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Opening date for Trillium Line still uncertain with final tests underway

A train sits at Bayview Station as construction continues on the north-south Trillium Line. (Leah Larocque/CTV News Ottawa) A train sits at Bayview Station as construction continues on the north-south Trillium Line. (Leah Larocque/CTV News Ottawa)
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OC Transpo officials are still not committing to an opening date for the Stage 2 Trillium Line, but are hinting that "very good news" might be on the way next week.

"We'll have very good news to share, stay tuned," said transit services general manager Renée Amilcar at a media availability on Wednesday.

"I've always said that for the Trillium Line, it should be this spring, so I'm still there," Amilcar said.

A report shared with councillors for next Thursday's Light-Rail subcommittee meeting said final construction of Line 2 "is well underway," including the near completion of the stations and signalling systems.

The report says the city will "review and assess an opening date along with the required regulatory approvals," with the final date selected being "heavily influenced by the safety, reliability, and general performance of the system."

Some of the remaining risk factors that could further delay the opening date include safety and security management, system wide testing and performance, training completion by operators, regulatory requirements, construction completion and third-party development.

Starting in January, test trains have been operating on the mainline and airport extension between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. Monday to Friday. The report says OC Transpo plans to increase the number of operating hours of the trains to match planned service levels.

"This period of additional running time, including through the current winter season, is critical to surfacing and correcting issues before the line opens for service," the report says.

Last November, OC Transpo began testing seven trains on the mainline Trillium Line and two on the airport extension. Additional testing is currently underway to "demonstrate the functionality of the system and to ensure the operations of the train control systems."

Final preparations for the train stations are also underway, including elevator adjustments and inspections, installation of aluminum panels, final glazing installation and communications device commissioning.

The report adds that 9 of the 54 diesel rail operators have completed their certifications, while 24 are progressing through their classroom training program. Twenty-three have completed their classroom training and are expected to receive their final certification in Q1 and Q2 of 2024.

Construction for the Trillium Line was originally scheduled to be completed in August 2022, but was delayed until September 2023. On Sept. 29, Amilcar said that based on the progress to date, a fall launch was no longer possible and would be delayed until the "spring of 2024."

Regulatory approvals from Transport Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency, Building Code Services and Ottawa Fire Services, and secondary approvals for elevators from the TSSA are still ongoing.

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