and address the increasing risks and impacts of climate change on Canada's rail sector.
  • The Supply Chain Task Force recognized climate change as a driver of instability in transportation supply chains. For example:
    • Wildfires in July 2021 reduced railway operations by 30%, representing around $163 million per day in terms of blocked shipment value.
    • Flooding in November 2021 hindered the movement of goods estimated to be more than $170 million per day due to lost train capacity and increased congestion at the Port of Vancouver.
Associated Links
Source : Transport Canada
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The Ottawa Light Rail Transit Public Inquiry will release its final report on November 30, 2022

The Ottawa Light Rail Transit Public Inquiry will release its final report on November 30, 2022. "We made a commitment to the people of Ottawa," says Inquiry Commissioner, the Honourable Justice William Hourigan. "We said we would find out why problems occurred in the construction and maintenance of the LRT, and how to avoid these in the future. I believe we have done that."

The Inquiry will release the report simultaneously on the Inquiry's website, ottawalrtpublicinquiry.ca, and at a news conference in Ottawa. The news conference will be livestreamed on the Inquiry's website.

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VIA Rail awards contacts to modernize two of its maintenance centres to Buttcon Limited and Pomerleau Inc.

VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) is pleased to announce the awarding of two contracts to two Canadian companies for the modernization of its maintenance centres in Toronto and Montréal. An important pillar of the Corridor Fleet Replacement Program, these upgrades will allow these centres to become the home base for the maintenance of VIA Rail's 32 new trains, while continuing to maintain and service our existing fleet.

VIA Rail awarded the contract for construction at the Toronto Maintenance Centre to Buttcon Limited, based in Concord, Ontario. Pomerleau Inc., based in Montréal, Quebec, has been awarded the contract for work at the Montréal Maintenance Centre. Funding for these projects was provided in the 2018 federal budget, and construction will begin in the spring of 2023.

"We are proud to work with two exceptional Canadian partners on these two projects," says Martin R Landry, VIA Rail's President and CEO. "The modernization of our maintenance centres is an important step in the fleet replacement program and in VIA Rail's overall modernization process. These centres will allow us to maintain the new Corridor fleet that embodies the vision we have for the VIA Rail of tomorrow."

These two Canadian companies were selected through a fair, open, rigorous, and transparent bidding process under the supervision of an independent fairness monitor. The evaluation of the proponents was based on various criteria including previous experience delivering similar infrastructure, and the ability to safely complete the work on time.

"VIA Rail takes an active part in shaping the future of mobility. At Pomerleau, we share this vision of sparing no effort to create a better future for our communities. That's why we strive to shape our industry by constantly improving our processes and construction methods. For tomorrow. It is with this commitment in mind that we gladly put our expertise at VIA Rail's disposal on the Montreal Maintenance Centre project which will be, once completed, a state-of-the-art facility," said Martin Jacques, executive vice-president at Pomerleau.

"In partnership with VIA Rail, and its team, we are thrilled to have been awarded this incredible modernization project," said Peter Di Gaetano, President and CEO, Buttcon Limited. "We bring to the table a qualified team of design and construction professionals offering a wealth of knowledge and experience. The Toronto Maintenance Centre Modernization Project aligns with our vast construction experience and philosophy with a hands-on project delivery approach and dedicated collaborative partnerships. Our partnership with VIA Rail is an example of how every team member contributes to the success of the project through innovation, collaboration, communication, experience and the sharing of expert professional skill sets. We look forward to transcending construction delivery, beyond industry standards, for the successful execution of the Toronto Maintenance Modernization Project."

The first train in the new fleet welcomed its first passengers onboard in November 2022 with a full commercial launch planned for 2023. They offer an unparalleled travel experience, comfortable seating, more seats for the mobility impaired and state-of-the-art technology to passengers travelling along the Québec City-Windsor corridor, Canada's busiest corridor.

For more information we invite you to consult our website:

Toronto Maintenance Center

Montreal Maintenance Center

About VIA Rail
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail (viarail.ca) and all its employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, and about 180 more communities through intermodal partnerships, and safely transported over 5 million passengers in 2019. The Corporation has been awarded five Safety Awards and three Environment Awards by the Railway Association of Canada since 2007. Visit the "About VIA Rail" section at https://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail.

