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Here are the Ottawa LRT inquiry's key recommendations

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The Ottawa Light Rail Transit Inquiry makes 103 recommendations in the final report to fix the problems with the Confederation Line and "ensure they don't reoccur" on other major infrastructure projects.

The recommendations cover several different areas: planning complex infrastructure, preparing project estimates and budgets, selecting a project delivery model, risk reduction during procurement, safety requirements, ensuring a skilled workforce, transparency between operations and maintenance, accuracy and transparency, oversight during public service, adopting a partnership approach between owner, operator and maintainer, creating an effective contract scheme, efficient and effective warranty service, and maintenance during public service.

Commissioner William Hourigan also makes recommendations on how the city of Ottawa, Rideau Transit Group/Rideau Transit Maintenance, Alstom and other parties can address breakdowns and derailments, and how to run a system in a manner "that aligns with the best interest of transit users" and Ottawa residents.

"There is reason for optimism, as the parties have begun working together more co-operatively and the reliability of the system is showing some signs of improvement. This improvement demonstrates that, over time, structural problems can be resolved through good faith, communication, and co-operation," Hourigan writes.

"However, until such time as the private and public entities involved in the OLRT1 project understand that their first obligation is to the public, there is reason to be concerned that the project will continue to suffer problems."

Here is a look at the Ottawa Light Rail Transit Inquiry recommendations for the Confederation Line

Recommendations for the OLRT1

  • Work undertaken to strengthen the City’s oversight framework should continue, including assessing OC Transpo’s oversight and monitoring programs and making any improvements identified to ensure safety and reliability of the system.
  • Following incidents on the system, OLRT1 parties should continue to hold debrief meetings with all stakeholders present, in order to identify lessons learned and make improvements going forward.
  • A partnership approach should be adopted during the operations and maintenance phase and to address issues that arise on the system.
  • Outstanding payment disputes between the City and RTG should be resolved at the earliest opportunity, in particular related to the City’s approach to issuing and classifying work orders, and the City’s administration of the payment mechanism
  • If RTG continues to be responsible for maintenance during the remainder of the maintenance term, RTG and the City, as well as RTM and Alstom Maintenance, should make efforts to repair their relationships and work together better for the greater good of the OLRT1 project.

Future Assessments and Preventive Maintenance

  • If not yet complete, an engineering assessment of the appropriate rail neutral temperature for the OLRT1 should be completed, and the rail neutral temperature adjusted accordingly, so that the track buckling issues can be mitigated for the long term.
  • Alstom should continue its preventive maintenance of the line inductors, including checking them before and after every winter for any buildup of contaminants, and cleaning them as required.
  • Alstom should continue its regular inspections of the overhead catenary system to clean the parafils as required, or repair/replace them as necessary.
  • The City, RTG and its subcontractors, and Alstom must follow through on the outstanding investigations regarding the root cause of the August 8, 2021 derailment, act on the findings, and ensure that any root cause of this derailment is addressed.
  • A permanent solution to the wheel/rail interface issues needs to be identified and implemented in a timely manner. This solution may involve using a different type of wheel, replacing the track or part of the track, additional track reprofiling, enhancing the axle design to withstand the forces coming from the track, or even modifying the track alignment to address the issue of sharp curves. A wheel/rail interaction study should be undertaken to determine the appropriate solution(s). All parties should work co-operatively to implement the solution(s).
  • Transportation Resource Associates or another independent third-party expert should continue to monitor safety issues and remedial actions undertaken by the parties to ensure the continued safe operation of the OLRT1 system, pending a final resolution of the issues relating to the wheel/rail interface and the first derailment. This independent safety expert should report directly to Council or to the Transit Commission.
  • The city and RTG should continue implementing current remedial measures intended to ensure the safe and reliable operation of the system following the Aug. 8, 2021 derailment, including: Reducing rail corrugation through maintenance, increasing track lubrication (greasing), lowering speeds in some places, and modifying the wheel profile to better "sustain the transversal forces" coming from the track
  • RTM should implement the recommendation first made in the Track Safety Justification Report and the Operational Restrictions Document, and establish a wheel/rail working group to optimize the wheel and rail profiles, improve maintenance practices, monitor the wheel/rail interface, and minimize the impacts on the rail and vehicle components.
  • The operating profile should be adjusted as necessary to ensure the safety and reliability of the OLRT1 system by reducing stress on the vehicle components and avoiding excessive wear. Consideration should be given to reducing vehicle speeds, particularly along curves and to account for different climatic conditions.
  • Alstom should follow through with its plans to replace the spline axles on the LRVs following the problems with excessive wear to the splines that were identified in its presentation dated June 30, 2021.
  • The parties should consider the use of a detection system as a potential remedial option for overheated roller bearings.

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