City confirms second LRT derailment in two months
Published Thursday, June 27, 2019 4:35AM EDT Last Updated Thursday, June 27, 2019 6:09AM EDT
An LRT train derailed at the Belfast Yard Friday, May 3, 2019.
The City of Ottawa has confirmed a second incident of an LRT train leaving the tracks at the Belfast Yard in as many months.
When the CBC first brought this incident to light Wednesday morning, their story indicated the City was reluctant to offer information, directing their reporter, Joanne Chianello, to the Rideau Transit Group, which also did not comment by the time the story was published.
Newstalk 580 CFRA reached out for comment, with a City spokesperson at first directing questions to RTG.
A statement from the City, attributed to Rail Construction Program Director Michael Morgan, was provided later Wednesday afternoon. It confirms the derailment happened in the early morning hours of June 24 and describes the event as minor.
“RTG notified the City early Monday morning, June 24, of a minor derailment in the Belfast Maintenance and Storage Facility (MSF) yard, that no injuries were sustained, and that damage to the vehicle and infrastructure was minimal,” the statement says. “The occurrence happened in the back of the Belfast MSF where the trains are under RTG’s control. RTG informed the City that the occurrence happened during the buildup to the launch for train testing on Monday morning. No City staff were involved nor present during the occurrence. A follow up investigation is underway by RTG to determine the root cause of this occurrence.”
This follows an earlier incident in May, in which a train car, traveling at a slow speed in the Belfast Yard also left the tracks. At that time, the City held a press conference outside the yard, to address the incident. It was described by officials at the time as a “minor setback.”
Speaking on Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa Now with Evan Solomon, Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury says he only learned of the most recent incident through the media.
“It makes us think, what are they hiding? Why aren’t they proactively informing us?” He said. “We don’t know about these as they happen. That’s part of the challenge of the LRT: who to trust, when to trust, and who to know. We find out on a monthly basis at Finance and Economic Development Committee but for the rest we rely on our friends in the media and locals to give us insights.”
The Confederation Line continues to be met with delays and is now 399 days behind schedule. It was initially supposed to have been completed and handed over to the City May 24, 2018. RTG has since missed three handover deadlines and has been fined $3 million for doing so. The latest information from RTG and City officials is that the system should be completed and handed over by mid-August, with ridership expected in September.