About Pomerleau Inc.
Pomerleau is one of Canada's leading construction companies and a leader in sustainable buildings. The company specializes in the construction of buildings and infrastructure and in civil engineering and also excels in virtual design and construction (VDC). Founded 60 years ago, the company employs 4,000 people at its nine regional offices and on nearly 200 worksites across the country. Pomerleau is the parent company of Borea Construction, the Canadian leader in renewable energy construction and owns Pomerleau Capital its private infrastructure investment and financing subsidiary. Since 2020, Pomerleau is part of Canada's Top 100 Employers. For details about Pomerleau, visit www.pomerleau.ca.

About Buttcon Limited

Buttcon Limited has completed work across Canada. The company is a Canadian, employee-owned construction company that has 43 years of construction experience. It has a rooted presence in the expanding infrastructure construction markets and through its project delivery execution, offers clients best-in-class construction solutions through experienced design and trade partners. It is supported by a team of progressive, experienced individuals that are focused on providing the best building solutions for their clients. Buttcon is a simple solution for transforming clients' visions into award-winning projects across Canada. 

Source : VIA Rail Canada

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O-Train Stage 2 LRT - Quarterly Update - November 1, 2022

Committee hears about milestones for Stage 2 LRT

The Finance and Economic Development Committee received a detailed update today on Stage 2 LRT construction.

The project has progressed significantly in 2022: rail installation is underway along the O-Train East extension, as well as covering works for the cut-and-cover tunnel on the O-Train West extension. Testing and commissioning of seven new Stadler FLIRT vehicles is underway; they will run on the O-Train South extension. By the end of the year, seven of the 11 new pedestrian bridges will be installed to help enhance resident's active transportation connectivity.

Today's update included forecasted schedules for each alignment. Anticipated completion dates are:

  • September 2023 for the O-Train South extension
  • End of 2024 for the O-Train East extension
  • Late 2026 for the O-Train West extension
Source : City of Ottawa

During the FEDCO meeting in Ottawa, further delays were announced regarding Stage2LRT throughout Ottawa. 

  • South: Fall 2023 (A year late) 
  • East: Early 2025 (36 days) 
  • West: Late 2026 (17 months) 

It goes without saying that we are saddened by this news. We do hope that some of the schedule pressures can be addressed and allow for the extensions to open when they are ready. We will continue to track progress throughout the city and share our excitement about passenger rail becoming an even bigger part of Ottawa.

Please visit https://otrain.railfans.ca/snapshot to see for yourself the progress throughout the city.


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Government of Canada advances the procurement process for High Frequency Rail

High Frequency Rail will transform passenger rail service in Canada through the creation of a faster, more frequent, accessible, and sustainable rail service among the major centres of Québec City, Trois-Rivières, Montréal, Ottawa, Peterborough, and Toronto.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced the next steps in the procurement process for High Frequency Rail (HFR) through an update to the Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI). This update reflects input and provides answers to key questions received through the RFEOI process. It provides industry and Canadians with new information about the HFR and its procurement.

Feedback from the RFEOI includes:

  • Responses from a total of 54 interested parties, confirming a high level of domestic and international interest in the project.
  • Responses confirming support for the overall approach; seeking clarifications on some elements of the project, including roles and responsibilities of the Government and private partner; and suggesting ways to enhance the design of the procurement process.
  • Recommendations for strategic changes to the procurement timelines, such as shortening the Request for Proposal period.

The next step in the procurement process, the Request for Qualifications (RFQ), is anticipated to begin in early 2023.

Launched in March 2022, the RFEOI marked the first step in the procurement phase and delivering benefits for Canadians. The RFEOI was undertaken to share the Government's vision for the project and to obtain the market's feedback on the HFR Project.

The Government of Canada is committed to an ongoing dialogue and building nation-to-nation relationships with Indigenous Peoples. Input and feedback from Indigenous Peoples throughout the life of the project will be essential to developing an effective project.

VIA Rail and its employees are central to the success of High Frequency Rail and will continue to play a key role across Canada as our national passenger rail provider. A subsidiary of VIA Rail is being established to act as a dedicated Project Development Office. It will be responsible for leading several key project activities, and will work collaboratively with the private partner to co-develop and optimize the HFR project. Canada will work with VIA Rail and the private partner to ensure that workforce changes required for the advancement of the HFR project would be done in consultation with unions to protect the interests of VIA rail employees.

Please visit the HFR website for a full list of changes and clarifications to the procurement process, or to get involved in the project by providing feedback, asking questions, and signing up for project updates.

