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Slow progress on some systems delaying other elements of Trillium Line LRT prep: report

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)

A report prepared for a joint meeting of Ottawa's Transit Commission and Light Rail Subcommittee suggests that slow progress on completing work on the signalling, train control, and communications systems on the Trillium Line is having a domino effect on other aspects of preparation.

The joint meeting will be held Thursday, in place of the previously scheduled LRT subcommittee meeting that was supposed to be held Monday.

The report outlining progress on Stage 2 LRT says that some slower than anticipated progress on parts of Line 2 is leading to other delays.

"Schedule deviations with signal and train control, and some communication systems (cameras, building management systems, etc.), are progressing at a slower pace than initially anticipated," the report states. "TransitNEXT continues to work on system installation and testing and commissioning. Progress on this item continues but remains slow."

TransitNEXT is the wholly owned subsidiary of SNC Lavalin that has been contracted to build the Stage 2 north-south Trillium Line extension, which will extend service to Riverside South and the Ottawa International Airport.

The slow progress on the signal, train control, and communications systems is affecting training, staff recruitment, and maintenance readiness, the report says.

"These areas are experiencing ongoing challenges due to the slower than anticipated commissioning progress for the signaling and train control system. Impacts on the training program are being assessed and the teams are working closely together to find ways to maximize training hours."

The report says delays to infrastructure readiness and subsequent training delays would create "a requirement for additional time to prepare for launch," but it doesn't lay out any specific length of time that might be required.

Transit Services General Manager Renée Amilcar said in September that the train control system on the Trillium Line is "unique" and required "a lot more testing."

There are also delays with getting Building Code Services occupancy permits and Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) approvals for elevators because of wider system functionality and station readiness delays, the report says.

Line 2 is expected to open sometime in the spring of 2024. Construction was originally scheduled to be completed in August 2022, but was delayed until September 2023 with a projected launch in November. Amilcar said in September that a November launch was no longer possible, suggesting April 2024 as a possible window, though she refused to speculate on a firm launch date.

The report says work is still required on the Bowesville and Leitrim park-and-ride facilities and the Limebank Station bus platform. Construction of all 13 stations on the Trillium Line remains ongoing, with commissioning of electrical, mechanical, fire safety systems, and communication systems remaining.

In mid-November, Amilcar announced what she called a "key milestone", saying nine trains had been successfully tested on Line 2. That testing will continue over the winter months, the report for Thursday's joint meeting says.

"Critically, the plan going forward is to increase the number of operating hours of the trains in order to properly demonstrate sustainable reliability of the fleet and the systems. This period of additional running time, including through the winter, is critical to surfacing and correcting issues before the line opens for service."

City councillors on the two committees will meet at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

In addition to a progress update on Stage 2 of LRT and the current state of the active bus and train fleet, heads of the unions that represent OC Transpo employees will address councillors and deliver a presentation on their members' issues. The unions include the Amalgamated Transit Union, locals 279 and 1760, the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 5500, and the Civic Institute of Professional Personnel.

In 2022, Ottawa city council agreed to give the unions a once yearly platform at Transit Commission meetings, and to host two informal sessions between the Transit Commission, OC Transpo Management, and Union executives during the 2022-26 Term of Council. The first such session is expected to take place in 2024. Top Stories


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