O-Train Service Update with Troy Charter - August 18, 2021

O-Train Service Update with Troy Charter - August 18, 2021 -

On Sunday, August 8th in the afternoon, one LRV that was not in service, experienced a minor derailment shortly after departing Tunney's Pasture terminus station. 

In this short video discussion with Troy Charter, Director of Transit Operations at OC Transpo, we touch on this service incident and the facts and investigations that continue to take place into the root cause. 

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The Réseau express métropolitain invites the public aboard for the first time

All aboard the REM!

One year prior to the commissioning of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM), scheduled for the summer of 2022 on the South Shore, the public is invited to board a REM car for the very first time. An REM car will be set up at Place Extasia in Quartier DIX30 from August 26 to 29, near the future light metro system's Du Quartier station.

Throughout the weekend, activities will be held on site, and representatives and experts will be on hand to answer questions. Five years after the project's announcement and three years after the start of construction work, this will be a historic opportunity for future users to get their first look at an REM car.

See the full schedule for All aboad the REM:

Learn more

A contest to find the first 30 users to get on board

Starting tomorrow, the public is encouraged to enter a contest on the REM's Facebook page to be among the first users to board the car. The 15 winners and their guests will enjoy an exclusive tour of the car with team members, to be held in the early evening of Thursday, August 26. They will learn the details about the design process for the car, which will criss­cross Greater Montréal in the coming years. The contest ends on August 22 at 11:59 pm. Winners will be chosen at random from among all registered entrants. To enter, consult the REM's Facebook page.

A family-friendly, music-filled lineup

The car will be accessible at any time on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A range of activities have been planned over the weekend, including music-filled lineup (on Friday night, Saturday nights and Sunday morning) and thematic activities, Saturday will be under the theme of the family while Sunday will be under the theme of the Sunday brunch. On Saturday, the artist Vincent Toutou who signs the visual theme of the event will be present to realize a live mural at Quartier DIX30. The full schedule is available here.

To get on board the REM, participants will follow a route filled with information about the commissioning of this new network, Québec's largest public transit project in 50 years. Measures will also be taken to adhere to the public health guidelines in effect.

Activities for a behind-the-scenes look at the project

Two highly informative activities will also be available:

  • L'histoire et les coulisses de la réalisation du Réseau express métropolitain (History and behind-the-scenes look at the development of the Réseau express métropolitain), to be held on Saturday, August 28 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., will present the origins and major steps that led to the REM project. This will be an opportunity to discuss the challenges of building such a system, as well as the impressive strides made in the last few years. Participation in this activity will be on a first-come, first­ served basis.
  • Le design du REM raconté (Breakdown of the REM's design), to be held on Sunday, August 29 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., will present how the REM's identity was created at the very start of the project. During this look back in time, participants will get a better understanding of how the REM's image came about. The graphic elements will be explained, as well as the choices behind the car's aesthetics. Participation in this activity will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Vote for the REM's voice

In closing, we would like to remind you that you have until August 30 to vote on the REM's official voice. You can also vote over the weekend. The winning voice will be announced in September.

Vote now

Exposition at Exporail

After its visit to Quartier DIX30, the REM car will then be exhibited at the Exporail in Saint-Constant until spring 2022.

Source : REM

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O-Train Line 1 Service to Resume & Root Cause Investigation

The purpose of this memo is to provide an update to Members of Council and the Transit Commission on the resumption of service on O-Train Line 1 and the root cause investigation of the incident on Sunday, August 8.
Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) is conducting final preparations and checks of the track in order to resume operation. Trains will complete multiple passes along the alignment this afternoon to confirm everything is in working order and safe. RTM have also confirmed that trains that have undergone the safety certification and inspection process are cleared to go into service.

O-Train Line 1 service will resume on Saturday, August 14, 2021, beginning at 6am, as per the regular start schedule. Service will be operating with a reduced number of trains, running every 10 minutes. As more trains are cleared to return to service, the frequency and capacity of the line will be increased. This reduced frequency will provide enough capacity to carry all customers without overcrowding.

OC Transpo will have buses on standby at strategic locations across the alignment to assist should customer loads be higher than anticipated.

The root cause investigation has identified the fault in the axle bearing assembly. The below picture shows a portion of the interior of the sealed axle bearing unit that attaches the axle/drive shaft to the train wheel. As part of the investigation, the sealed unit was taken apart and it was found that the green section of the bolt, which should be completely tightened, had a very small amount of movement, by fractions of a millimetre. This movement caused damage to the bearings inside the unit and wheel, which in turn lead to the axle coming off the track on Sunday evening.

As the investigation continues, RTM have implemented an inspection procedure that ensures the safe ongoing operation of trains. They will continue to conduct these vehicle inspections until the matter is satisfactorily resolved and safety certified. We have also confirmed with RTM and Alstom that these axle components are in use in other light rail transit vehicles around the world.

The investigation into the cause continues, and further details are expected to be provided at the next Transit Commission meeting. Further service updates will continue to be provided as they become available.

Updates on service continue to be communicated to customers through all channels, including customer alerts, social media updates, signage at Line 1 stations, and octranspo.com. Customers can visit octranspo.com for travel planning assistance or call 613-741-4390. Schedules are available by calling 613-560-1000 or texting 560560 plus the bus stop number.

Source : City of Ottawa

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NCC Recommending Wellington Street STO Tramway Alignment

Following consultations with federal, provincial and municipal partners, as well as other key stakeholders, the National Capital Commission (NCC) has recently completed its analysis and provided a recommendation to the Government of Canada for the development and facilitation of the Société de Transport de l'Outaouais (STO) tramway that would connect Gatineau and downtown Ottawa (via the Portage Bridge).

The NCC's recommendation is that the STO tramway alignment into Ottawa take place along the surface of Wellington Street. Next steps to advance this potential project include further engagement with partners and implicated stakeholders and the coordination of studies to assess traffic, transit and other key considerations.

Quick Facts

  • As the long-term planner and principal steward of Canada's Capital Region, the NCC's key policy directions for the next 50 years include developing and improving multi-modal and interprovincial transportation connections and transit integration across the Ottawa River and throughout the region.
  • In January 2021, the NCC board of directors endorsed the new transit connection, with conditions, along Wellington Street, as it aligns with the long-term plans for Canada's Capital, acts as an integral part of Confederation Boulevard, and represents a more affordable and technically sound solution than a tunnel.
  • In the 2021 federal budget, the Government of Canada directed the NCC to create an interprovincial transit project office to study and plan for potential interprovincial tramway connections between Ottawa and Gatineau, in addition to consulting and collaborating with municipal, provincial, and transportation partners.
  • The 2019 federal budget directed that the NCC develop the Long-Term Integrated Interprovincial Crossings Plan in collaboration with both provincial and municipal governments. Following two rounds of public consultation, the plan is expected to be completed in late 2021.

Quotes

"Investments in safe, modern, and efficient public transit systems are at the heart of a clean, inclusive recovery that restarts our economy and creates good jobs. We have an incredible opportunity to transform our community and make it the greenest capital in the world. The Government of Canada is in full support of the Gatineau Tramway and is pleased with the National Capital Commission's recommendation for a surface tramway design to link the west end of Gatineau to downtown Ottawa, allowing us to continue working with the Government of Quebec and City of Gatineau to advance this important project. The Gatineau Tramway will connect regional public transit networks, reduce travel times, and help people get around in a cleaner, more affordable way."

– The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

"The Gatineau tramway project will transform Canada's capital region. Workers, tourists, students, retirees, and residents will have quick and easy access to both sides of the Ottawa River. In so many ways, the Gatineau tramway project is the way of the future. This is a huge step forward."

– Greg Fergus, Member of Parliament for Hull-Aylmer and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

"Given the many projects currently under way in Canada's Capital Region, the proposed interprovincial tram system via Wellington Street offers a unique opportunity to enhance the natural and cultural character of Canada's Capital for generations to come while contributing greatly to the municipal transit networks of both Ottawa and Gatineau."

– Tobi Nussbaum, Chief Executive Officer, National Capital Commission

LINKS

Source : NCC
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Transit app with Stephen Miller, Communications Lead - July 2021

Transit app with Stephen Miller, Communications Lead - July 2021 -

Transit is a rapidly growing and evolving app designed to make using transit easier for commuters. From learning about the next departure times, to trip planning, and even knowing crowding levels and purchasing fares, this made in Montreal app has revolutionized the transit experience. 

In this video conversation with Stephen Miller, Communications Lead at Transit, we discuss this incredible app, how it works, the newest features recently added, and where things are headed for the future. 

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Memo: O-Train Line 1 - Service Update - August 2021

Please find below memos providing updates on the O-Train Line 1 service status since August 8, 2021.

Source : City of Ottawa

AUGUST 9, 2021

The purpose of this memo is to provide an update to Members of Council and the Transit Commission on the temporary closure of O-Train Line 1.

As you are aware, this temporary service suspension was implemented out of an abundance of caution to ensure all trains in the fleet continue to operate safely after an out-of-service train returning to the Maintenance and Storage Facility (MSF) last night had one of its 10 axles come off the rail.

