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.
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 


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). 


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.


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.




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*


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.


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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Toronto Railway Museum (TRM) to host virtual lecture event, "The Missing Millionaire: The Ambrose Small Saga"

The Toronto Railway Museum (TRM), a non-profit organization located in the iconic Roundhouse Park across from the CN Tower, is happy to welcome Katie Daubs, a journalist and a feature writer at the Toronto Star and the author of the Missing Millionaire, for an online lecture about the Small Mystery on April 21st at 8 pm. In this talk you will learn about the stranger-than-fiction characters in the Ambrose Small saga, and the development of Toronto as the drama around his disappearance unfolded. 

The railway was central to Small's business, as traveling shows of the era sent all their actors, props, and scenery by rail. It was expensive for theatre companies, and Daubs will explain how Small used that to his advantage as he built a cross-Ontario network of theatres, connected by rail. 

Tickets for this event are free, although registration is required on TRM's website here

Attendees will get access to our exclusive Zoom meeting room, where they can engage directly with the presenter and museum historians in a post-lecture Q&A. The event will begin at 8:00pm Eastern Standard Time, and will end at 9:30pm EST.


Katie Daubs is a journalist and a feature writer at the Toronto Star, where she writes about many topics, including local history. Before joining the Star, she worked at the Ottawa Citizen and she was a graduate of Carleton University. The Missing Millionaire is her first book, which was shortlisted for the 2020 Arthur Ellis Award for Excellence in Crime Writing (Best Non-Fiction Book) and the 2020 Toronto Book Awards. Honours and Awards: Nomination — National Newspaper Award, Long Feature (2017) Winner — William Southam Journalism Fellowship (2016) Nomination — National Newspaper Award, Long Feature (2015) Nomination — National Newspaper Award, Multimedia Feature (2014) Winner — National Newspaper Award, Presentation (2012) Winner — Diane King-Stuemer Fellowship (2008) 


The Toronto Railway Museum (TRM) brings people together by telling stories of Toronto's railway heritage. The Museum is located in the heart of downtown Toronto and is typically open year-round. TRM presents exhibits, tours, educational programs and publications that broaden the understanding and appreciation of Toronto's rich railway history. TRM is committed to telling the stories of the railways, and welcoming conversations of its varied experiences through its lecture series, exhibits and integrated programming with a mission to learn from the past to make the future better. The Toronto Railway Museum would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation's Community Building Fund. More information is available here. 


Established in 2001 to work with the City of Toronto to establish a railway museum at the John Street Roundhouse. The TRHA is incorporated and is a federally registered charity. Its primary purpose is to promote the development of the TRM. 

Source : Toronto Railway Museum

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SkyTrain Burrard Station upgrades rescoped

TransLink is announcing that upgrades to Burrard SkyTrain Station are no longer proceeding as planned due to higher than anticipated construction bid prices during the procurement process. This is due to ongoing pressures in the construction industry caused by global supply chain issues and higher construction costs. The previously announced upgrades that would have closed the station for two years will be rescoped, and the station will remain open to customers while we determine the new scope. The details have not yet been finalized but TransLink will prioritize upgrades to ensure the station remains in a state of good repair

TransLink will continue working with Indigenous Nations, stakeholders, and government partners to ensure the station receives necessary upgrades and operates efficiently for years to come.

The next step is to develop a new scope, budget, and construction timeline. TransLink will communicate details when they are known.

More information:
TransLink Maintenance and Upgrade Program
Previously announced upgrades

Source : TransLink

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Rail Fans Map - A discussion with map creator Derek Ellis

Rail Fans Map - A discussion with map creator Derek Ellis -

The Rail Fans Map features Ottawa's O-Train, Toronto's Subway and Kitchener-Waterloo's ION systems in high detail. Illustrating all track positions, switches, crossovers and yards. We speak to Derek Ellis, creator of the map, on this impressive project.

You can check out the map here : map.railfans.ca

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Government of Canada launches the next phase in 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, more accessible and more 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, along with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Annie Koutrakis, announced that the Government of Canada is launching a Request for Expressions of Interest seeking the advice and views from industry on the High Frequency Rail project through Buyandsell.gc.ca.

