Ottawa’s light rail transit system will welcome passengers on board Friday morning, the city manager confirmed Wednesday after receiving final approval from city-hired rail safety consultants.
Transportation Resource Associates (TRA) sent a letter to City Manager Steve Kanellakos on Wednesday stating that the company was satisfied with Rideau Transit Group’s work to make the Confederation Line LRT safe for riders after a nearly eight shutdown. weeks due to the September 19 derailment.
“Based on TRA’s determination and recommendation, the City agrees that all due diligence requirements have been met,” wrote Kanellakos.
The service will start with seven trains on the track and at least one spare in the yard, but Kanellakos told media Wednesday afternoon that he expects multiple trains to be available in case of disruptions.
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He added that Ottawa Transit General Manager Renée Amilcar should be able to make a call Friday morning to find out if full service on the line would be ready by December, which is tentatively scheduled to offer free rides throughout the system.
Kanellakos also said the two trains that collided in the yard Monday morning are “at the end of the line” to return to service.
While he didn’t have many firm details on why the two vehicles collided with each other, causing some damage to both but not injury, he said the two trains were believed to be not properly connected as they were being towed through the yard.
Despite the problems in the yard, Kanellakos said the last days of testing on the Confederation Line have been “basically perfect” in terms of simulated duty.
“I think people can be very sure that these trains are safe,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mayor Jim Watson told reporters Wednesday that he recently had an “I come to Jesus” meeting with RTG bosses where he expressed his “anger on behalf of the passengers and taxpayers of the City of Ottawa.”
“I think a couple of them are now in the Ottawa Hospital burn unit because I was pretty hard on them, because they put us through enough.”
His comments came after the city council stuck with an LRT audit rather than a judicial investigation into the troubled system.
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