Crews slowly walking derailed LRT train back to maintenance yard
OTTAWA -- Service on the Confederation Line LRT remains offline Wednesday following a minor derailment earlier in the week, but one train is now moving very slowly.
One of the train's 10 axles left the rails Sunday evening while changing tracks and damaged a switch, prompting OC Transpo to shut down service on the entire line until further notice.
No passengers were on board the train at the time and the operator was not hurt. The train remained upright.
The train stayed parked near Tunney's Pasture Station until Wednesday morning, when crews from Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) and Alstom started to move it slowly back to the maintenance yard, while walking next to it.
It's expected to take most of the day to move the train from Tunney's Pasture to the maintenance facility on Belfast Road.
In a memo on Tuesday, Transportation Services General Manager John Manconi said specialized equipment was needed to move the train without causing any further damage.
"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," Manconi wrote.
Every single train car is being inspected following this incident. Director of Transit Operations Troy Charter said each inspection takes several hours.
Speaking to CTV News Ottawa on Wednesday, Charter said there are three elements to the situation that must be considered.
"One, obviously immediately launch an investigation. How did this happen? We need to know. Two, we need to get that vehicle back to the (maintenance storage facility) so that it can be part of the investigation and then as well, obviously we need to get it off the tracks so that we can resume service at some point," he said. "And then three, concurrent with this, RTM and Alstom need to be telling us what needs to be done to the fleet in terms of inspections or anything like that."
Charter said the teams moving the train are using a large rail dolly.
"It’s literally like a dolly, like you’d move your car around on, but it’s bigger and set for rail," he said.
"We’ve got some staff there that are literally walking next to the train as it’s going, making sure that everything’s okay because there is a potential for it to shift off, especially when you’re going though some tight curves," he added.
Service on the LRT is expected to remain suspended until at least Friday, according to officials at OC Transpo. R1 bus service is in place to move riders between Tunney’s Pasture and Blair stations.
Transit riders expressed frustration Wednesday at the lenghty shutdown.
"When it breaks down like this, it’s really hard to get to work. And it makes it really difficult to find a bus route that takes me there on time," said Brad Beatty.
"I just came off an R1 bus and it’s so packed," Carmen Sauve added. "There’s not enough buses and people are standing up. If there is going to be a fourth wave, people are standing way too close together."
The Transportation Safety Board had sent a team of investigators to the scene Monday following the incident, but Manconi said the scope of their involvement in the investigation has yet to be determined.