Quotes
"High Frequency Rail is a transformational project that promises to fundamentally change the way Canadians travel in southern Ontario and Quebec, improving accessibility, and providing more travel flexibility. We're pleased with the market's interest in this project and in the Government obtaining over 50 responses from interested parties. Feedback from these parties was critical in making this project even better and will be used to move the next phase of the project forward – the request for qualifications."
The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport
Quick facts
  • HFR is expected to transform intercity passenger rail in the Corridor through a variety of project outcomes, including, but not limited to:
    • Shortening travel times, with reductions of up to 90 minutes on some routes;
    • Increasing trip frequencies between major cities;
    • Offering more reliable and improved on-time performance;
    • Adding new services to Peterborough and Trois-Rivières; and,
    • Providing a greener rail system and cleaner travel option using electrified technology.
  • As with any large-scale infrastructure project, the Government of Canada is using a phased approach to leverage input collected throughout the procurement process and to inform the next steps and decisions regarding the implementation of the High Frequency Rail Project.
  • Budget 2022 provided Transport Canada and Infrastructure Canada with $396.8 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to continue advancing key project activities and undertake the procurement phase of the project.
  • The next steps in the High Frequency Rail project and expected dates include:
    • Government of Canada issues Request for Qualifications: early 2023
    • Request for Qualifications period ends: early spring 2023
    • Government of Canada evaluation of Request for Qualifications and identification of Qualified Respondents: Early spring 2023
    • Government of Canada issues Request for Proposals: Late spring 2023
    • Request for Proposals period ends: early spring 2024
  • High Frequency Rail will transform passenger rail services for Canadians in the Toronto to Québec City corridor. In parallel, VIA Rail continues the important work of rebuilding the passenger rail business in Canada following the pandemic.
  • The Government of Canada is committed to engaging the public, including communities currently served by VIA Rail between Toronto and Québec City, and consulting Indigenous Peoples to inform the Project's design and development. Anyone interested in sharing their views on the project, asking questions, or signing up for project updates is encouraged to visit the HFR website.
  • The Government of Canada is committed to forming meaningful nation-to-nation relationships with Indigenous Peoples through an ongoing dialogue to better understand their priorities and concerns , and how best to engage with them throughout the different phases of the project.
Associated links
Source : Transport Canada
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TTC hits major milestone with 33 billion rides

The TTC has reached 33 billion rides on the system since beginning operations in 1921.

"Congratulations to the TTC on its 33 billion rides milestone and thank you to all the dedicated people who work to keep our transit system running every day," said Mayor John Tory. "We worked hard throughout the pandemic to keep the TTC on track and protect transit for everyone. That work is continuing as we see ridership continuing to ramp up and we are doing everything we can to welcome more riders back to the system."

"I'd like to congratulate the TTC on surpassing over 33 billion riders," said TTC Chair Jaye Robinson. "Though we saw a drop in ridership as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the TTC continued to move thousands of customers around the city. I want to thank the many TTC employees who keep Toronto moving every day, as this achievement would not have been possible without them."

"Thirty-three billion riders is a major milestone, and one that we don't take for granted," said TTC CEO Rick Leary. "This achievement would not have been possible without our nearly 16,000 committed employees who dedicate themselves to getting our customers to and from their destinations safely. As we look towards our next century of service at the TTC, we're working to build a sustainable transit system that our customers can continue to rely on and be proud of."

The TTC surpassed 32 billion riders on May 12, 2019. As ridership continues to recover after the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the TTC is putting a number of measures in place to support the increased demand for service. In September, service was increased system-wide to meet back-to-school demand, including adding more trains on Lines 1 and 2.

2022 has been an exciting year for the TTC as it recently completed the installation of its Automatic Train Control (ATC) signaling system on Line 1, meaning more frequent and reliable service for customers, and fewer signal-related delays.

The TTC surpassed 31 billion riders in June 2017, and 30 billion in August 2015.

Source : TTC 

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Réseau express métropolitain: updating the timeline of the project to ensure successful implementation for future South Shore users

 Réseau express métropolitain: updating the timeline of the project to ensure successful implementation for future South Shore users

  • Infrastructure and electrification work completed
  • Ongoing testing between Brossard and Central Station
  • Decision to extend the final testing period to ensure system reliability

Today, CDPQ Infra provided an update on the status of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) project and the many critical milestones that have been reached in recent months, particularly on the South Shore, where the opening schedule has been updated.

This year was marked by several important achievements, including the completion of infrastructure work, the complete electrification of the South Shore branch and, since July, the test run of the circulation of the REM cars between Brossard and Central Station.