High Frequency Rail is the largest transportation infrastructure project that Canada has seen in decades. Recognizing the project's size and scale, the Government of Canada is seeking world-class knowledge and private sector expertise for all aspects of the project.

The Request for Expressions of Interest marks a major step in supporting the procurement phase for the High Frequency Rail project. It is an opportunity to:

  1. communicate the Government of Canada's plan for advancing the project;
  2. seek feedback from experienced private sector companies to help shape the High Frequency Rail project; and
  3. provide information to industry so interested parties can prepare for subsequent phases of the procurement process, including the Request for Qualifications and the Request for Proposal.

As the participation of Indigenous Peoples is essential to the success of High Frequency Rail, the Government of Canada will seek a private sector partner that prioritizes and values meaningful relationships with Indigenous Peoples. The Government of Canada will carefully consider the views of Indigenous Peoples throughout the project and encourage collaboration with Indigenous businesses.

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.

The High Frequency Rail service could be fully operational in the early 2030s. The Government is providing a High Frequency Rail Project website where Canadians can get information, track progress on the project and submit their views and questions.


"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. The Request for Expressions of Interest marks the first major step in the development and advancement of this project."

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

"Many key benefits would be provided to travellers through an electrified High Frequency Rail system, including shorter travel times and faster trains, improved on-time performance, higher frequencies, and more direct routes with improved connectivity between cities and to other modes of transportation."

Annie Koutrakis
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

"High Frequency Rail is the largest transportation infrastructure project that Canada has undertaken in decades. This project will make an incredible difference in the lives of so many people, especially those in Mauricie. Today's announcement is another big step that will connect our communities and one that will bring more economic opportunity to the region."

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

"High Frequency Rail is an infrastructure project with a size and scope that is unprecedented in modern Canadian history, which is why we are seeking to leverage the advice and views of private sector companies with concrete experience in designing and implementing complex infrastructure projects across the world. This is a very exciting opportunity for private sector companies to make their mark on the procurement and development of this project."

The Honourable Filomena Tassi
Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Quick Facts

  • The next steps would include:
    • Virtual information session on Request for Expressions of Interest: April 2022
    • Deadline for response to Request for Expressions of Interest: May 2022
    • Government of Canada issues Request for Qualifications: Fall 2022
    • Deadline for response to Request for Qualifications: Winter 2022-23
    • Government of Canada evaluation of Request for Qualifications and identification of Qualified Respondents: Winter 2022-23
    • Government of Canada issues Request for Proposals: Spring 2023
    • Deadline for response to Request for Proposals: Fall 2024
  • The size and scope of High Frequency Rail would drive transformational changes in how VIA Rail provides services in the Toronto to Québec City corridor to Canadians. In the meantime, 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 design and development.
  • Indigenous Peoples and Canadians interested in the project are encouraged to visit the High Frequency Rail Project website for additional information or to submit their views and questions.
  • The Government of Canada plans to incorporate strategies to enable socio-economic opportunities for Indigenous Peoples in the subsequent phases of the High Frequency Rail project.
  • In follow-on stages of the procurement process, the Government of Canada plans to evaluate the Indigenous participation plans of proponents to encourage collaboration opportunities with Indigenous Peoples, businesses, communities, and organizations.
  • 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 inform the next steps and decisions regarding the implementation of the High Frequency Rail Project.

Associated Links

Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to e-news or stay connected through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram to keep up to date on the latest from Transport Canada.

This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons living with visual disabilities.

Source : Transport Canada

Photo Credit : David Bellerive

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Memo: O-Train Light Rail Transit Stage 1 and Stage 2 Quarterly Update (Q3 and Q4 2021)

Please find attached a memo regarding the O-Train Light Rail Transit Stage 1 and Stage 2 Quarterly Update (Q3 and Q4 2021).

