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Confederation Line - Opening September 14, 2019


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Thank you David for the very kind words. It was an honour and a very exciting moment for me. Happy everyone will be able to ride it very soon (3 weeks today)!!!

I'll do my best later today to discuss the ride experience and what I thought. If anyone has any questions, please let me know and I'll be sure to do my best to answer them here.

There are also some additional photos from the ride here : https://www.otrainfans.ca/news/experience-the-full-confederation-line-through-a-continuous-ride-from-blair-to-tunney-s-pasture-stations

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The Announcement and Technical Briefing / Q&A videos are now available for you all to see (if you didn't catch it yesterday in our livestream).

 

 

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To go with the announcement today, here is the video of the end-to-end ride, that I was fortunate to be a part of.  

Rideau Transit Group is asking for some requirements for RSA to be waived to meet the Nov 2 or it will not meet the date. Modification of Fleet Size. Partial opening of Rideau Station

LRT's going to be open on Sept. 14th. Finally! I was starting to think they would keep pushing it back. However, it's also bittersweet news because it means our Orion VII NG hybrids will be

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Judging by Shane's video of the full ride, it looks like our trains are wider then Montreal's Azur train. Is it just a visual impression ? Does anybody have numbers to help me out?
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Also, one thing I noticed is that we will indeed have small digital screens like the Azurs. For now it looks like they'll only be displaying time and stations but It would be a good idea if they could add weather forcast, news, adverts or even interstation progress like they do in Montreal.
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Finally one thing I'm pretty disapointed about is the lighting and colour display inside the train. Not to say the least, our trains look pretty conservative, no fancy colours, pretty blend and white, basic OC Transpo coulour code and same goes for the light display inside the trains. I wished they would've put more effort in making the trains more ''eye attractive''.

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I am quite fond of the Azur trains. The colour scheme and layout is really eye catching and enjoyable to be in.

You are correct. I don't have the numbers but I believe the Azur and MR-73 are not standard gauge. The Spirits are, and even if the difference in width isn't large, they are still bigger. Maybe later I'll check up on the actual numbers and report back if someone else hasn't already.

Of note, in the ride on Friday, the train was not calling out the stops or stations, either by announcement or on the display, no doubt as they were running a highly scripted run on the line.

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2 hours ago, Shane said:

You are correct. I don't have the numbers but I believe the Azur and MR-73 are not standard gauge. The Spirits are, and even if the difference in width isn't large, they are still bigger. Maybe later I'll check up on the actual numbers and report back if someone else hasn't already.

MPM-10 is 2.51m wide, outside shell dimensions of course.

CS is 2.65m wide.

I am not sure why OC went for such a bland interior, most notably the generic blue seats observed on almost all public transit services. Red seats, or a patterns integrating the O logo would have been unique, though more expensive. I am always conflicted about the livery of the CS: it doesn’t look complete as it seems to be designed with having the 5th car in the near future, but doesn’t feel “inspired” either way...

Don’t get me wrong, I think they are amazing vehicles, though they chose the blandest combinations for the visual identity.

Regarding gauge, they are both standard, though the running band for the pneumatic is probably giving the impression of a tighter gauge.

Edited by DavidBellerive
Gauge dimensions.
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Thank you for the info, so I wasn't wrong after all ?
Concerning the interior, the difference is even more stricking when you compare it to all the other networks accros the country... Bad point on OC Transpo here for choosing style standardisation. Concidering how important the project is they could've done better, much better. 
Calgary's very spacy C-Train ''Mask'':
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Vancouver Skytrain ''Mark 3'' is probably the closest to Ottawa's ... But the trains are Blue, Grey and Yellow so quite logic here:

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Edmonton LRT is also pretty bland but then again in line with the train colour:

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Toronto ''TTC Rocket'' trains, basicly what we should've went for... : 
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Edited by Matth69000
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I think what makes it "worse" in my book is the fact that other designs, with more exciting palettes, were already proposed by RTG and Alstom as part of the process.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xnIbutbaqM

While they are not all "better", it shows it was considered to have a more exciting visual identity for the trains.

When it comes to the layout, I think we are seeing compromises that come from a full low-floor vehicle, namely the position of the bogeys. Higher trains, like the TTC Rocket or Calgary have the benefit of the bogeys being under the customer space giving them way more space to work with. A visual identity really brings together a transit network IMO, which is why some networks are iconic, for example Berlin's U-Bahn or New-York's MTA. Somewhat of a missed opportunity there...

Given how much care was given in crafting the whole O-Train branding, the trains are disappointing in the identity aspect, but hopefully will be a high-point for the riders. I am still super excited to ride the rails starting on the 14th, and can't wait to explore our new toy! ?