"We fully understand the users who are eager to see the REM's service launch. Our teams have worked hard in the last few months in a challenging environment to deliver a reliable network. Taking a few more months to deliver an experience that lives up to expectations was the responsible decision to make."

Jean-Marc Arbaud, President and Chief Executive Officer of CDPQ Infra

For the past 30 months, the construction of the future network has been taking place in an exceptional context. As in all sectors, supply chains, the price of goods, and the availability of manpower are major challenges. Thus, the final tests that must be performed would have led to a commissioning in the middle of winter 2023.

However, this period is not optimal for the implementation of a new transportation network, nor for the required redeployment of our partners' bus networks. CDPQ Infra has therefore decided to update the timetable for the opening of the five South Shore stations to the spring of 2023.

"We are now in the final stage of completing the final testing required to meet our commitment to deliver a reliable, high-quality network into service.

Work on the REM began in 2018; today, the observation is that in five years, the project has taken shape at an exceptional speed, despite a global pandemic that spanned half of that period. This is a major accomplishment and a source of great pride. Adding an extra period of testing to reinforce the full reliability of the system will ensure a successful rollout for future users."

Jean-Marc Arbaud, President and Chief Executive Officer of CDPQ Infra

About the REM Project

The REM, with its 67 km and 26 stations, will be one of the largest automated light metro systems in the world. In preparation for the system's commissioning, many steps have been taken. Since winter 2020, an exhaustive and rigorous testing program is underway to validate the functionality and reliability of the systems. For example, for the South Shore alone, this represents more than 1,000 tracking beacons, 425 surveillance cameras, and nearly 11,000 different signals to be analyzed and processed continuously. Each REM car must also travel more than 500 km before being put into service.

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O-Train Temporary Speed Restrictions (Oct 2022 Update)

QUESTION: For the past several months, there are several segments of O-Train Line 1 that are operating under lower speed restrictions. With the work that was done over the summer (which involved some early closures), the previous normal speeds have not returned in all areas. Is there a timeline or ETA as to when the train will resume normal speeds on all parts of the alignment? (Notable areas include east of Rideau Station into the curve and beyond, Lees to Hurdman, among a few others).

ANSWER: As previously communicated to Mayor and Council on July 23, one light rail vehicle was removed from service for further inspections following an abnormal vibration report. The removal of light rail vehicles (LRVs) following unusual sound or vibration reports is required in accordance with OC Transpo's operating procedures, in order to perform further vehicle inspections. The LRV inspection for this vehicle showed a failure occurred in one of the wheel hub assemblies.

A second memo was issued on August 18 to share that out of an abundance of caution, Rideau Transit Group and Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) commenced the replacement of the axle wheel hub in the leading and trailing wheel assembly of LRVs with more than 175,000 kilometres in service. These replacements continue and components are removed from the vehicles to undergo further testing, as required. Further issues have not been discovered during the replacement of the axle wheel hubs and train availability remains capable of meeting daily service requirements.

A root cause analysis of this incident began immediately and continues. To ensure the ongoing safety and operation of O-Train Line 1, a number of precautionary measures have been put in place including temporary speed restrictions along sections of the track. Staff continue to work with RTM, Alstom and Transportation Resource Associates to identify longer term solutions to the axle issue, which may be informed from a final root cause analysis report, track design and vehicle analyses.

Though the trains continue to operate at slower speeds at certain sections of the track, we are seeing improved performance of the rail line, which will provide greater reliability. Until the root cause analysis and/or the investigation process determines that the temporary speed restrictions can be safely removed, the speed restrictions along sections of the track will remain in place.

-Attributed to Troy Charter, Director, Transit Service Delivery and Rail Operations 

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TTC's Line 1 now running on an ATC signaling system

The TTC's modernized Automatic Train Control (ATC) signaling system is now fully operational on Line 1, bringing with it improved service and reduced operating costs.

"Automatic Train Control is up and running on Line 1. This is a big milestone for the TTC and our efforts to modernize our current transit system. This technology will ensure subway trains can travel faster and more reliably which will result in us being able to move more people across the line as quickly and efficiently as we can. I want to thank commuters for their patience while we implemented this new technology and I want to applaud TTC employees for their work on completing this major project," said Mayor John Tory.

"The successful completion of this project is a significant milestone for the TTC and the entire City of Toronto. Transit riders can look forward to faster, more reliable service when travelling on Line 1. On behalf of the TTC Board, I'd like to congratulate the TTC employees and contractors who worked tirelessly to make this transformative project a reality," said TTC Chair Jaye Robinson.

