OTTAWA -- Rideau Transit Maintenance suggests long-term solutions to the power/arching issues that crippled the Confederation Line could be a year away.

The Transit Commission received an update on efforts to address the long list of issues impacting the five-month-old light rail transit system on Wednesday.

RTG CEO Peter Lauch told Commissioners that the company is working on solutions to address issues with train power, door faults and the switch heaters. Lauch says the long-term solution to address the arcing issues on the trains is to replace all the inductors, but that would take “12 months to start swapping out.”

Director of Transit Operations Troy Charter outlined the list of issues over the past few weeks along the Confederation Line. The list included:

  • Eleven door faults over the past couple of weeks. There were six door-related issues the week of Feb. 10
  • Eight switch/switch heater issues
  • Two disruptions with the LRT service on Jan. 25 and Jan. 26 due to power/arcing issues
  • Wheel flats
  • Investigation continues into issues with the Train Controlled Monitoring System. No TCMS issues since December

Door-related issues

Charter says door operation faults continue to be the number one issue impacting service on the Confederation Line. Charter adds the 11 door related issues over the past couple of weeks resulted in “short delays” for transit riders.

Rideau Transit Maintenance says a software upgrade to be implemented in mid-April may be the key to resolving the door issues.  An independent engineer must approve the software before it’s implemented.

OC Transpo has launched a campaign reminding riders “not to hold doors.” Charter says the message is “being well received.”


Over the past few weeks, there have been eight switch/switch heater related disruptions.

Charter told the Transit Commission that in each occurrence, “inclement weather has been a contributing factor.”

Charter says revised operation procedures have been implemented to assist staff with managing the switchers during weather events.  Charter adds “new protocols” have been implemented to allow Rideau Transit Maintenance staff access to the switches during operations.

Rideau Transit Maintenance has assigned a switch heater task force to look into the issue.

Power/Arcing issues

Rideau Transit Group says a long-term solution to the arcing issues with the trains could be a year away.

The last two issues with power/arcing on the trains were at the end of January. The issues on Jan. 25 and Jan, 26 reduced fleet availability.

“Most arcing events do not impact service,” Charter told Commissioners. Charter adds the investigation continues into the cause of the issues, but says “it appears that it’s the line inductors and contactors” that are causing the issues.

Rideau Transit Group recently completed a deep clean of all the trains, and has increased inspections. RTG is also in the process of modifying the rooftop covers on the trains to protect the inductors from the weather.

Lauch told the Transit Commission the long-term solution is to replace all the inductors, but that it’s “about 12 months away to start swapping out” all the inductors. Lauch adds RTG is confident the mitigations in place will address the issues in the short-term.

Wheel flats

Wheel flats impacted service the weeks of Jan. 20, Jan. 27 and on Friday, Feb. 14, reducing the number of trains available for service.

Lauch told the Transit Commission the “debris” that caused damage to four transponders last Friday was a “speed sensor bracket.”  The damaged transponders caused several trains to brake suddenly, and resulted in wheel flats on trains. The trains were taken out of service for repairs.

Rideau Transit Group says the brake manufacturer and in-house partners are looking into the cause of the wheel flats in recent weeks. Lauch adds there is no “root cause” identified yet, but emergency braking situations can cause the wheel flats.

Train Controlled Monitoring System

Lauch told Transit Commission the TCMS has been “stable”, and they still don’t have the root cause of the issues when the train first launched.

Odour in LRT stations

LRT Construction Director Michael Morgan told the Transit Commission there’s no health concerns over the odour at Rideau and Parliament stations.

In a memo on Feb. 6, Rideau Transit Group blamed “stagnant water” for the odour at Rideau Station.