There are three areas of work related to this occurrence that Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) is focusing on in order to restore safe rail service:
• A root cause investigation began immediately following the occurrence. Information reviewed so far indicates that a fault within the axle bearing assembly is the primary cause of the axle leaving the rails.
• RTM has developed and initiated a robust inspection process focused on the axle bearing assembly. All light rail vehicles must undergo this inspection process prior to returning to service. One vehicle has already been successfully inspected and cleared to return to service. The inspections will take several hours to complete on each vehicle. As a result, and subject to continued validation of inspection procedures, we are targeting a return of rail service on Line 1 adequate to meet current ridership levels on Friday or Saturday of this week.
• Work to return the stopped train to the MSF will begin on Tuesday, August 10 and may take up to two days to complete. This work includes mobilization of specialized equipment to move the train and inspections of the entire vehicle, track and related infrastructure, as well as any necessary repairs that may be required.

The Transport Safety Board (TSB) has also deployed to the site. The City, RTM and their contractors are all cooperating in their review. The scope of the TSB's role is still being determined.
The situation continues to evolve as the root cause investigation and vehicle inspections are ongoing. Further updates, including status of the inspections and specifics on when rail service can resume, will be provided as they become available.

R1 bus service will continue to operate along the entire alignment with frequent trips to allow customers to follow physical distancing measures. OC Transpo staff are monitoring ridership and will make adjustments to service as needed to meet ridership levels.

Details continue to be communicated to customers through various channels, including customer alerts, social media updates, signage at Line 1 stations, and octranspo.com. Customers can visit octranspo.com for travel planning assistance or call 613-741-4390. Schedules are available by calling 613-560-1000 or texting 560560 plus the bus stop number. During peak periods, OC Transpo staff are located at Line 1 stations and throughout the system to assist customers.


AUGUST 10, 2021

The purpose of this memo is to provide an update to Members of Council and the Transit Commission on the ongoing investigation regarding Sunday's occurrence that has required the temporary closure of O-Train Line 1.

As outlined in yesterday evening's memo, Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) continues to focus on three areas of work in order to restore safe rail service: removing the stopped train near Tunney's Pasture Station, the root cause investigation and the inspection of the axle bearing assembly on each train in the fleet.

Specialized equipment that will be used to move the train back to the Maintenance and Storage (MSF) is currently undergoing final preparations and testing in the rail yard. The movement of the train needs to be planned and managed carefully in order to ensure the weight of the train is distributed evenly and the vehicle can be moved without damage to it or other rail infrastructure. Once these preparations are complete, the train is expected to be moved back to the MSF tomorrow.

The root cause investigation of the initial occurrence, when the single axle left the rail on Sunday evening as the train was returning to the MSF, is ongoing. Once the train involved in the incident is returned to the MSF, the affected axle bearing assembly will be disassembled in order to do a detailed review.

RTM continues its inspection process of the axle bearing assembly on the rest of the train fleet. As previously communicated this process takes several hours to complete on each vehicle, and it is expected to take several days to complete the inspection of the entire fleet. All light rail vehicles must and will undergo this inspection process prior to returning to service.

The situation continues to evolve as the root cause investigation and vehicle inspections are ongoing. Further updates, including status of the inspections and specifics on when rail service can resume, will be provided as they become available.

R1 replacement bus service will continue to operate along the entire alignment with frequent trips to provide sufficient capacity for all customers. OC Transpo staff are monitoring ridership and will make adjustments to service as needed to meet ridership levels.

Details continue to be communicated to customers through various channels, including customer alerts, social media updates, signage at Line 1 stations, and octranspo.com. Customers can visit octranspo.com for travel planning assistance or call 613-741-4390. Schedules are available by calling 613-560-1000 or texting 560560 plus the bus stop number. During peak periods, OC Transpo staff are located at Line 1 stations and throughout the system to assist customers.

Source : City of Ottawa


AUGUST 11, 2021

The purpose of this memo is to provide an update to Members of Council and the Transit Commission on the ongoing investigation regarding Sunday's occurrence that has required the temporary closure of O-Train Line 1, as well as the August 9 incident when a double decker bus travelled off the road.

The train involved in Sunday evening's occurrence has now been moved back to the Maintenance and Storage Facility (MSF). The train will undergo a thorough inspection as part of the root cause investigation, which is ongoing.

Inspection of the axle bearing assembly on each train in the rest of the fleet also continues.

R1 replacement bus service will continue to operate along the entire alignment with frequent trips which is providing sufficient capacity for all customers. OC Transpo staff are monitoring ridership and will make adjustments to service as needed to meet ridership levels.

Details continue to be communicated to customers through various channels, including customer alerts, social media updates, signage at Line 1 stations, and octranspo.com. Customers can visit octranspo.com for travel planning assistance or call 613-741-4390. Schedules are available by calling 613-560-1000 or texting 560560 plus the bus stop number. During peak periods, OC Transpo staff are located at Line 1 stations and throughout the system to assist customers.

Updates will continue to be provided as they become available.

August 9 Double decker incident 

OC Transpo proactively removed from service 19 double deckers of the same model involved in an incident on August 9 when a bus travelled off the road on Carling Avenue near Herzberg Road. An investigation found that a component of the steering system required adjustment.

Working with the manufacturer, inspections have progressed well, and we have been able to confirm that 12 buses passed the inspection and were returned to service today. The remaining seven buses require an adjustment and will be returned to service once the scheduled repairs have been completed within the next couple of days. All protocols to ensure vehicles are safe to return to service have been followed.

This has had no impact to regular bus service or to the R1 replacement bus service.


AUGUST 12, 2021

The purpose of this memo is to provide an update to Members of Council and the Transit Commission on the ongoing investigation regarding Sunday's occurrence that has required the temporary closure of O-Train Line 1.

The root cause investigation is continuing, as well as the inspection of the axle bearing assembly on each train in the fleet.

At this time, we continue to work with Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) to determine the availability of trains to resume O-Train Line 1 service. An update on the anticipated return to service will be provided on Friday, August 13.

R1 replacement bus service will continue to operate along the entire alignment with frequent trips which is providing sufficient capacity for all customers. OC Transpo staff are monitoring ridership and will make adjustments to service as needed to meet ridership levels.

Details continue to be communicated to customers through various channels, including customer alerts, social media updates, signage at Line 1 stations, and octranspo.com. Customers can visit octranspo.com for travel planning assistance or call 613-741-4390. Schedules are available by calling 613-560-1000 or texting 560560 plus the bus stop number. During peak periods, OC Transpo staff are located at Line 1 stations and throughout the system to assist customers.

Updates will continue to be provided as they become available.


AUGUST 13, 2021

The purpose of this memo is to provide an update to Members of Council and the Transit Commission on the resumption of service on O-Train Line 1 and the root cause investigation of the incident on Sunday, August 8.
Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) is conducting final preparations and checks of the track in order to resume operation. Trains will complete multiple passes along the alignment this afternoon to confirm everything is in working order and safe. RTM have also confirmed that trains that have undergone the safety certification and inspection process are cleared to go into service.

O-Train Line 1 service will resume on Saturday, August 14, 2021, beginning at 6am, as per the regular start schedule. Service will be operating with a reduced number of trains, running every 10 minutes. As more trains are cleared to return to service, the frequency and capacity of the line will be increased. This reduced frequency will provide enough capacity to carry all customers without overcrowding.

OC Transpo will have buses on standby at strategic locations across the alignment to assist should customer loads be higher than anticipated.

The root cause investigation has identified the fault in the axle bearing assembly. The below picture shows a portion of the interior of the sealed axle bearing unit that attaches the axle/drive shaft to the train wheel. As part of the investigation, the sealed unit was taken apart and it was found that the green section of the bolt, which should be completely tightened, had a very small amount of movement, by fractions of a millimetre. This movement caused damage to the bearings inside the unit and wheel, which in turn lead to the axle coming off the track on Sunday evening.

As the investigation continues, RTM have implemented an inspection procedure that ensures the safe ongoing operation of trains. They will continue to conduct these vehicle inspections until the matter is satisfactorily resolved and safety certified. We have also confirmed with RTM and Alstom that these axle components are in use in other light rail transit vehicles around the world.

The investigation into the cause continues, and further details are expected to be provided at the next Transit Commission meeting. Further service updates will continue to be provided as they become available.

Updates on service continue to be communicated to customers through all channels, including customer alerts, social media updates, signage at Line 1 stations, and octranspo.com. Customers can visit octranspo.com for travel planning assistance or call 613-741-4390. Schedules are available by calling 613-560-1000 or texting 560560 plus the bus stop number.


AUGUST 14, 2021

The purpose of this memo is to provide an update to Members of Council and the Transit Commission on the resumption of service on O-Train Line 1.

O-Train Line 1 service began at 6am this morning, as planned. Service is operating with a reduced number of trains, running every 10 minutes.

As more trains are cleared to return to service, the frequency and capacity of the line will be increased.

OC Transpo has buses on standby at strategic locations across the alignment to assist should customer loads be higher than anticipated.