"The completion of ATC installation on Line 1 is a major accomplishment for us, and will have significant benefits for our customers," said TTC CEO Rick Leary. "This system will improve existing service, and ensure that we can accommodate expected additional transit growth. I want to thank our customers, local businesses, and the public, for their patience and understanding as we worked towards this milestone. I also want to express my appreciation to the TTC employees who have worked tirelessly over the past few years to complete this project."

Portions of the TTC's previous signaling system dated back to the 1950s, when the subway first opened. This included a "fixed block" signaling system where trains needed to have large gaps between them as they entered and exited each "block". With ATC, train speed and separation between trains is controlled automatically, through a computerized "moving block" system. Train location can be monitored more accurately, allowing more trains to operate closer together. This means more frequent and reliable service for customers, and fewer signal-related delays.

The completion of ATC on Line 1 also means that trains can use electricity more efficiently, leading to lower operating costs for the TTC. In addition, it will allow for more service flexibility if there is an operational issue on the line, with additional turn-back locations now available.

The project was completed on schedule according to the updated plan approved by the TTC's Board in April 2019.

Due to the scale of the project, the installation and testing process for ATC could only be done during non-revenue service hours, and was completed during weekend and early weeknight closures.

Crews performed special track work in the tunnels, installing thousands of pieces of trackside signaling and radio equipment. This includes two thousand beacons, two hundred and fifty-six signals, and more than one million feet of cable.

This past weekend, crews completed testing and commissioning, and the system went live during the subway closure on Saturday.

Learn more about ATC and the benefits for the TTC here: https://youtu.be/RTc0N0zRTJE

Source : TTC 

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Memo: O-Train Stage 2 LRT Quarterly Update (Q2 2022) / Note de service: Mise à jour trimestrielle (T2 2022) sur l’Étape 2 du TLR de l’O-Train

Please find attached a memo providing an O-Train Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Project Quarterly Update (Q2 2022)

Veuillez trouver ci-joint une note de service concernant une mise à jour trimestrielle (T2 2022) sur l'Étape 2 du projet de train léger sur rail de l'O-Train.

Source : City of Ottawa / Ville d'Ottawa 

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TTC hosts 10th annual Underground Freedom Train Ride

On Sunday, July 31, the TTC is supporting the Blackhurst Cultural Centre (formerly known as A Different Booklist Cultural Centre) to host the tenth annual midnight Underground Freedom Train Ride to commemorate Emancipation Day on Aug. 1.

The Freedom Train Ride is symbolic of the role the Underground Railroad has played in Canadian history. This year, the Emancipation Day Freedom Ride will be an in-person event after two years of virtual events.

"I am pleased to see the annual Freedom Train Ride is back in person this year to mark Emancipation Day. Every year, when we mark this ride we are acknowledging the history of the Underground Railway and the role it played in our city and country. I want to thank everyone for helping put this event together. I encourage residents to take time during Emancipation Month to learn more about the history of slavery and our ongoing work to confront anti-Black racism," said Mayor John Tory.

"The TTC is proud to be a part of the annual underground Freedom Train Ride, which marks an important part of Canadian history," said TTC Chair Jaye Robinson. "Observing Emancipation Day is just one way we are advancing our broader commitment to building a more equitable, inclusive and welcoming transit system for everyone."

"Emancipation Day is an important opportunity to recognize the dangerous journey through the Underground Railroad that formerly enslaved people took to reach Canada," said TTC CEO Rick Leary. "I want to thank all our partners and employees whose efforts have contributed to this special event."

The in-person event begins at Union Station and concludes at Sheppard West Station. In past years, it has attracted more than 1,000 participants. This year, the in-person commemoration will feature music, singing, drumming, moments of reflection and remarks by TTC Chief Diversity and Culture Officer Keisha Campbell.

The Underground Freedom Train Ride is open to the public.

When: Sunday, July 31/Monday, Aug. 1, 2022.
Where: Line 1, Union to Sheppard West stations.
Start time: Remarks begin at 11 p.m.; ceremonial train departs Union Station at approximately 11:45 p.m.; and arrives at Sheppard West Station at approximately 12:10 a.m. 

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O-Train Line 1 - Service Outage - July 25, 2022

Due to a severe thunderstorm in the overnight hours of July 24th to the 25th 2022, O-Train Line 1 has suffered some damage and has resulted in the suspension of service from St-Laurent to Tunney's Pasture Stations.