Source : City of Ottawa

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Quebec City Tramway - A Discussion on the Currently Proposed Project - January 2022

Quebec City is actively working towards building a state-of-the-art Tramway system through the city. It will operate from Le Gendre to D'Estimauville (West to East). The proposed line will have 28 stations, be 19.3km in length and feature a downtown underground tunnel of 2.1km, that will be home to two stations.

In this conversation with David Bellerive, we discuss this exciting and important infrastructure and transit project, poised to transform commuting in Quebec City. Touching on the history of the first Tramway in the city that ran till the mid-1900s, the new system being designed, the choice of technology, the routing and location of stations and finally the stunning rolling stock that may ride the rails. This is your introduction and overview of the Quebec City Tramway. 

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Share your train stories in a digital exhibition

The Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto & the Toronto Railway Museum present: 

"Getting Back on Track: The Changing Role of Passenger Rail in Southern Ontario" is a digital exhibition being made by some master's students (that's us!) that will use real stories from railway passengers (that's you!) to explore Ontario's railroads and how they're likely to evolve in the future. We'd love to hear from a diverse community, so please take a few moments to fill out the survey linked here.


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Stage 2 LRT Construction Update - FEDCO - December 17, 2021

Committee receives construction update on Stage 2 LRT

The City's Finance and Economic Development Committee received an update today on the three extensions of the Stage 2 LRT project, to the east, west and south.

In the south, work is progressing at the Walkley Maintenance and Storage Facility and on multiple bridges, with girder installation underway at the Ellwood Diamond and Hunt Club rail bridges. Station construction has begun at all sites to the south. The first Stadler vehicle has been delivered and assembly is underway. The remaining vehicles will arrive in 2022.

In the east, Highway 174 roadwork is underway, and utilities are being relocated to make way within the centre median for LRT infrastructure. Construction has started on four of the five planned LRT stations. Construction of the East Rail Flyover bridge and Montréal Station bridge has been completed.

In the west, work continues at the Moodie Light Maintenance and Storage Facility, as well as at Queensview, Iris and Lincoln Fields stations, and along Byron Linear Park. Work is progressing at the slurry plant at Rochester Field and the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway. Cut-and-cover tunnel construction is underway on the Byron Linear Park Tunnel and the Parkway Tunnel, which will run between Kìchì Sìbì and Lincoln Fields stations travelling under the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway.

The Committee received an updated schedule outlining the anticipated substantial completion dates for the three extensions. The COVID-19 pandemic has had impacts on major construction projects across Ontario, and City staff are closely monitoring construction schedules and any anticipated delays as a result. The Committee was informed that the O-Train South extension is now anticipated to open in spring 2023, as a result of contractor delays, which pushes out the original schedule of summer 2022. The O-Train East Extension is tracking toward its anticipated completion date in 2024. The O-Train West Extension has some pressure on its scheduled completion date of 2025, but the City and contractor are working together to resolve the critical timelines.

The Committee also approved the acquisition of 3101 Albion Road from the Canadian Pacific Railway, for possible future expansion of the Walkley Maintenance and Storage Facility. The Committee also delegated authority to the director of the rail construction program to negotiate and carry out both station construction and operating agreements for the Airport Link with the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority.

Source : City of Ottawa

FEDCO Stage 2 LRT Update - December 17, 2021.mp3

Stage 2 LRT - Construction Photos 

East Extension

West Extension

South Extension

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Memo: O-Train Light Rail Transit Line 1 and Line 2 Comparison

Please find attached a memo regarding a detailed, side-by-side comparison of the technical design and construction of the Stage 1 Confederation Line and Stage 2 Trillium Line projects.

Source : City of Ottawa

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Memo: Update on O-Train Line 1 Service

Please find attached a memo regarding an Update on O-Train Line 1 service.  

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VIA Rail Delivers New Levels of Comfort, Accessibility, and Sustainability With Its New Corridor Fleet

VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) marked a historic milestone today with the unveiling of the first trainset of its state-of-the-art new fleet that will serve the Québec City – Windsor corridor.