Further service updates will continue to be provided as they become available.

Updates on service continue to be communicated to customers through all channels, including customer alerts, social media updates, signage at Line 1 stations, and octranspo.com. Customers can visit octranspo.com for travel planning assistance or call 613-741-4390. Schedules are available by calling 613-560-1000 or texting 560560 plus the bus stop number.

Further service updates will continue to be provided as they become available.


AUGUST 15, 2021

The purpose of this memo is to provide an update to Members of Council and the Transit Commission on the ongoing service resumption on O-Train Line 1. 

O-Train Line 1 service began operating Saturday morning with additional trains gradually returning to service over the course of the weekend. Service is now running every 5 minutes, the regular Sunday service.

We are currently with working Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) and anticipate that rail service will be operating every 5 minutes on Monday. This a similar service level provided over the past several months, and based on recent ridership counts, will provide enough capacity to accommodate weekday customers. We will continue to work with RTM to increase service further, in preparation for the likelihood of increased ridership in September.

OC Transpo continues to have buses on standby at strategic locations across the alignment to assist should customer loads be higher than anticipated.

Further service updates will continue to be provided as they become available.

Updates on service continue to be communicated to customers through all channels, including customer alerts, social media updates, signage at Line 1 stations, and octranspo.com. Customers can visit octranspo.com for travel planning assistance or call 613-741-4390. Schedules are available by calling 613-560-1000 or texting 560560 plus the bus stop number.


AUGUST 16, 2021

The purpose of this memo is to provide an update to Members of Council and the Transit Commission on the ongoing service resumption on O-Train Line 1 and inspection of the train fleet.

As noted in the updates to Council this weekend, we were able to safely restore service to our customers and, as inspections continued throughout the weekend, vehicles meeting the strict safety inspections were released into service. I can confirm that the inspections have been moving forward efficiently and effectively and that safety certified processes are in place to inspect vehicles at regular frequency until the work on the root cause is completed and permanent modifications or adjustments are implemented.

A large portion of the fleet have passed the strict inspection protocols, resulting in the O-Train Line 1 today operating with 12 trains, providing service every 5 minutes or more frequently. We anticipate that the rail line will operate with 11 to 13 trains throughout this week, including a spare vehicle on standby, meaning customers can expect service every 5 minutes or more often. This is in line with the service provided over the past several months, and based on recent ridership counts, will provide enough capacity to accommodate weekday customers. Again, all vehicles that are in service have passed the safety inspection process and are re-inspected at regular intervals until the root cause adjustment is made.

The entire fleet is made up of 39 individual train cars, and each operational train is made up of two cars. Of these 39 cars, two still require inspection and eight cars did not meet established thresholds when tested and will require repairs. These four trains will have components of the axle assembly replaced before they are put into service and they will be subject to the same ongoing inspection requirements as the rest of the fleet. Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) has confirmed they have the required components and the required work will commence shortly.

On Saturday, RTM issued a statement regarding the service disruption to acknowledge the impact on customers. As previously stated in memos to Council last week, the ongoing investigation into the root cause and vehicle inspection means new information continues to come up and updates are being provided as we learn more. We understand that the statement may have led some to believe that new issues were being discovered that were not reported to Council. We can confirm this is not the case. The issue affecting last week's service is as noted in the updates to Council. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Together with RTM, the focus remains on regular, ongoing inspections of the entire fleet to ensure safe operation, component repairs to the four trains identified through the initial inspection, and ultimately, implementation of a resolution to the wheel bearing assembly issue.

We continue to work with RTM to increase service further, in preparation for the likelihood of increased ridership in September.

Further to some reports last week, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has informed staff that they are not currently conducting a formal investigation but are assessing the situation. OC Transpo staff continue to communicate and engage all partners including Transport Canada, TSB and the Regulatory Monitoring Compliance Officer (RMCO) throughout the vehicle inspection and root cause investigation.

Updates on service continue to be communicated to customers through all channels, including customer alerts, social media updates, signage at Line 1 stations, and octranspo.com. Customers can visit octranspo.com for travel planning assistance or call 613-741-4390. Schedules are available by calling 613-560-1000 or texting 560560 plus the bus stop number. 

Staff will continue to provide updates and are available to answer any questions from members of Council.


AUGUST 18, 2021

The purpose of this memo is to provide an update to Members of Council and the Transit Commission on the service resumption on O-Train Line 1 and ongoing inspections of the rail fleet.

This morning's service began with 9 double-car trains. One train was held in the yard due to an error code indicator, unrelated to the ongoing wheel-axle inspections. This is a standard process and is part of our day-to-day operations. Two additional trains were launched throughout the day, bringing the total number of trains currently operating on Line 1 to 11. Customers can expect a train every 5 minutes.

As mentioned in previous memos, Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) continues its regular inspections of all train cars to ensure safe operation until the root cause investigation is complete and a resolution is in place for the axle bearing issue. Out of the 39 individual cars in the fleet, 37 have been inspected. Of the two cars not inspected, one is the vehicle involved in the incident on August 8. As part of the ongoing root cause investigation, this car will undergo additional analysis and inspections. The second vehicle is one that has been undergoing other, unrelated maintenance. Once this work is complete, it will be thoroughly inspected, like all other trains, before being put into service.

Because of these ongoing inspections and the root cause investigation, new information can affect the number of cars available for service. This morning, the City was advised by RTM that a ninth single-car vehicle will require additional analysis of the axle assembly, prior to re-entering service. RTM has begun implementing the necessary repairs to the nine cars. We anticipate that this work may continue throughout the coming week. As work on each train car is finished and as on-going inspections are done, they will be returned to service.

The number of trains cleared for service may continue to fluctuate as the inspections and root cause investigation process continue. Again, all vehicles that are in service have passed the safety inspection process and will continue to be re-inspected at regular intervals.

The root cause investigation is ongoing at this time and will continue for some time. A fulsome update on this investigation will be presented at the Transit Commission meeting on September 20, 2021.

Updates on service continue to be communicated to customers through all channels, including customer alerts, social media updates, signage at Line 1 stations, and octranspo.com. Customers can visit octranspo.com for travel planning assistance or call 613-741-4390. Schedules are available by calling 613-560-1000 or texting 560560 plus the bus stop number.

OC Transpo issues alerts to customers via a number of channels as well as in-station and on-board announcements to provide our customers with information to plan their trips if service is not running as scheduled. Our standard is to issue alerts when customers may experience a significant impact to their travel times. While this morning's service began with fewer than expected trains in service, the effect was only to add approximately an extra minute of waiting time, so an alert was not issued.

Our goal is to provide valuable information to customers to inform their trip planning.

Staff will continue to provide updates and are available to answer any questions from members of Council.


AUGUST 20, 2021

The purpose of this memo is to provide an update to Members of Council and the Transit Commission on the ongoing service resumption on O-Train Line 1.

Over the course of this week, Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) has completed the initial inspection of all but two of the rail vehicles, as previously stated. They have now begun the process of regular, planned inspections of each rail car to ensure safe operation until the root cause analysis is complete and a final adjustment to address the axle bearing assembly issue is in place. Again, all vehicles that are in service have passed the safety inspection process and will continue to be inspected and monitored to ensure their ongoing safe operation.

While in-service train numbers have fluctuated throughout the week, train service for most of the week was operating approximately every 5 minutes during peak periods, which meets current ridership needs. Today, 14 double-car trains were running on the line during the morning rush hour, with service running approximately every three to four minutes. We continue to work with RTM to increase service further, in preparation for the likelihood of increased ridership in September.

RTM has also advised they have begun implementing the necessary repairs to the nine single cars identified in the inspection process. As work on each train car is finished and, as on-going inspections are done, they will be returned to service. The car involved in the initial incident on August 8 is part of the root cause investigation and requires more thorough inspections before repairs can be made to return it safely to service.

The root cause investigation is ongoing at this time. A fulsome update on this investigation will be presented at the Transit Commission meeting on September 20, 2021.

Updates on service continue to be communicated to customers through all channels, including customer alerts, social media updates, signage at Line 1 stations, and octranspo.com. Customers can visit octranspo.com for travel planning assistance or call 613-741-4390. Schedules are available by calling 613-560-1000 or texting 560560 plus the bus stop number.

Staff will continue to provide updates and are available to answer any questions from members of Council.


AUGUST 23, 2021

The purpose of this memo is to provide an update to Members of Council and the Transit Commission on the service resumption following the August 8 incident on O-Train Line 1. As well, this memo will address a number of additional questions Staff have received regarding ongoing rail and bus operations.

Eleven trains were in operation over the weekend, providing customers with service every five minutes. This is the normal service level for weekends.

This morning, service operated with 12 trains, running every four to five minutes. This service level continues to meet current ridership needs. We are working with Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) to increase service further, in preparation for the likelihood of increased ridership in September.

Updates on service continue to be communicated to customers through all channels, including customer alerts, social media updates, signage at Line 1 stations, and octranspo.com. Customers can visit octranspo.com for travel planning assistance or call 613-741-4390. Schedules are available by calling 613-560-1000 or texting 560560 plus the bus stop number.

