OTTAWA -- OC Transpo started simulating regular light rail service on Thursday morning, another step in reopening the Confederation Line to passengers for the first time since September.

Customers may see trains travelling the entire track, stopping at stations and making announcements, OC Transpo tweeted.

There is no firm date for the line to reopen, but city officials say they are still aiming for a partial return to service within the first two weeks of November.

In a memo to council Wednesday afternoon, City Manager Steve Kanellakos said city staff and TRA Inc. will hold a technical briefing Friday at 11:30 a.m. on the return-to-service plan.

"This technical briefing is being provided now, as the full system-wide testing of O-Train Line 1 for the partial return-to-service plan is currently underway, under the oversight and ongoing monitoring of TRA," said Kanellakos.

"The testing is allowing TRA, (Rideau Transit Group) and the City to confirm that all the repairs on the trains, track and the infrastructure meet the quality standards required for the safe and continued operations of O-Train Line 1."

Kanellakos told council that service would not resume until TRA provides a briefing on the return to service plan from RTG.

The light rail system has been shut down since a derailment on Sept. 19. The derailed train near Tremblay Station damaged the car, the track and the LRT infrastructure.

Trains began testing on the line last Wednesday.

Rideau Transit Group has provided a target date of Nov. 29 for full service to resume, which includes 15 trains during the morning rush hour and 13 in the afternoon.

The city says it anticipates a return to full service by mid-December. Officials say they will not reopen the system until third-party firm TRA Inc. signs off on its independent safety review.

Mayor Jim Watson said Thursday morning the city expects some good news in the coming days.

"We're going to have some positive news, I believe, in the next couple of days," he told CTV Morning Live. "One of things that this has proven to us, without the train service for over 45 days, is that people relied on that train service. And now, we’re giving them a substandard service with the R1 buses,” he added.

“It just shows how essential light rail is for our city. … It’s integral to getting a city of million people moving in an efficient way. And the last two months, it has not been efficient. It has quite frankly been an embarrassment, and I take full responsibility for that as the head of the organization.”

LRT train damaged in ‘minor incident’

An LRT train sustained minor damage to a roof panel on Tuesday in what OC Transpo is calling a ‘minor incident' during a routine maintenance activity.

“There were no injuries or impacts to systemwide testing as a result of this minor incident,” said a statement attributed to Brandon Richard, chief safety officer. "A summary of the incident was provided to the Transportation Safety Board as part of our regular reporting.”

The TSB said it’s aware of the incident and conducting “normal follow-up activities.” It’s classified as a Class 5 occurrence, which means the board will collect data and record it for statistical reporting and future analysis.