On 2019-08-25 at 5:21 PM, Shane said:

Of note, in the ride on Friday, the train was not calling out the stops or stations, either by announcement or on the display, no doubt as they were running a highly scripted run on the line.

It was likely the best course of action, as it was meant to be a media / dignitary demonstration of the network, and those features would have made the event "less enjoyable". I would assume the announcements will be similar to the ones used on the Trilium line, both in format and content.

Also, as stupid as it sounds, I am REALLY glad they chose a tri-tone (sounds like quad, but you get the idea.) like the one they chose, as it is so much more enjoyable to hear than the obnoxious beeping on the Trillium vehicles. Watching the train ride, it is crazy how it feels "big city" when you see Lyon and hear the trains go through. Also, it looks like there is a rough in for a fifth ticket machine on both end of Lyon, a feature likely duplicated at Parliament.

Another observation I just came across: at the concourse level, the next train display does not indicate on which platform the next departure is, though it would likely be redundant given the "obvious" nature of the next platform. Also it is the first time I notice the next train display switching the message between french and english, though it might just be inattention on my end.

Edited by DavidBellerive
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I understand why they opted for low-floor light-rail at the time (for the possibility of running at grade in certain areas) however, in hindsight, it was not the best choice (as we now know the system will be fully grade separated). My two biggest issues about the choice are 1. that the moniker "LRT" will always be tied to the system even though it has little in common with classic LRT other than the vehicle itself. Ours truly is a light-metro, matching and, in some cases, exceeding Vancouver's Skytrain in speed and capacity. And 2. as David alluded to, it greatly reduces our options in terms of interior configuration. A few rows of two double seats result in a very narrow walkway, the 4 driver cabs take up a lot of space (now that they've decided to only run doubles and not singles on evenings and weekends, two cabs are uselessly taken up space) and the gangways are quite narrow as well (more to do with the design of the vehicle and not low-floor LRT).

I'm also not a fan of the interior and exterior design. Particularly the old OC Transpo "swoosh" that is no longer part of the overall branding, which was updated soon after the final design of the new trains were revealed. For the interior, no one can't compete with the Azure, but a few changes like unique patters on the seat, a different colour for the gang-ways to make them pop, green and red lighting for the doors and other changes would have made the trains more interesting. The City missed a golden opportunity to engage citizens by opting not to have an online poll for the design of the livery and interior, as did Montreal and many others. 

That said, I do like the spacious areas inside the trains near the doors. Huge improvement over the current bus fleet. Easy to get and and get out for short distances. The design of the interior is quite plain, however the seats and grab handles are very visible (just like the buses), which is good. And since the trains are more geared towards suburban commuters, we could argue that the low-floor design with more seats might actually be a good thing. 

 

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On 2019-08-25 at 5:21 PM, Shane said:

Of note, in the ride on Friday, the train was not calling out the stops or stations, either by announcement or on the display, no doubt as they were running a highly scripted run on the line.

11 hours ago, DavidBellerive said:

It was likely the best course of action, as it was meant to be a media / dignitary demonstration of the network, and those features would have made the event "less enjoyable". I would assume the announcements will be similar to the ones used on the Trilium line, both in format and content.

My taxidermist mentioned that he heard that was actually just an unfortunate defect, not uncommon. It was definitely a highly scripted event though. They even did a couple test runs beforehand. 

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I know I'm a bit late on this but here are some comments/points on the ride I was able to enjoy on Friday.

  • The train lines up very nicely with the platforms. The gap between the 'slight extender' from the doors to the platform I would say is less than 2 inches. The doors open and close quite smoothly. It does make the three tone sound and announcement when the doors open and close. I wasn't expecting it when it closed so I can't comment how much notice it does give before the doors do start closing.
  • The train accelerates quite nicely and you can feel the power come on as it ramps out of the station.
  • The ride itself is smooth, and you do feel the left to right swaying now and then, but much less than what is exhibited on the Trillium Line trains.
  • Noise levels are quite low when outdoors and on ballasted track.
  • When the train passes on to track without ballast underneath, the sound does increase, but inside the train it isn't bad or annoying. I would say that it is indeed quieter than Montreal's MR-73 and even the Azur. The sound is different (steel wheels vs rubber tires) but it is less drowning, and easier to talk over.
  • In the ride they held on Friday, they had an operator at both end cabs. No doubt to allow a quick turn around at Tunney's Pasture to return to Lyon. The train entered Tunney's Pasture station by passing over the crossover to dock at the opposite side's platform, ready for departure.
  • When the train arrived at Tunney's Pasture, it remained for several minutes. The next train displays at the platform showed the status HELD for the next two trains.

Obviously, the highlight is entering the downtown tunnel and the underground stations. Extremely impressive and the big city feeling has finally arrived in Ottawa.

