Ottawa’s LRT system will return to two-car service starting Monday

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Double car service will return to the Confederation Line starting Monday.

Two-car trains will run on weekdays, Richard Holder, The director of engineering services for the city of Ottawa said:a note to councilors on Friday.

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“Larger trains will accommodate customer volumes during peak hours on the system, improving customer convenience,” Holder’s memo said. “The trains will run approximately every five or six minutes.”

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As OC Transpo prepared to return to service after a shutdown last summer, fleet managers turned to single trains to adapt to a new inspection regime that required axle replacement every 60,000 kilometers, instead of every 175,000 kilometers, as had been the practice.

The trains were retired from service on July 17 After a routine maintenance inspection, excess grease was found on an axle. The new inspection regime was introduced. to satisfy a safety note provided by Alstom, which makes the LRT trains, and Rideau Transit Group, which maintains the rail transit system.

As a result, OC Transpo had to carefully manage the supply of vehicles to ensure there were enough ready to operate while meeting requirements for more frequent replacement of wheel assemblies.

The switch to two-car trains is now possible thanks to a new measure that extends the life of wheel hub assemblies while ensuring the safe operation of the fleet, Holder said.

At a joint meeting of the transit commission and light rail subcommittee on Dec. 14, transit staff provided an update on a proposal to add cotter pins to the retaining nut on axle hubs to extend their life. The new sets were installed on a test train that ran along the track with a load that simulated a car full of passengers. The test train had to travel 1,500 kilometers without problems before making a decision.

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The new inspection regime has been complicated by supply chain issues and has required careful fleet management to maintain service, including the use of single-car trains, Holder’s memo to councilors adds.

“Rideau Transit Maintenance has completed the necessary testing and analysis of the proposed lug nut fixing solution,” he said. “OC Transpo and Transportation Resource Associates are pleased that safety requirements have been met and that bushing assemblies with the lug nut locking solution can now be deployed on vehicles in service.”

Holder added that the rigorous inspections and maintenance requirements in the safety note were maintained as a “containment measure” until the vehicle supplier was confident the program could be modified.

A test train will operate during regular service hours over the coming months to generate additional data to ensure continued safety, allowing for early detection of potential issues.

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