We visited the area where the damage occurred. This area starts from just past the western curve out of Hurdman and stretches to just around the O-Train overpass over Greenfield Avenue (near Lees and King Edward). The damage is mainly on the eastbound side of the guideway and affects the OCS or Overhead Catenary System (the overhead wire that supplies power to the train).

There are two cables on each side of the guideway. The upper cable is there to help support the lower contact wire which is energized and supplies the power to the train. From approximately just west of Hurdman and all the way to the Greenfield Avenue overpass, the lower energized wire appears to be missing. In addition, the upper messenger support cable has snapped or broken from the point of the Rideau River bridge (on the Lees side), and extends to the east side of the Queensway underpass. As that support cable is broken and is under tension, works appear to have installed some chains (at both of these points) to help retain that cable, so that it doesn't get further pulled back the other way and cause further damage. In addition, some of the cantilevers (arms that protrude from the OCS support towers to support the cables) are broken, while others are being pulled east or west along the line, due to the lack of tension from the missing/broken cables.

There is also a stopped LRV pair (1102 & 1147), immobilized just across from TPSS #4 (Traction Power Sub-Station), which is located near the Greenfield Avenue/Mann Avenue intersection (and across from the Minto Rec centre of uOttawa). Each LRV has a pantograph and the pantograph on 1147 has clear signs of having been twisted and bent. The flat contact plate of the pantograph has broken off and is not visible. In regards to the second LRV 1102, I can not comment on the status of the pantograph as it is not visible at all (it is either intact and lowered, or has suffered damage).

While there is a lengthy section of OCS that will need repairs, it doesn't look too substantial and might only involve several days to complete the repairs. However, once more official information becomes available and the true scope of damage is understood, the time required to be able to complete repairs could be higher. During the visit, Alstom technicians were present and working near the stopped LRVs.

Once an official update is provided we should know more of the cause and repair timeline that will result.


********DISCLAIMER******** 

I am not a rail expert, I am a rail and transit enthusiast, transit rider and resident of Ottawa. These are my thoughts and comments from visual observation only of the O-Train guideway area affected.


Official Memo outlining the issues and the service restoration plan.

Sent : July 26, 2022 at 1:44pm
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Stage 2 LRT - West Extension - Ward 7 - Information Session - June 7, 2022

Councillor Theresa Kavanagh, along with members of the Stage 2 LRT team, held a virtual information session, to discuss the Western extension in Ward 7 of the Confederation Line, as well as upcoming work that is planned.

Stations covered include Sherbourne, New Orchard, Lincoln Fields, Queensview, Pinecrest, Bayshore and Moodie.

This video was recorded from the Zoom informational session held with the community and is archived on Rail Fans for informational purposes.

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Memo: O-Train Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Project Quarterly Update (Q1 2022)

The following memo outlines the progress made during Q1 2022 on the Stage 2 Confederation Line and Trillium Line extension projects and provides an overview of the planned work for Q2 2022. 

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A Conversation on the iconic TTC Streetcars with Helen Lee of The Next Stop Podcast - May 2022

A Conversation on the iconic TTC Streetcars with Helen Lee of The Next Stop Podcast

The City of Toronto operates an extensive Streetcar system, consisting of 9 streetcar lines, 685 stops across 83km in length. All this makes it the 3rd largest light rail system in North America.

The TTC Streetcars are very iconic and emblematic of the City of Toronto. They are also an essential and integral part of the public transit network.

In this conversation with Helen Lee, Creator / Executive Producer / Co-Host of The Next Stop Podcast, we talk about the Streetcars and touch on the following points of interest:

  • What is the Toronto Streetcar System.
  • The history of the Streetcar system.
  • The rolling stock, recent past and present.
  • The Mystique of the Streetcar system and what makes it unique to Toronto.
  • How the Streetcars in Toronto endure, while most other cities systems have been discontinued.
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You can learn more about The Next Stop Podcast and listen to their insightful episodes by visiting their website: www.thenextstop.ca. The podcast is also available on all major podcast platforms.
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Stage 2 LRT Update - A Look at the Progress of the O-Train Expansion in Ottawa - May 2022

Recently, the City of Ottawa delivered an update on Stage 2 LRT progress in the city. Stage 2 expands the O-Train service in the East from Blair to Trim, in the West from Tunney's Pasture to Algonquin and Moodie, and in the South from Bayview to Limebank and the Airport. 