In addition, we have received a number of specific inquiries regarding the August 8 incident and ongoing axle assembly investigation, as well as other questions related to rail and bus operations. These questions and responses are provided below.

  • Of the 10 individual cars being inspected (including the one involved in the initial incident), were they original deliveries, or later train car deliveries or a mix?
    Of the 10 cars currently identified as needing repairs to the axle assembly, all except for one were delivered as part of the original group of vehicles for Line 1 operations in September 2019. The single car that was not part of the original group was put into service in the second quarter of 2020.
  • Who pays for the cost of major capital repairs required on the trains?
    All repairs, whether they are day-to-day operational costs or major capital repair costs, are performed at no cost to the City. As laid out in the fixed price contract with RTG/RTM, any increased or unforeseen costs during the life of the contract are at the expense of the maintainer or their subcontractors.
  • What amount will be held back from RTG/RTM as a result of the derailment and lack of service? RTG's monthly payment will be subject to deductions as outlined in the Project Agreement (PA) and varies depending on factors such as station availability and percentage of service delivered. As the month is not complete, the total deductions to be applied is not available. However, the amount of deductions will be significant.
  • Is there an option to exercise a warranty clause with these trains?
    The City, through its contractual arrangement with RTG, has the equivalent of a full warranty for performance of the vehicles for the duration of the life of the contract. All routine, corrective, and lifecycle maintenance is covered under the contract with RTG/RTM.
  • Were any axle/bearing issues identified during the testing phase before the launch of Line 1? There were no axle bearing issues identified during testing and commissioning prior to the launch of Line 1.
  • What correspondence has been received from the Transportation Safety Board (TSB)? Can you please share it?
    OC Transpo continues to work collaboratively with the TSB in responding to their requests for information. To date, the majority of the correspondence with TSB on this incident has been verbal. OC Transpo has received one request in writing regarding the RTM/Alstom inspection rules and instruction. This information has since been provided to TSB.
  • Has the hot weather played any role whatsoever in service disruptions this summer?
    In addition to regular track maintenance and daily inspections that occur on all railroads during hot weather, OC Transpo takes extra precautions during extreme temperatures to ensure the safety of our customers. RTM performs additional proactive track inspections when the temperature approaches 30 degrees and associated maintenance work is performed, as needed. During some periods of very hot weather, our control centre will proactively issue a speed restriction on sections of the track to ensure that all trains traveling through the area do so safely. These slower speeds have very little impact on customers' travel times. While these steps have been proactively taken on several occasions this summer, they have not resulted in major service disruptions. In late May, there were some delays to customers as RTM performed track related work due to hot weather. The planned maintenance undertaken in June improved track conditions and has meant service has continued to operate normally during the rest of the summer. Regarding the August 8 incident, the investigation is ongoing. The root cause analysis will determine the cause of the axle bearing issue, however at this time, it does not appear to be weather related.
  • Was there a fire on the overhead catenary recently as a result of clothing? Can you provide details on this?
    On August 7 Ottawa Fire Services and RTM were called as result of a report of smoke coming from one of the trains. Upon arrival, Ottawa Fire Services was able to remove a piece of cloth from the train (not a part of the train nor catenary) that was the cause of the smoke. There was no fire or damage as result. In accordance with our safety procedures, the train was removed from service, inspected and verified prior to returning to service.
  • What was the cause of the error code on a train that resulted in it not being launched a couple of days ago? How often does this occur with these trains?
    On August 18, during the early morning launch process, one of the trains was proactively held back from service due to an error code identifying the possibility of a coupler issue. There are sensors that need to be correctly aligned in order for the two cars in a double train to communicate with each other. The sensors required an adjustment to remove the error code. Customers may have experienced up to an additional minute of wait time due to this train being held back. Holding back the train in order to inspect and verify all systems are functioning properly is a standard operating practice, performed to ensure that all trains entering service are safe and ready to respond normally. Coupler issues were previously reported to the Transit Commission, and, since the rectification work was completed this spring, this is no longer a frequent issue affecting service. These issues do sometimes happen on rail systems, and this is why we have processes in place to provide advance notice in order to assess potential issues prior to entering service.
  • Are you considering free transit service this Fall?
    Free transit is a policy decision of Council. The City Clerk can provide direction how to move forward with a proposal, if that is something Council wishes to pursue.
  • Can you tell us what the cause of the multiple delays and stopped trains were on August 20? On Friday August 20, O-Train Line 1 experienced two separate and unrelated stopped trains that affected service. These sorts of service interruptions are things that occur in rail systems around the world, and OC Transpo has operating procedures and highly trained staff ready to respond should an incident occur to ensure safety and restore service as quickly as possible. Further to details provided on Friday afternoon regarding a train that stopped near Hurdman Station causing a service delay for customers, RTM has confirmed that the stopped vehicle was caused by the loosening of a connector within the braking system. The train's safety systems functioned as designed, and the train came to an immediate stop when the connector started to loosen. Some customers needed to be transferred from the affected train to another, and customers on the system may have experienced longer wait or travel times. In accordance with all applicable safety procedures, the technician on site was required to access the train from the outside of the cab to manually release the brakes and return it to the Maintenance and Storage Facility (MSF) for repairs. This sort of issue can occur on trains, and all applicable safety processes and procedures were followed throughout the event. In a separate incident, at approximately 8:15pm a train travelling eastbound at Tremblay Station experienced a brief traction power issue and our control centre proactively decided to remove it from the line to ensure ongoing service. This was unrelated to the issue in the afternoon, or with the ongoing axle assembly issue affecting other trains. The train was delayed several minutes from exiting the track to return to the MSF. Unfortunately, this short delay was further compounded by an operational drill that was taking place at that time and contributed to the delays customers experienced. Service continued to operate across the entire line during this incident, however, during this time, customers may have experienced longer travel times of approximately 10 to 15 minutes. We will be conducting a review of this event as well as our communications, which may not have accurately conveyed the service delay to customers.
  • Has the issue of the odour in downtown LRT stations been resolved?
    As Transit Commission has previously been informed, RTM and OC Transpo continue to monitor and respond to concerns about odour at the downtown tunnel stations. To date, RTM has not yet been able to identify a specific pattern in terms of time of day, outside temperatures, or other factors that may relate to the presence of smells. While investigating the odour at Rideau Station it was determined that groundwater was the cause. Minor water infiltration is common in tunnels and, when identified, injection grouting is used to seal the area. RTM continues to monitor this situation and perform injection grouting as needed. RTM is also monitoring air quality within the station. The results of this monitoring indicate that the air in the station is safe and well below any thresholds for concern. As grouting continues the odour experienced in the area is anticipated to subside. The investigation into the cause of the odour at Parliament Station is ongoing and the source has yet to be identified. However, as the grouting continues, it is anticipated that the odour experienced in the area should subside. Investigation by an environmental engineering firm confirmed that the odours do not pose any hazard. City staff present in stations will continue to report occurrences of odours to aid in the ongoing remediation efforts. Additionally, staff are working with RTM to explore other options to increase ventilation within the downtown tunnel stations. On Friday, there were reports of a strong odour in Parliament Station and surrounding areas. Staff attended but could find no smell or cause.
  • In the past year have there been any fires on double deckers? If so, do we know the root cause? Fires can occur on buses, and this has happened infrequently in the past few years at OC Transpo. In the last 12 months, one double decker bus experienced an engine fire while it was out of service and parked at the Industrial Bus Garage in May 2021. The cause of the event was attributed to an electrical short. Following the fire, all double decker buses were inspected to ensure the fleet was safe for operation. With a fleet of over 900 buses, travelling over 66 million kilometres per year, these types of incidents can occur. It is also important to note this type of event can occur in any vehicle. In 2015, OC Transpo added fire suppression systems to the engine area of all new double decker buses. When activated, the suppression system sprays a special foam in the engine compartment to prevent a fire from spreading to other areas. This built in system further reduces the risk of serious fire in double decker buses, and fire suppression systems are now a part of purchasing requirements on future bus models. We continue to monitor new technology and industry trends for emerging safety technology that can further benefit our fleet and customers.

AUGUST 26, 2021

Mayor, Members of Council, Transit Commission, this email is to provide an overview of two incidents that occurred this morning on O-Train Line 1.

At approximately 6am an eastbound train arriving at Lyon Station experienced a coupler issue and the safety systems brought the train to a safe stop, as designed. A coupler issue can occur when, sensors that allow the two cars in a double train to communicate with each other are not correctly aligned. These issues do sometimes happen on rail systems, and we have processes in place to provide notice and ensure the safety of customers.

The operator attempted to rectify the issue, but troubleshooting could not resolve it. The operator was able to open the doors and all customers disembarked the train at Lyon Station safely. A Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) technician was required to attend the train to remove it from service. The affected train has now returned to the Maintenance and Storage Facility (MSF) for diagnosis and repairs, unrelated to the axle-bearing issue impacting other trains.

