Trillium Line Review Issues 47 Recommendations to City of Ottawa

“We now have a very good understanding of how risks are identified and how they are addressed.”

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An independent review of the Trillium Line LRT has given the city of Ottawa 47 recommendations on everything from system design and construction to employee training and train maintenance.

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The review, which was requested by the council in January 2022, was conducted by SYSTRA Canada Inc. and was delivered to the city’s Light Rail Subcommittee on Friday.

Among their recommendations is that the new Stadler FLIRT diesel trains to run on the north-south Trillium line undergo additional cold weather testing to ensure that the doors will work in freezing rain and that the trains can start after sitting idle for the night under freezing temperatures.

It also recommends that the city purchase an eighth Stadler train as a spare to ensure it can maintain its planned 12-minute service should one of the other seven trains break down. The city, however, rejected that, saying it cannot afford the $18.5 million cost of an additional train. Instead, he says that if one of the trains is out of service, he can keep the schedule short by shortening the time trains spend stopped at stations.

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Other recommendations are very technical, such as: “We recommend adding the EN50500 standard and the ICNIRP standard to the EMC control plan to ensure that the impact of EMC/EMI on human health in the rail environment is measured and within specifications.” standard”.

The city’s director of rail construction, Michael Morgan, also updated the subcommittee on the progress of the Trillium Line (it is still expected to begin carrying passengers in the fall) and showed them a sample of the daily reports councilors will receive during the trial period.

The Confederation Line tests were notoriously secret, and the councilmen never reported the test failures or even that the city had decided, mid-test, to lower the passing grade.

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Earl Glen Gower sits on the subcommittee and was on the previous council when the Confederation Line launched in 2019. He said the amount of information councilors are getting this time around is “like night and day”.

glen gower ottawa city hall lrt
Earl Glen Gower says the amount of information he and his colleagues receive during the construction of the Trillium Line is like “night and day” of the situation during work leading up to the opening of the Confederation Line in 2019. Photo by Tony Caldwell /postmedia

“The level of detail that we are getting is much, much higher than it was in 2019,” Gower said after Friday’s meeting. “We didn’t get daily reports in 2019, let alone get a chance to assess what they would look like. The awareness we have this time is much greater.

“As councillors, we cannot go in and assess the technical systems. That is not our job. But we have to be aware of how the staff is approaching things. We now have a very good understanding of how risks are identified and how they are addressed.”

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Whether the O-Train meets its schedule depends on whether tests of the trains and the signal system can begin as planned in August. Morgan admitted that there is still a lot of work to be done. And there’s another glitch: the conflict with the massive construction underway at Dow’s Lake for parking for the new Ottawa Hospital campus.

Drilling and blasting there could interfere with Trillium Line operations and, at some point, crews will have to build an access road across the tracks.

“During those times, we will have to stop the trains,” Morgan said.

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