With the new test train parked on the platform of the LEED certified Ottawa station behind them, VIA Rail President and Chief Executive Officer, Cynthia Garneau and Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Françoise Bertrand, introduced Canadians to the first of 32 new trains in VIA Rail's new Corridor fleet - a building block of VIA Rail's modernization program which will help to create the VIA Rail of tomorrow.

"This new fleet marks a new era for passenger rail service in the Corridor, where we served over 4.7 million passengers in 2019 and which represented 96% of our ridership pre-pandemic. In addition to being one of the most environmentally friendly fleets in North America, this modern new fleet will offer our passengers an unparalleled, barrier-free, and fully accessible travel experience," said Cynthia Garneau, VIA Rail President and Chief Executive Officer.

It's time to reimagine the way Canadians travel

Funding for these new trainsets was announced in the 2018 Federal budget and represents an investment of close to a billion dollars.

"Canadians have relied on VIA Rail to connect them for years. The new fleet will offer a new era of comfort and efficiency for the workers, families, and tourists who travel on these tracks. By supporting VIA Rail's large-scale modernization project, we are investing in accessible, reliable, environmentally friendly ways for Canadians to see each other and see their country," said the Honorable Omar Alghabra, Canada's Transport Minister.

The first train has been delivered right on time and showcases impressive features that promise an unparalleled travel experience.

It's time to deliver new levels of comfort, accessibility, and sustainability

Key features of VIA Rail's new corridor fleet include amongst others:

  • Wider aisles, automatic touchless interior doors, adjustable tray tables, comfortable and ergonomic seats, and high-speed reliable data connection.
  • A barrier-free and fully accessible travel experience with onboard wheelchair lifts, five Mobility Aid Spaces (MAS) per trainset, large accessible washrooms, braille, and embossed signage.
  • Advanced diesel engines and a bidirectional train configuration that allows for less operating time with the engines running making it one of the most environmentally friendly intercity fleets in North America.

It's time to act today for a better tomorrow

The railway helped shape Canada, brought communities together and boosted the economy from coast to coast. As Canada works to recover from the pandemic, VIA Rail is ready to continue building on its 44-year history and play a key role in the future of sustainable mobility in Canada.

"In the face of the climate crisis and an unprecedented demand for more sustainable mobility, the relevance of passenger rail is stronger than ever," said Francoise Bertrand, the Chairperson of the Board at VIA Rail. "This new fleet and the High Frequency Rail (HFR) project will further that interconnectivity as our passengers will be able to travel more often and more quickly to more destinations."

Winter trials of the test train will begin in December 2021, with the first train expected to go into service in Q4 2022.

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 nine Safety Awards and three Environment Awards by the Railway Association of Canada since 2005. Visit the "About VIA Rail" section at https://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail.

Source : VIA Rail

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Guided Visit of Édouard-Montpetit Station on Montreal's Réseau Express Métropolitain - November 2021

Located in the heart of Mont-Royal, the REM's Édouard-Montpetit station is connected to the blue metro line and serves the Université de Montréal campus. It will be the deepest subway station in Canada and one of the deepest in the world (72 metres). Its architectural treatment will highlight the rock through which the station was excavated. 

When commissioned, the station located 70 meters underground will be accessible via five high-speed elevators that will travel the equivalent of a 20-story building in less than 30 seconds! The REM station will connect the borough of Outremont and downtown in only 3 minutes while offering a fast connection to the green line (via McGill station) and the orange line (via Bonaventure station). 

The construction of this station posed many technical challenges, especially since it is located near residential areas and schools. In order to dig so deep into the ground and in such hard rock, controlled blasting was used to build the station's main shaft and mezzanines. This represents 30,000 cubic meters of high-quality excavated rock that was reused as ballast on the Deux-Montagnes branch. The excavation work was completed in 2019 and the teams then work on the construction of the station. This means that after digging a 20-story building, it had to be built. Today, the steel structure of the station is clearly visible and the wooden ceiling can also be seen. In the coming months, the teams will be busy completing the station's exterior shell and will begin work on the interior. Final destination: commissioning in fall 2023! 
In this video, we take you through a guided tour offered to the media in November 2021 of the station under construction. Journey deep underground, down to the Mont-Royal rail tunnel, now more than 100 years old, and the future route of the REM. 
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Une visite guidée de la station Edouard-Montpetit du Réseau Express Métropolitain de Montreal - novembre 2021