Very smooth, nice lighting, the air conditioning was just right, not too hot or cold. Despite people sitting around all over, it was still easy to pass through and circulate between the different modules from front to back.

Lyon Station is massive, the concourse level is huge. Very impressive in size and scope. The platforms are not small and have ample space to pass around people standing. Add to this the many stairs, escalators and elevators to platform level, all coming together to spread out the flow of passengers across the platform.

I was hoping the exit would have been done through the standalone Lyon entrance, but we were directed out by the Place de Ville podium entrance to Queen street. Didn't get to ride the elevators, which I was hoping to have done. They are filled with plenty of glass and it would have been neat to see the views change going up and down. They also seem to go quite a distance from the concourse to street level.

Overall, a great experience. Once I won't soon forget. I am very happy to have been invited to partake in this amazing moment for our city. Looking forward to the opening in a few weeks.

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I just received the notice for media of the plans for the opening day media event for the Confederation Line.

Not too many specifics on what is planned.

Saturday, September 14th, at 10am to noon. It will take place at Tunney's Pasture station. The official opening event will include a ceremonial ride along the full length of the Confederation Line, from Tunney's Pasture Station to Blair Station and back.

Space is limited and only registered media will receive a media badge and access to the event.

Media will be allowed to use cameras on the train during opening day only. After opening day, the City will resume its normal policy of not allowing cameras on any transit vehicle in order to respect the privacy of our customers and not interfere with transit service to our customers.

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1 hour ago, Shane said:

Media will be allowed to use cameras on the train during opening day only. After opening day, the City will resume its normal policy of not allowing cameras on any transit vehicle in order to respect the privacy of our customers and not interfere with transit service to our customers.

What remains to be seen is how strongly this will be enforced. Unless Constables are at every station all the time, it will be relatively difficult to enforce.

Planning to attend the event? Initially planned to, but too busy to get a media accreditation, and thought it would be something more inline to what Waterloo did a few months back.

Given the timing of the event, I guess we can assume regular service will start at noon?

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1 hour ago, Shane said:

Media will be allowed to use cameras on the train during opening day only. After opening day, the City will resume its normal policy of not allowing cameras on any transit vehicle in order to respect the privacy of our customers and not interfere with transit service to our customers.

Transit vehicles. So cameras might be allowed at transit stations? This goes against the policies plastered at station entrances, but could suggest a certain tolerance for non-commercial usage such as YouTube Videos or websites such as these. 

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In fact, I’ve spoken to several at OC Transpo’s communications department, in particular about my own situation with O-Train Fans. As I want to be viewed and treated like media for access to do the behind the scenes videos and maintain a good working relationship with them moving forward, I was advised it would be best to send in media requests whenever I want to do photography to have proper clearance and approval. They would be considered and approved as I went if there was no issues. On-train requests would most likely not be approved. Stations are all depending on when. It all comes down to privacy reasons related to the customers. 

They did say to take advantage of the opening day as that would be an exception and my best chance at doing what I want to do. 

Thats my plan for the 14th.

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I know we are getting further away from the actual topic of this thread, but anyone knows how it compares with other cities policies regarding camera use? Many cities require permits for video production, though only in the case of "professional productions". I can't really picture OC starting to fine tourists or others as they take picture on the network, as I would believe there is no real expectation of privacy on public transit.

Of course, the line between stalking / creeping on someone vs just "filming the trains" can become grey real quick, and probably not worth the risk for most of us. We're lucky that OC is "not actively protesting" a platform like this one, as some cities could see it as promoting trespassing or endangering operations. Kinda like when it comes to airports and plane-spotting: YOW is probably the strictest airport in Canada and the least friendly, while YQB actually installed "camera holes" on runway ends for spotters. The mindset really depends on how everyone looks at it, and how they believe it could affect service or reputation.

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11 hours ago, DavidBellerive said:

...........

Kinda like when it comes to airports and plane-spotting: YOW is probably the strictest airport in Canada and the least friendly, while YQB actually installed "camera holes" on runway ends for spotters. The mindset really depends on how everyone looks at it, and how they believe it could affect service or reputation.

Good Day.

Ahem.....   Check in on that with any aircraft spotter forum - These measures now are a huge relaxation from what hit them after 9-11. They were totally banned and kicked out from any areas around the airports, let alone at the end-of-runway spots. Many had to get certification and demonstrate security measures and protocols, including IDentification and clearances, in order to be allowed back in any way-shape-form. It was, and remains to this day, a matter of SECURITY. And it is about to get worse again for them given the stupidity of some rogue drone operators. So, hold the feeling of officious excesses down a notch. It applies to subways and LRT RoW as well. I think they are actually doing a good job of balancing, for the most part (as always, with rare exceptions).

EnJoy!

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