During this incident, service continued to operate along the entire line. Some customers may have experienced longer travel times as they were required to transfer at Lyon Station to continue their journey. Customers were notified via announcements in the trains, in stations, on our social media accounts, as well as our other regular channels. Normal service resumed shortly after 7am.

Separate from this incident, at approximately 7am, another train at Blair Station experienced an issue with its heating and cooling system. There were no customers on the train at the time. The train was parked at Blair Station in order to allow service to continue without interruption. All trains continued to service one platform without delays to customers. Due to the current and anticipated temperatures today, the train was removed from the line and returned to the MSF around 7:30am, without affecting ongoing rail service.

Line 1 is currently operating with 10 trains, providing service every 5 to 6 minutes.

Thank you,
John Manconi, General Manager, Transportation Services Department

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Memo: O-Train Line 1 service Temporary closure - August 9, 2021

Please find attached a memo regarding O-Train Line 1 Closure – August 9, 2021.

Source : City of Ottawa

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Memo: O-Train Light Rail Transit Stage 1 and Stage 2 Quarterly Update (Q2 2021)

Please find attached a memo regarding the O-Train Light Rail Transit Stage 1 and Stage 2 Quarterly Update (Q2 2021). 

Source : City of Ottawa

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Toronto's Scarborough RT - The History and Technology, Expansion Options and Closure with Seth McDermott - July 2021

Toronto's Line 3 Scarborough RT - The History and Technology, Expansion Options and Closure with Seth McDermott -

Line 3 Scarborough (originally known as the Scarborough RT or SRT) is a light rapid transit line and part of the Toronto TTC's Subway system. Featuring 6 stations, along a length of 6.4km of mostly elevated track, it connects with Line 2 Bloor-Danforth at Kennedy Station. The northeast terminus is McCowan. 

The line operates the Intermediate Capacity Transit System (ICTS) Mark I trains, built by the Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC), which are also known in Toronto as the S Series. These trains are some of the earliest examples of Linear Induction Motor technology in a transit system and have since been built and used in other cities around the world, notably Vancouver's SkyTrain. 

In this video discussion with Seth McDermott, a transit enthusiast and historian, we discuss the history and development of this very interesting and unique transit line, as well as the linear induction motor (LIM) technology that it helped pioneer. Be sure to also watch Part 2 of this video series (found below), in which the conversation continues, and touches on the many expansion and upgrade options that have been debated over the years, and its eventual and soon approaching permanent closure in 2023.

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Scarborough RT - The History and Technology with Seth McDermott (Part 1 of 2)

Line 3 Scarborough (originally known as the Scarborough RT or SRT) is a light rapid transit line and part of the Toronto TTC's Subway system. Featuring 6 stations, along a length of 6.4km of mostly elevated track, it connects with Line 2 Bloor-Danforth at Kennedy Station. The northeast terminus is McCowan. 

The line operates the Intermediate Capacity Transit System (ICTS) Mark I trains, built by the Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC), which are also known in Toronto as the S Series. These trains are some of the earliest examples of Linear Induction Motor technology in a transit system and have since been built and used in other cities around the world, notably Vancouver's SkyTrain. 

In this video discussion with Seth McDermott, a transit enthusiast and historian, we discuss the history and development of this very interesting and unique transit line, as well as the linear induction motor (LIM) technology that it helped pioneer.

Special thanks to Nicholas Polischouk for many of the photos used in this video.

The content of the two-part videos is also available in an audio-only format below.

Toronto's Line 3 Scarborough RT - The History and Technology, Expansion Options and Closure with Seth McDermott -
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Scarborough RT - The Expansion Options and Closure with Seth McDermott (Part 2 of 2)

Line 3 Scarborough (originally known as the Scarborough RT or SRT) is a light rapid transit line and part of the Toronto TTC's Subway system. Featuring 6 stations, along a length of 6.4km of mostly elevated track, it connects with Line 2 Bloor-Danforth at Kennedy Station. The northeast terminus is McCowan. 

The line operates the Intermediate Capacity Transit System (ICTS) Mark I trains, built by the Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC), which are also known in Toronto as the S Series. These trains are some of the earliest examples of Linear Induction Motor technology in a transit system and have since been built and used in other cities around the world, notably Vancouver's SkyTrain. 

In this video discussion with Seth McDermott, a transit enthusiast and historian, we touch on the many expansion and upgrade options that have been debated over the years, and its eventual and soon approaching permanent closure in 2023.

Be sure to also watch Part 1 of this video series, where we discuss the history and development of this very interesting and unique transit line, as well as the linear induction motor (LIM) technology that it helped pioneer.

Special thanks to Nicholas Polischouk for many of the photos used in this video.

The content of the two-part videos is also available in an audio-only format below.

Toronto's Line 3 Scarborough RT - The History and Technology, Expansion Options and Closure with Seth McDermott -
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Réseau express métropolitain: Starting installation of rails in the West Island and crossing of Highway 40 by launching gantry "Marie"

While the installation of the first REM rails has begun in Montréal's West Island, launching gantry "Marie" will cross Highway 40 again in August which will result in significant impact on this section of the road network. Indeed, Marie had made a first crossing in October 2019. This year, the crossing will take place in the Pointe-Claire sector at St-Jean Boulevard.

As part of this phased work, there are two major obstructions to watch for:

  • Weekend from Friday, August 6, 11 PM to Monday, August 9, 5 AM: complete closure of Highway 40 East at St-Jean Boulevard
  • Weekend from Friday, August 13, 11 PM to Monday, August 16, 5 AM: complete closure of Highway 40 West at St-Jean Boulevard

During these obstructions, motorists are invited to avoid the area by taking Highway 20.

Also note that night closures (11:00 PM to 5:00 AM) will be required from August 2 to August 16 on the Highway 40 East service road, Highway 40 East and Highway 40 West. Night closures will also be necessary on Highway 40 West service road from September 3rd to 10th. Full details of the obstructions and detours to use are available here: Launching gantry "Marie" - elevated structure construction on the Anse-à-l'Orme branch | REM.

Moreover, although impressive, it is important to remember that this method of working is safe and proven. Traffic can be safely re-established during the day once the segments have been secured to the launching gantry; there is no risk for motorists travelling under the structure. Users must remain attentive and must not let themselves be distracted by the launching gantry.

This closure is subject to change depending on the progress of the night work and weather conditions.

Installation of the first REM rails in the West: work is progressing

The project continues to make great strides in the sector as the installation of the first REM rails has begun. This year's objective is to complete the installation of rails on 9.3 km of the elevated structure. We expect to complete the installation of the rail and catenary systems on the entire segment by the end of 2022.

The launch gantries, "Anne" and "Marie", began their crossing in the West two years ago and will finish their route in the sector this year. Indeed, Marie began its route in the Saint-Laurent borough in June 2019 and made a first crossing of Highway 40 in the fall of 2019. It will conclude its route this year with its final destination being Fairview-Pointe-Claire station, where Anne began its adventure two years earlier. Anne will finish its crossing at the Anse-à-L'Orme station. Together, they will have completed the 13.5 km of the elevated structure. Then, one of the gantries will complete the 840-metre elevated portion of the airport branch, while a second will be sent to the Pierrefonds-Roxboro sector.

Several teams, totalling more than 250 workers, built the elevated structure. In addition, 200 Béton préfabriquée du Lac (BPDL) employees worked on manufacturing the concrete segments at the plant located in St-Eugène-de-Grantham. Prefabrication has enabled rapid progress and guaranteed construction quality since the segments are manufactured in a controlled environment.

The use of launching gantries is a very efficient and fast construction method. On average, it takes two days to erect one span, that is, to cover the distance between two columns (30 to 40 metres). This way of working also greatly limits impacts, since the construction of a similar span without prefabricated parts would normally take three weeks. These elements made it possible to carry out several highway and important street crossings while limiting the duration of the obstructions.

Here is some data on the construction of the elevated structure in the West Island (number completed/number to be installed):

  • Columns: 367/367
  • Concrete segments: 2,999/4,102
  • Spans: 270/366

In conclusion, the construction of the Anse-à-l'Orme and Fairview-Pointe-Claire stations is progressing rapidly. The building exteriors of both stations will be completed this year, and the interior work (plumbing, electricity, ceramics, etc.) can begin next year. Work on the Des Sources and Kirkland stations will begin this year, with construction of the foundations for the Des Sources station this summer and the Kirkland station this fall.

About the REM

The Réseau express métropolitain (REM) is a new, 67-km integrated public transit network that will feature 26 stations and link downtown Montréal, the South Shore, the West Island, the North Shore and Montréal-Trudeau airport through a fully automated electric light rail system. Offering high-frequency service, the REM will operate 7 days per week, 20 hours per day, and will be connected to the three main lines of the Montréal metro.

Source : REM

Here is a map showing the planned obstruction on Highway 40 East
Here is a map showing the planned obstruction on Highway 40 West
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TTC subway air quality has 'improved substantially' in past 10 years, new study finds

The TTC has made significant improvements to air quality in its subway system, a new report from Health Canada, the National Research Council of Canada and the University of Toronto has found.