Située au cœur du Mont-Royal, la station Édouard-Montpetit du REM est connectée à la ligne bleue du métro et dessert le campus universitaire de l'Université de Montréal. Ce sera la station de métro la plus profonde au Canada et l'une des plus profondes dans le monde (72 mètres). Son traitement architectural mettra en valeur le roc à travers lequel la station a été creusée. 

Lors de sa mise en service, la station située à 70 mètres sous terre sera accessible par cinq ascenseurs à grande vitesse qui permettront de parcourir l'équivalent d'un immeuble de 20 étages en moins de 30 secondes ! La station REM reliera l'arrondissement d'Outremont et le centre-ville en seulement 3 minutes, tout en offrant une connexion rapide à la ligne verte (via la station McGill) et à la ligne orange (via la station Bonaventure). 

La construction de cette station a posé de nombreux défis techniques, d'autant plus qu'elle est située à proximité de zones résidentielles et d'écoles. Afin de creuser aussi profondément dans le sol et dans une roche aussi dure, un dynamitage contrôlé a été utilisé pour construire le puits principal et les mezzanines de la station. Cela représente 30 000 mètres cubes de roches excavées de haute qualité qui ont été réutilisées comme ballast sur la branche Deux-Montagnes. Les travaux d'excavation ont été achevés en 2019 et les équipes s'attellent ensuite à la construction de la station. Cela signifie qu'après avoir creusé un bâtiment de 20 étages, il fallait le construire. Aujourd'hui, la structure en acier de la station est bien visible et on peut également apercevoir le plafond en bois. Dans les mois à venir, les équipes s'occuperont de terminer la coque extérieure de la station et commenceront à travailler sur l'intérieur. Destination finale : la mise en service à l'automne 2023 ! 


Dans cette vidéo, on découvre la nouvelle station en construction à Edouard-Montpetit. Voyagez profondément sous terre jusqu'au tunnel ferroviaire du Mont-Royal, vieux de plus de 100 ans, et futur emplacement du REM.



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Statement from Minister Mulroney Ottawa O-Train public inquiry

Statement by Minister Mulroney

"The issues plaguing Stage 1 of the Ottawa LRT have been unacceptable and disappointing. As a funding partner for the project, we need certainty that the City of Ottawa will be able to successfully deliver the remaining phases of work for this project. Ottawa transit riders deserve and expect this certainty as well.

To get to the bottom of these issues facing the Ottawa LRT, our government will be launching a public inquiry. Our goal is to get this up and running as soon as possible. In the coming weeks, we will establish the scope of the inquiry and its terms of reference, with the intention of receiving a report on what has transpired and recommendations to prevent this from happening again."

Audio Recording from Media Availability on November 18, 2021

Minister Caroline Mulroney - Media Availability - November 18, 2021
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Ottawa Transit Commission Meeting - November 17, 2021

The Transit Commission today adopted OC Transpo's 2022 Draft Budget.

To keep transit affordable for low-income residents and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) recipients, OC Transpo's 2022 Draft Budget includes a continued freeze on EquiPass fares and the Community Pass at 2018 levels.

The 2022 Draft Budget includes:

  • A 2.5 per cent general fare increase, to come into effect the month after RTG makes 15 trains available for full revenue service on O-Train Line 1.
  • A fare freeze for customers who use the EquiPass (monthly or single-ride) or the Community Pass.
  • New no-charge passes for emergency shelter clients.
  • No service expansion.
  • Savings of $11 million resulting from the continuation of the temporary service reductions which began in mid-2021.
  • Inflation and a cost-of-living adjustment.
  • $5.2 million in annualized costs to cover Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) costs, provide legislated breaks for federally regulated staff and to cover the cost of the September 30 federal holiday.
  • An increase of $3.9 million for maintenance of fare control and other software supports.

