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

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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.




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