The Subway Air Quality Initiative was carried out between 2018 and 2020 and concluded that new trains and updated braking technologies and protocols that reduce friction contributed to reduced levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) inside vehicles and on platforms when compared to previous measurements taken in 2011.

A summary of the research was published today and is available at https://news.engineering.utoronto.ca/new-trains-and-reduced-friction-braking-improve-air-quality-in-torontos-subways/

"This is excellent news for our employees and customers and it confirms that the steps we have taken to date are having a positive impact on air quality," said Betty Hasserjian, the TTC's Chief Safety Officer (Acting). "We will keep modernizing our infrastructure and our operating procedures to ensure we are continuing to make gains in this area."

PM2.5 refers to particulate matter that is 2.5 microns or smaller in size. PM2.5 particles are found indoors and outdoors, although their composition varies depending on the setting.

The TTC adopted several long-term measures and strategies that will further improve air quality, including ongoing monitoring and mitigation strategies. One such measure, the implementation of Automatic Train Control (ATC) has optimized the acceleration, deceleration and braking of the subway trains on Line 1. This has reduced the amount of friction during the braking process, leading to a reduction in PM2.5.

"I'm pleased to see the work the TTC is doing has resulted in a lowering of PM2.5 levels in the subway system," said Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa. "There are numerous benefits that public transit offers with respect to the city's overall air quality by reducing traffic congestion and associated air pollution."

As with previous studies, Health Canada did not look at health impacts of the air quality, only the levels of PM2.5. Observed levels fall well below the occupational exposure limits and are now as much as 10,000 times lower than they were in the first such study, conducted in 1995.

The research also found that air quality in Toronto's subway system is comparable to those found in other large underground rail systems, and in some cases is better than other major subway systems such as New York City and Boston.

Source : TTC

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Réseau express métropolitain, Montréal's new transit system, with spokesperson Jean-Vincent Lacroix

Réseau express métropolitain, Montréal's new transit system, with spokesperson Jean-Vincent Lacroix -

The currently under construction Réseau express métropolitain, will be Montreal's newest transit system. Featuring 26 stations and a length of 67 kilometres, and stretching from the south shore to Deux-Montagnes in the north and Anse-à-l'Orme in the west, it is poised to transform rapid-transit in the Greater Montreal Region in the coming years. 

Featuring exciting new underground stations in downtown Montreal, and passing underneath the imposing Mount Royal, it is sure an exciting time for the city. 

In this video discussion with Jean-Vincent Lacroix, spokesperson for the REM, we discuss the system currently being built, the next steps and the organization behind this massive infrastructure project (CPDQ Infra). 

Learn more about the REM on their official website here : www.rem.info

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Government of Canada to explore opportunities to enhance passenger rail services in Southwestern Ontario

The Government of Canada is committed to working towards enhancing and modernizing intercity passenger rail services in a way that will best meet the transportation needs of travellers, as outlined in the vision for Transportation 2030.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and Member of Parliament for Windsor—Tecumseh, Irek Kusmierczyk and Chief Executive Officer of Via Rail, Cynthia Garneau, announced that the Government of Canada is exploring opportunities to enhance passenger rail services in Southwestern Ontario.

As the Government of Canada takes first steps in preparing for the procurement process to build new, High-Frequency Rail services in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor, efforts will also be undertaken to determine how passenger rail services might be improved to better service markets west of Toronto, including London and Windsor.

The Government of Canada will work with key partners including VIA Rail and the Canada Infrastructure Bank through the High Frequency Rail Joint Project Office to ensure that any enhancements to passenger rail services in Southwestern Ontario can be effectively integrated with the core route for High Frequency Rail in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor.

The Government of Canada will be reaching out to the Province of Ontario to identify areas of collaboration and avoid any duplication with provincial transportation plans, including new services to be offered by GO Transit and Metrolinx, to ensure that enhancements to passenger rail services benefit travellers most.

Quotes
"There is a strong appetite for enhanced passenger rail services in Southwestern Ontario. Improvements to passenger rail service in this region would provide better options for travellers while also enabling the economic growth of communities along the rail network."
The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

"Enhanced rail service goes hand-in-hand with accelerated and sustainable economic growth, and it is a key step towards the ultimate goal of high frequency passenger rail between Windsor and Toronto."
Irek Kusmierczyk
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and Member of Parliament for Windsor—Tecumseh

"Driven by our mission to put our passengers first, VIA Rail has been working for several years on its modernization program which will transform the Canadian journey. The announcement made today represents an opportunity to continue building on this momentum as it will allow to offer an enhanced and truly intermodal experience, while contributing to better serving communities in Southwestern Ontario."
Cynthia Garneau
VIA Rail Canada President and Chief Executive Officer


Source : Transport Canada
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Exporail celebrates its 60th anniversary on July 21st, 2021

Staff and volunteers of Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum, were joined by several political representatives, railway company executives and people from the cultural and tourism sectors to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the museum.

The sounds of diesel horns, steam whistles and locomotive bells kicked off the occasion, which was held around the museum's turntable surrounded by historic railway vehicles. Short speeches highlighted the dynamic achievements of the past 60 years at Canada's largest railway museum.

Robert Robinson, President of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association (CRHA), the not-for-profit association that owns and operates Exporail, spoke of the history of the CRHA which goes back to 1932, and of its 900 members from all across Canada that support the museum. " Today Exporail is the largest and best railway museum in Canada, voted by the House of Commons in Ottawa as Canada's national railway museum. It is certainly among the top railway museums in the world—ranking with the best in the USA, UK, Japan, and Europe. Our archives hold the Canadian Pacific Railway collection of photos and documents, so special that it has been designated by UNESCO as part of the memory of the world register", he said.

Exporail's Executive Director, Nadine Cloutier, thanked the dignitaries, volunteers and museum partners in attendance and shared her vision for the future: "As a museum, we continue to grow, improve and one of our priorities is to properly preserve and showcase our collection. We are currently planning an expansion project: EXPORAIL 2.0. A feasibility study is underway for this multi-million dollar project which will certainly be a flagship project in the region. Our goal is to double the space for our collections, archives and exhibitions. We also want to provide space for catering, events, and the like to enhance the visitor experience. The Railway of the Future will also be a way to remain a relevant museum and to achieve structuring partnerships with the rail industry, urban transportation companies and communities."

C. Stephen Cheasley, President of the CRHA Foundation, was one of the founders of the Museum in 1961, and has continued his involvement for the entire period. He paid tribute the volunteers of yesterday and today, saying "Exporail has more than 140 volunteers who perform all kinds of tasks and offer more than 26,000 hours of work each year. A number of them have been with us since the 1960s. In 2020, the volunteers won the Canadian Museums Association's Museum Volunteer Award. This award recognizes individuals or groups who give generously of their time and commitment to a museum and who have made a significant impact within the museum community."

Following the brief presentations, attendees were able to watch a demonstration of the turntable operation, and then relax by viewing some of the historic vehicle collection and taking a ride on the passenger train. Exporail is a museum that responds to the public`s need to engage with history through a fun and unique railway experience—one that will continue to improve for decades to come. The Canadian Railway Museum was created on July 21,1961, a symbolic date since it also commemorates the inaugural trip on the first railway in Canada between La Prairie and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (July 21, 1836). Renamed Exporail in 2004, the Museum is located in the two cities of Delson and Saint-Constant and is thus in the heart of the region considered as the birthplace of railways in Quebec and Canada.

Accredited by the Quebec government, Exporail has an impressive collection, unequalled in the country, composed of 180 vehicles and 12,000 artefacts. In addition, the BAnQ-accredited private archive centre holds over 320 archival fonds and collections and has a documentation centre with over 12,000 books and magazines on the history of rail transportation in Canada from 1773 to the present.

In 2020, our 140 volunteers won the prestigious National Volunteer Award from the Canadian Museums Association and the Canadian Federation of Friends of Museums. We couldn't be prouder to celebrate 60 years of dynamic achievement here in Quebec.

About Exporail

Exporail's regular activities are funded in part by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications of Québec and receives support from the cities of Saint-Constant and Delson. Special projects of Exporail are supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage and Employment and Social Development Canada. Exporail also receives support from Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, theCanadian Railroad Historical Association Foundation, CN, CP, VIA Rail Canada, Molson Coors Beverage Company, Emploi-Québec Montérégie, Municipalité régionale de comté (MRC) de Roussillon, exo, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), the YMCA of Greater Toronto, the Société des musées du Québec and the Canadian Museums Association.

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Minister of Transport releases statement launching public consultation to improve the safety culture within Canada’s railway industry

The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, issued this statement regarding Transport Canada's latest efforts to improve the safety culture of Canada's rail industry:

"The Government of Canada is committed to the safety and security of communities across the country, which is why we continue to look for ways to improve rail safety.

"Today, Transport Canada launched a public consultation on the Let's Talk Transportation Web page to gauge views on improving the safety culture within Canada's rail industry.

"Safety culture comes from organizations developing shared values, actions and behaviours, along with a sense of collective responsibility and commitment to upholding the standard of safety.