In this video, I discuss and provide my take on some of the important progress being realized on these massive construction and infrastructure projects across the city. 

The photos contained in this video were provided by the City of Ottawa and mostly date from Q2 2022. 

  • 00:00 - Introduction 
  • 00:44 - East Extension (Blair to Trim) 
  • 15:26 - West Extension (Westboro to Moodie and Algonquin) 
  • 33:36 - South Extension (Bayview to Limebank) 
  • 50:08 - Wrap Up and Closing 

---ERRATUM—

In the video, it is mentioned that the new East pathway that passes over Green's Creek will continue to Jeanne d'Arc. This was an error, the pathway will run from Blair and end at the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway. Existing pathways from there can be used to reach Jeanne d'Arc (via the parkway and not alongside the 174). 

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To see the latest photos of the stations, please check out our Snapshot Updates at otrain.railfans.ca/snapshot

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Stage 2 LRT Construction Update - FEDCO - April 29, 2022

At today's Finance and Economic Development Committee, Transit Services provided a detailed update on its Stage 2 construction activities. Work continues on the O-Train network, extending it farther south, east and west.

In the south, work is progressing at the Walkley maintenance and storage facility and on multiple rail bridges and guideways. Station construction has begun at all sites, and preliminary vehicle tests are underway on a test track.

In the east, road work and utility relocation are ongoing on Highway 174, and work has begun on stations and tracks. The bridge from Blair Road to the Highway 174 median is nearly complete, and the overpasses at the Montreal Road highway interchange are progressing well. Track installation has begun between Montréal and Jeanne d'Arc stations.

In the west, work is ongoing at the Moodie light maintenance and storage facility, Pinecrest Station, Queensview Station, Iris Road and Pinecrest Creek, Algonquin Station, Lincoln Fields Station, and Byron Linear Park excavation. Tunnel construction is progressing along the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway. Work is progressing well at the highway interchanges at Pinecrest and Holly Acres roads.

Source : City of Ottawa

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Memo: Mott MacDonald Independent Expert Review – Line 1 Confederation Line

Please find attached a memo regarding the independent expert review of the Confederation Line.

Source : City of Ottawa

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City marks progress on Stage 2 East Extension with start of track installation

Today, Mayor Jim Watson and Transit Commission Chair Allan Hubley joined the Honourable Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, and Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and Member of Parliament for Orléans, representing the Government of Canada, to celebrate the start of track installation on the O-Train East Extension. This is a significant progress milestone for Stage 2 LRT.

The O-Train East Extension will travel mainly within the OR 174 median, between Blair Road and Trim Road, adding 12.5 kilometres of new rail and five new stations. The extension connects 95 percent of residents in the communities of Orléans, Blackburn Hamlet and Beacon Hill within five kilometres of rail.

Construction on the O-Train East Extension is well underway, and all 25 kilometres of track installation will be complete by the end of 2022. A 240-metre test track west of Jeanne d'Arc was installed in December 2021, and the main line track installation began in April, near the future Jeanne d'Arc Station. Construction of all O-Train East Extension stations are in progress.

Stage 2 LRT will transform travel in Ottawa as it expands the reach, comfort and convenience of light rail transit. It will connect communities, as well as Ottawa's major employment centres, postsecondary institutions, shopping and recreation destinations, and arts and culture hot spots. When Stage 2 is complete, LRT will ultimately be capable of carrying 24,000 people per direction per hour at peak capacity. The O-Train network will relieve congestion, reducing approximately one sixth of Ottawa's total vehicle kilometres travelled and save commuters time and money. The project will also reduce greenhouse gases by 110,000 tonnes and contaminants such as carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides and sulphur oxides by 3,000 tonnes over a 25-year period.

The Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Project is a $4.66 billion project, jointly funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Ottawa. Stage 2 supports healthy transportation, gives residents more options for how they move around, including biking to destinations. Ottawa is integrating the city's pathway network with all light rail developments in support of mixed-mode travel.

O-Train East Extension quick facts:

  • Approximately 32,000 concrete ties across 12.5 kms of the O-Train East Extension will be installed.
  • Concrete ties are installed as they get delivered. Each tie weighs 600 pounds.
  • Approximately 90,000 tonnes of ballast will be installed. Ballast is composed of granite rock that comes from Wakefield, Quebec.
  • Steel clips are set in place by specialized temper machinery.
  • Crews will begin installation between Montréal and Jeanne d'Arc stations and continue west. Final installation will be from Blair Station to Montréal Station.