The Transit Commission carried a motion that Council direct the Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer, General Manager of Transit Services and General Manager of Community and Social Services to review the Transit Fare Working Group's recommendation that the next Council consider a fare freeze for the Community Pass, the Access Pass, and the EquiPass for the entire Term of Council, and that staff report back as part of the 2018-2022 Term of Council Governance Review.

Additionally, the Commission carried a motion that Council direct the Mayor and Transit Commission Chair to write to the Federal government requesting operational funding through the federal gas tax or other channels to reduce the user share of the cost of public transit, in order to reduce or eliminate user fees and encourage transit use.

The 2022 Draft Budget will be tabled for consideration and approval by City Council on December 8.

The Transit Commission also received an update on O-Train Line 1, which returned to partial service on November 12.

Staff confirmed that Line 1 service will gradually increase as RTG continues to increase the number of trains available for service, with full service expected to be in place by the end of November. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, 11 trains are required for full service to meet current demand.

Staff also confirmed that in October, bus ridership was at 41% and Para Transpo ridership was at 59% of pre-pandemic levels. Para Transpo service levels continue to be sufficient to meet current ridership demand. In October, all trips were fulfilled, and 9.1% of trips in minibuses were shared.

Source : City of Ottawa

Audio Recording from the O-Train and Bus Service Update portion of the meeting (with English interpretation).

Ottawa Transit Commission Meeting - November 17, 2021

Audio Recording from Media Availability

Ottawa Transit Commission Meeting - November 17, 2021 - Media Availability

O-Train Confederation Line 1 Update

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Memo: Update on Rideau Transit Group Return-to-Service Plan: Resumption of Line 1 Passenger Revenue Service

The purpose of this memo is to inform Members of Council and Transit Commission that system testing is progressing well and, pending its successful completion tomorrow, O-Train Line 1 revenue service will resume on Friday, November 12. Service will resume with seven trains and one spare and will expand incrementally, with full revenue service expected to be in place by the end of the month.

The past two days of end-to-end service testing have been positive. Testing continues tomorrow, and if the results remain consistent, the City will resume revenue service on Line 1. Final confirmation of this date is contingent on the successful completion of testing and pending final validation by TRA. I will provide the final confirmation to Members of Council and the Transit Commission once the City receives the written determination from TRA that Line 1 can safely return to service.

As discussed at Friday's technical briefing and in previous communications, Line 1 end-to-end service testing began on November 4. Testing is an integral component of the safe return-to-service plan. It has allowed Rideau Transit Group (RTG), Transportation Resource Associates (TRA) and the City to confirm that all repairs on the train, track and infrastructure meet the quality standards required for the safe and consistent operations of O-Train Line 1. This process has worked as it should, and RTG and OC Transpo are prepared and able to safely return to revenue service operation.

Once the system resumes revenue service, the City and TRA will continue to monitor RTG's activities. As with any Light Rail Transit system, we expect that issues will arise. The City and our transit customers expect these issues will be addressed quickly and efficiently by RTG.

RTG continues to inspect the remainder of the rail fleet and as discussed at Friday's technical briefing, the results are being validated by TRA and the City.

When partial service resumes, R1 replacement bus service will be maintained. Staff will be assessing, based on actual ridership levels, whether R1 replacement bus service can be reduced. OC Transpo will provide further updates on R1 bus service next week.

I expect to provide you with final confirmation on the resumption of O-Train Line 1 service tomorrow.

Steve Kanellakos

Source : City of Ottawa

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Technical briefing on the safe return-to-service of O-Train Line 1

Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Allan Hubley, Chair of the City's Transit Commission, Steve Kanellakos, City Manager, and Renée Amilcar, General Manager of Transit Services, will host a technical briefing with the Transportation Resource Associates (TRA) regarding the safe return-to-service of O-Train Line 1.

City staff and subject-matter experts from TRA took questions from members of council, transit commissioners and media following the presentation.

This video has been added to the Rail Fans Canada archive for current and future reference.

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