Edmonton LRT starts running at full speed; most riders don't notice

After two years of setbacks the Metro LRT is running at full speed. But, most riders didn't feel the difference.

One rider said the LRT 'was actually noticeably faster'

The Metro LRT line started running at full speed on Sunday.

On Sunday, after two years of setbacks, the Metro Line LRT started running at full speed — though many riders didn't notice much of a difference. 

The trains have been running at half-speed due to safety issues caused by software provided by the signalling system contractor, Thales.

Deputy City manager Adam Laughlin says the speed is now where it was meant to be.

"The increase in the speed is to the original parameters which is running to the speed of traffic, which is anywhere between 50 and 60 kilometres an hour, depending on the roadway that it's in," Laughlin said.

"This will allow us to move toward to the next step, which is getting to what we originally were hoping to get ... an integrated system with the Capital Line and the Metro Line." 

But when asked whether they noticed anything different at the LRT stations today, most commuters had no idea.

"Are there new signs?" said one person at the NAIT station.

"Is it cleaner?" said another.

"No one was riding it?" said a rider at the Kingsway station.

'Much faster'

Patrick Farkas was one of the few riders that actually felt a speed difference on Sunday.

Patrick Farkas was one of the few that noticed the change.

"I noticed that it's moving faster this time," he said.

Farkas rides the train every few days, and said he appreciated that he may get to his destination a touch faster.

"It was actually noticeably faster. Especially going past Victoria School, where the train goes on a straight away, it was very much faster," he said.

Mayor Don Iveson said getting up to speed is a step in the right direction.

"We still have a little bit more to do to get to Plan A, which is full frequency operation," he said. "But we are at full speed now at that is a big and encouraging step forward."

Despite the speed increase, the city advises drivers and others to have patience — the trains may be moving faster, but there will still be waits at intersections along the LRT line.