Quotes

Ensuring Canadians have access to safe and efficient public transit is a priority for our Government. The O-Train East Extension will cut pollution and transform transit service for thousands of residents in Ottawa's east end, making their trips to work, to school and across the city easier, greener and faster.

The Honourable Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities.

Stage 2 LRT will forever change the way we move around Ottawa by extending the benefits of the O-Train network farther south, east and west. The new O-Train East Extension will be a simple and convenient travel option for residents in Ottawa's rapidly growing eastern communities. It will also provide transit improvements to major centres of employment, shopping and education and improve connectivity to encourage more active transportation.

Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa

Source : City of Ottawa

Photo Credit : Jim Watson - Twitter

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Stage 2 LRT - East Extension - Information Session - April 20, 2022

City councillors from the east end of Ottawa, along with members of the Stage 2 LRT team, held a virtual information session, to discuss the Eastern extension of the Confederation Line, as well as upcoming work that is planned.

Stations covered include Blair, Montreal, Jeanne d'Arc, Convent Glen, Place d'Orleans and Trim.

This video was recorded from the Zoom informational session held with the community and is archived on Rail Fans for informational purposes.

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Back on Track - VIA Rail increases services across Canada in time for the summer

As travel demand continues to progress, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) is pursuing its gradual service resumption plan and is pleased to be returning most of its services across the country by the end of June 2022.

"This is a celebratory and crucial milestone in our service resumption plan after an incredibly challenging two years," said Cynthia Garneau, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We look forward to welcoming more of our customers back on board our trains and doing our part to encourage Canadians and tourists to get out and explore this beautiful country for the summer travel season."

VIA Rail's objective has always been the safe resumption of services when conditions allowed it, and we are pleased to offer our passengers more options this summer with service resumption from coast to coast.

Date

Route

Service

April 29th*

The Canadian

2 full frequencies

June 3rd*

The Ocean

3 full frequencies

June 9th*

Québec City-Windsor corridor

Additional frequencies across the Corridor

June 10th*

Jasper-Prince Rupert

3 full frequencies

June 14th*

Sudbury-White River

3 full frequencies

June 29th*

Montreal-Senneterre

3 full frequencies

June 29th*

Montreal - Jonquière

3 full frequencies

(*Specific dates are subject to change slightly as VIA Rail is currently finalizing details, including access to the infrastructure.)

(VIA Rail's Winnipeg-Churchill route will continue to operate its full three frequencies per week as it has since the beginning of the pandemic)

Throughout the pandemic our decision to add frequencies has been based on various factors, including demand, and continuing to employ a balanced approach in order to fulfill VIA Rail's important public service mandate and manage financial impacts.

Throughout this crisis, the health and safety of our passengers and employees have always been our top priority. The Corporation will revise its service offering in line with the latest developments if necessary.

Existing safety measures implemented by VIA Rail in response to COVID-19 remain in effect. Those include, amongst others, a mask wearing policy on our trains and mandatory vaccination required by the federal government.

The train remains one of the safest ways to travel this summer and we are pleased to be offering our passengers more frequencies and more flexibility.

REMINDER

Wearing a mask is required at all times in VIA Rail's stations and on-board VIA Rail trains. For the health and safety of all passengers and employees, passengers who do not wear a mask during their trip will be required to disembark the train or will be refused entry upon boarding.

Furthermore, VIA Rail asks that passengers stay informed of public health guidelines and respect those that apply to them and their travel plans, including mandatory vaccination. The Corporation also constantly reminds its passengers and employees of the importance of following recommendations from public health authorities and to rigorously follow good hygiene practices (wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of the arm, avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth without first washing their hands).

Passengers will be denied boarding if they are experiencing symptoms similar to a cold or flu (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) or if they have been denied boarding for travel in the last 14 days due to medical reasons related to COVID-19.

The most recent updates are available on VIA Rail's website.

Source : VIA Rail Canada

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Stage 2 LRT - West Extension - ​Kitchissippi Ward - Information Session - April 7, 2022

Councillors Theresa Kavanagh and Jeff Leiper, along with members of the Stage 2 LRT team, held a virtual information session, to discuss the Western extension in Kitchissippi Ward of the Confederation Line, as well as upcoming work that is planned.

Stations covered include Westboro, Kichi Sibi (Dominion) and Sherbourne.

This video was recorded from the Zoom informational session held with the community and is archived on Rail Fans for informational purposes.

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