"Transport Canada is committed to taking the lead on developing a safety culture policy statement for the railway industry in response to a recommendation from the 2018 Railway Safety Act review, recognizing that safety culture improvements must be driven by railway companies with support by the department.

"The draft policy statement is intended to open a dialogue and to encourage continued collaboration between Transport Canada, railway companies, industry associations, labour organizations and academia, while helping to position Canada's rail transportation system to meet the challenges of the next decade.

"We know that a positive safety culture is a key component of a safe railway system and a necessary factor for continuous improvement. Transport Canada will work with the rail industry and other key stakeholders towards a final safety culture policy statement for the Canada's rail industry, which provides a framework to help railway companies understand and address the challenges involved in building a good safety culture.

"Public consultation is a key component in developing a robust culture policy statement for Canada's railway industry.

"I encourage Canadians to provide feedback on the draft statement for Canada's rail industry, as every voice and opinion counts."

Source : Transport Canada

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Minister of Transport releases statement launching public consultation to improve the safety culture within Canada’s railway industry

The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, issued this statement regarding Transport Canada's latest efforts to improve the safety culture of Canada's rail industry:

"The Government of Canada is committed to the safety and security of communities across the country, which is why we continue to look for ways to improve rail safety.

"Today, Transport Canada launched a public consultation on the Let's Talk Transportation Web page to gauge views on improving the safety culture within Canada's rail industry.

"Safety culture comes from organizations developing shared values, actions and behaviours, along with a sense of collective responsibility and commitment to upholding the standard of safety.

"Transport Canada is committed to taking the lead on developing a safety culture policy statement for the railway industry in response to a recommendation from the 2018 Railway Safety Act review, recognizing that safety culture improvements must be driven by railway companies with support by the department.

"The draft policy statement is intended to open a dialogue and to encourage continued collaboration between Transport Canada, railway companies, industry associations, labour organizations and academia, while helping to position Canada's rail transportation system to meet the challenges of the next decade.

"We know that a positive safety culture is a key component of a safe railway system and a necessary factor for continuous improvement. Transport Canada will work with the rail industry and other key stakeholders towards a final safety culture policy statement for the Canada's rail industry, which provides a framework to help railway companies understand and address the challenges involved in building a good safety culture.

"Public consultation is a key component in developing a robust culture policy statement for Canada's railway industry.

"I encourage Canadians to provide feedback on the draft statement for Canada's rail industry, as every voice and opinion counts."

Source : Transport Canada

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Discussing the Gatineau Tramway with Maude Marquis-Bissonnette, Mayoral Candidate - July 2021

Discussing the Gatineau Tramway with Maude Marquis-Bissonnette, Mayoral Candidate - July 2021 -

The Gatineau Tramway, proposed for the west-end of the city, will transform public transit, most notably in the Plateau and Aylmer sectors, which currently do not have any rapid transit offered. 

In this discussion with Maude Marquis-Bissonnette (Mayoral Candidate, Leader of Action Gatineau, and councillor for Plateau), we discuss the tramway project, the eventual rapibus conversion, the tramway insertion into Ottawa, and the 6th crossing between Gatineau-Ottawa. 

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TransLink to Undertake Major Upgrade to Burrard SkyTrain Station

TransLink today announced that it will be proceeding with a major upgrade to Burrard SkyTrain Station beginning in early 2022. The project will take approximately two years to complete and will require the closure of the station to allow the work to be done safely and more efficiently than were it to remain partially open during construction.

Burrard SkyTrain Station was originally built in 1985 and has not had a significant upgrade in its 36 years of operation. It is the fourth busiest station on the SkyTrain system and at peak times it is congested with only three escalators and one elevator to move people in and out. Station entrances are hard to access and the station will require upgrades to the electrical equipment in order to meet the power demands of the new station.

The upgrades to Burrard Station will:

  • Double the number of escalators and elevators to provide greater accessibility and relieve congestion on platforms and at the concourse level;
  • Relocate the Burrard Street entrance to align with the pedestrian crossing making it easier to get in and out of the station, and provide better access to buses along Dunsmuir;
  • Redesign the station's outdoor plaza to put pedestrian needs at the forefront; and,
  • Upgrade the station's power supply and mechanical systems.

"These significant upgrades are necessary to keep our transit system operating effectively and efficiently for our customers," said TransLink Interim CEO Gigi Chen-Kuo. "With more than 7.6 million annual boardings in 2019, Burrard Station is the fourth busiest station on our SkyTrain network. These upgrades will greatly improve the customer experience and as the region prepares to welcome one million new residents by the year 2050, this important project allows us to be prepared for additional future demand."

To best manage construction during these important upgrades, we will be closing Burrard Station for approximately two years starting in early 2022. Closing the station during construction:

  • Improves customer and worker safety by eliminating the risks of customer movement through a major, underground, active construction site;
  • Minimizes confusion associated with multiple changes to customer travel patterns through numerous complex phases of construction;
  • Reduces overall construction time for the project and therefore shortens impacts to customer travel by approximately two and a half years; and
  • Provides cost savings of approximately $35 million.

TransLink will work with the City of Vancouver, and local businesses and residents to minimize impacts while we complete these upgrades.

Based on pre-Covid ridership data, Waterfront and Granville Stations can accommodate the additional passenger flow during the Burrard Station closure. Additional bus service will also be added in the area to help minimize passenger impact.

To minimize impacts on our bus and HandyDART customers, bus service will remain largely the same throughout the construction period and HandyDART customers connecting to the Expo Line will have access at Waterfront Station.

As plans are finalized later this year, we will provide more details to help ready our customers for the start of construction in early 2022.

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Discussion on the Stations of O-Train Line 1 with Jeff (J.OT13) - June 2021

Discussion on the Stations of O-Train Line 1 with Jeff (J.OT13) - June 2021
O-Train Line 1 features 13 stations, spread over a length of 12.5km and opened in September 2019. 

In this discussion with Jeff (J.OT13 on the Rail Fans community), we discuss and provide commentary on all 13 stations, including the highlights and the areas that they could have been done differently or have room to be improved upon. 

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  • 00:00 - Opening 
  • 00:19 - Introduction 
  • 01:11 - Blair Station 
  • 03:59 - Cyrville Station 
  • 05:05 - St-Laurent Station 
  • 07:30 - Tremblay Station 
  • 10:05 - Hurdman Station 
  • 12:50 - Lees Station 
  • 14:57 - uOttawa Station 
  • 17:26 - Rideau Station 
  • 22:56 - Parliament Station 
  • 27:19 - Lyon Station 
  • 32:15 - Pimisi Station 
  • 36:27 - Bayview Station 
  • 41:48 - Tunney's Pasture Station 
  • 47:59 - Closing
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Keele becomes 53rd accessible subway station

Keele Station on Line 2 Bloor-Danforth has become the TTC's 53rd station to provide accessible access to the subway system.

The accessible station is served by two brand new elevators that connect street level to the subway platform level. Other improvements to the station include four sets of accessible sliding doors at the station, Presto-enabled accessible fare gates, improved signage, wayfinding and security features, reconstructed bus loop pavement and platform, and a new fire alarm system for the station.

"The opening of TTC's accessible Keele Station demonstrates our continued commitment to making the TTC accessible and equitable. As the TTC's 53rd accessible station and 21st station with elevators on Line 2, it underscores our city's longstanding commitment to serve residents of all abilities. Thank you to the TTC, the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit, and our partners who are working to ensure residents of all abilities can use public transit with dignity and ease," said Mayor John Tory.

"The TTC is working hard to make its vehicles, facilities and services more accessible for all passengers. By making Keele Station accessible, we are continuing the transformation toward becoming a barrier-free transit system," said TTC Chair Jaye Robinson.

"We are very pleased that Keele has become the latest accessible subway station in our system," said TTC CEO Rick Leary. "Improvements like this support the TTC's Family of Services model and give our customers the choice to use accessible, conventional transit services, such as the bus or subway."

Keele Station is now an easy and accessible connection point to the many excellent shops and restaurants in the Bloor West Village, St. Joseph's Health Centre by accessible bus and many neighbourhood points of interest.

The TTC thanks customers, residents and surrounding BIAs for their patience during construction as we work to improve transit in Toronto. The TTC also commends staff who worked to find and implement innovative solutions to the complicated task of installing elevators while maintaining service at this west-end subway station.

Easier Access work continues at the following stations: Donlands, College, Sherbourne, Yorkdale and Lansdowne. In 2021, the TTC is scheduled to begin Easier Access construction at nine more stations: Castle Frank, Christie, Glencairn, Greenwood, Lawrence, Museum, Rosedale, Spadina and Summerhill.

Accessibility improvements such as these support the TTC's Family of Services model, which gives Wheel-Trans customers the option to use accessible conventional transit services, such as buses, trains and low-floor streetcars. Family of Services is a part of the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy that aims to reimagine and transform the accessible public transit services that are delivered to customers with disabilities.

Source : TTC

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Statement by Minister Alghabra and the Parliamentary Secretary Martinez Ferrada to mark the eighth anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic rail tragedy

The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, and Soraya Martinez Ferrada, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, have issued the following statement to mark the eighth anniversary of the tragedy that devastated the town of Lac–Mégantic and the surrounding municipalities:

"On July 6, 2013, the town of Lac-Mégantic fell victim to an unimaginable tragedy, the worst accident in the country's railroad history, which took the lives of 47 people and left families in mourning.

This tragedy sent shockwaves across Canada and will forever be etched in our country's collective memory.

Today, let us take a moment to reflect and remember this terrible accident that has forever left its mark on Lac-Mégantic.

This anniversary also reminds us of the importance of continuing our hard work aimed at making our rail system even safer for Canadians. Rail safety remains our top priority, and that of our department.

In addition, we will continue our efforts to ensure that the Lac-Mégantic rail bypass project moves forward as quickly as possible. This bypass is much more than just a rail infrastructure project. It is about supporting the rebuilding of the communities of Lac–Mégantic, Nantes and Frontenac. The project will continue to be a priority for the Government of Canada up until its full completion in 2023.

On this sombre anniversary, we want to reassure the people of Lac-Mégantic that we will continue to provide you with our unconditional support."

Source : Transport Canada

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The Government of Canada is taking the first steps in preparing for the procurement process to build a new train service in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor

VIA Rail - HFR Announcement - July 6, 2021

The Government of Canada is committed to modernizing intercity passenger rail services in a way that will best meet the transportation needs of travellers, while also creating jobs and economic growth.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, the President of the Treasury Board, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Joël Lightbound, the Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, Ehren Cory, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Via Rail, Cynthia Garneau and the Mayor of Quebec, Régis Labeaume, announced the Government of Canada is taking the first steps in preparing for the procurement process to build a new train service in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor.

These steps include:

  • Engaging Indigenous groups and communities to obtain feedback on the project.
  • Engaging with the private sector to determine capacity, and seek perspectives on the best possible delivery model. The Government of Canada plans to finalize the delivery model and launch the process to select a private partner in the fall.
  • Accelerating dialogue with partner railways to negotiate dedicated routes in and out of city centres.

The request for proposal for the procurement process is expected to launch in fall 2021.

The High Frequency Rail proposal in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor involves building dedicated passenger rail tracks which would provide many key benefits to travellers, including:

  • shorter travel times and faster trains that would reduce average trip times between Toronto and Ottawa by up to 90 minutes;
  • more reliable on-time arrival performance up to 95 per cent from a current average of 67 per cent;
  • more direct routes with improved connectivity between cities and to other modes of transportation;
  • new services to certain communities, such as Peterborough, Trois-Rivières, and Laval, and new stations in targeted locations including near Jean Lesage Airport;
  • more frequent departures between cities; and
  • a cleaner travel option using electrified technology.

Working with VIA Rail, the High Frequency Rail proposal would be the largest transportation infrastructure project seen by Canada in decades, which is why the Government of Canada is doing its due diligence and undertaking a phased approach to put in place the right conditions to ensure the greatest amount of success for this project.

Quotes

"Canadians deserve a fast and reliable train service. Today, we are taking the first steps in preparing for the procurement process to build a new train service in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor. High Frequency Rail in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor is a massive transportation project with the potential to transform passenger rail service by offering faster, more reliable, more frequent, and cleaner transportation service."

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

"Today's announcement on the start of preliminary work and new resources for the Joint Project Office brings us one step closer to accomplishing this important project for our city and our region. In a few years, thousands of commuters will opt for this way of travelling, rather than by car or by plane, as it will be faster, more reliable, economical and environmentally sustainable."

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
President of the Treasury Board and Member of Parliament for Québec

"Today, we are taking an important step towards the creation of High Frequency Rail in the Toronto to Quebec City corridor. Our government has been working relentlessly to move this major project forward as quickly as possible. It will serve as new pillar for regional economic development, while supporting labour mobility and green mobility."

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

"Not only would High Frequency Rail in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor provide a more convenient and greener travel option, but it would also help increase accessibility of our local businesses, create jobs and boost the economic growth in the Quebec region."

Joël Lightbound
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

"The Canada Infrastructure Bank is very pleased to continue our work related to the planning and procurement of enhanced passenger rail transportation in the Quebec City to Toronto corridor. We look forward to gaining further insight through market engagements with industry experts, rail-sector stakeholders and investors, as we collaborate with the Government of Canada on potential delivery models. We will bring our expertise in leveraging public, private and institutional investment to support the next steps to modernize intercity passenger rail."

Ehren Cory
CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank

"Since proposing High Frequency Rail more than five years ago, VIA Rail has been working tirelessly to ensure it becomes a reality. We are thus pleased with the decisive steps that have been announced as it brings us closer to that objective and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the federal government as a strong partner in delivering High Frequency Rail. It's time to provide Canadians with a nation-building, growth-generating and environmentally friendly project which will transform the way present and future generations live and travel."

Cynthia Garneau
VIA Rail Canada President and Chief Executive Officer

"With our focus firmly fixed on sustainable development, Quebec City eagerly welcomes the Government of Canada's decision to launch VIA Rail's proposal for a High Frequency Rail project, which will connect Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. In particular, this project will help contribute to environmentally sustainable economic recovery, while enhancing travellers' mobility and experience."

Mr. Régis Labeaume
The Mayor of Quebec

Quick facts
  • The Government of Canada has been working closely with VIA Rail and the Canada Infrastructure Bank to make significant progress in designing and planning an improved passenger rail service between Toronto and Quebec City that will deliver good value for taxpayers and better options for travellers.
  • A dedicated passenger track would allow a travel speed up to 177-200 kilometers per hour (or 110-124 miles per hour), which could result in reduced travel times of up to 90 minutes on some routes, such as Ottawa to Toronto.
  • It is expected that High Frequency Rail could nearly triple the amount of annual trips taken by rail in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor, rising from 4.8 million in 2019, to a projected 17 million by 2059.

Ongoing efforts for High Frequency Rail in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor

Backgrounder

As a result of having to share track owned primarily by freight rail companies, VIA Rail's services often experience longer journey times, slower speeds, limited trip frequency, and poor on-time performance, which ultimately constrains its operating and financial performance in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor.

In response to these challenges, VIA Rail submitted a proposal to the Government of Canada for High Frequency Rail in 2016.

Transport Canada, Infrastructure Canada, and Finance Canada have been working with VIA Rail and the Canada Infrastructure Bank to conduct an in-depth assessment of VIA Rail's proposal. The result of this work will help inform the Government of Canada's final investment decisions for the project.

Significant progress has been made in designing and planning an improved passenger rail service between Toronto and Quebec City that will deliver good value for taxpayers and better options for travellers.

In order to ensure there is sufficient rigour and robustness in the assessment of VIA Rail's High Frequency Rail proposal, the Government of Canada has been moving ahead with a phased and prudent approach to support its decision-making.

  • Budget 2016 provided $3.3 million over three years for Transport Canada to conduct an initial, in-depth assessment of VIA Rail's High Frequency Rail proposal.
  • Budget 2018 provided $8 million for Transport Canada to undertake foundational work to advance VIA Rail's proposal. This work supported further economic analysis of key issues, including: revenue and ridership projections along with estimates for capital and operating costs. This funding also went towards:
    • exploring opportunities to leverage private investment or a potential role for the Canada Infrastructure Bank; and
    • assessing some of the potential social, economic and environmental impacts of the project.
  • A total of $71.1million was provided in 2019 to further explore VIA Rail's proposal. This included:
    • $55 million from Canada Infrastructure Bank to create a Joint Project Office, between the Canada Infrastructure Bank and VIA Rail, which has been focusing on key de-risking activities for the project (e.g., engaging with third parties for access to key urban areas, conducting geo-technical and surveying work to prepare for future assessments of environmental impacts, preparing to engage Canadians and Indigenous communities on the project, etc.).
    • $16.1million for Transport Canada and VIA Rail to support VIA Rail's contributions to the important work of the Joint Project Office. This also funded technical work to explore the options for interoperability and integration of high frequency rail with operating tracks used by local and regional transit providers in Montreal and Toronto.
  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $4.4 million in 2021-2022 to Transport Canada and VIA Rail to support their work with the Joint Project Office, which would be used to complete the necessary analysis and assessment of options to reduce possible risks associated with a project of this magnitude.
  • In addition, Budget 2021 proposes to provide $491.2 million over six years, starting in 2021-2022, for infrastructure investments which would help VIA Rail take an important step towards transforming passenger rail service in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor. These investments would support the project by reducing some existing bottlenecks and improving fluidity and connectivity in the nearer-term.
Source : Transport Canada
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Transition to a Zero-Emission Bus Fleet with Pat Scrimgeour, Director of Transit Customer Systems and Planning - June 2021

Transition to a Zero-Emission Bus Fleet with Pat Scrimgeour, Director of Transit Customer Systems and Planning - June 2021 -

OC Transpo in Ottawa has recently announced its intention and plan to transition to a Zero-Emission Bus Fleet by 2035. 

In this discussion with Pat Scrimgeour, Director of Transit Customer Systems and Planning, we talk about this important endeavour towards battling Climate Change.

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