'Everything was positive,' ION light rail car completes first testing

ION completed the first on-track LRT testing Tuesday, which went well according to Coun. Tom Galloway.

Tuesday's test was to check for track clearances

The first real-world testing of the Waterloo Region ION light rail has begun, Nov. 7, 2017. (ION/Twitter)

The long-awaited ION light rail on-track test in Waterloo Region completed successfully Tuesday afternoon according to Coun. Tom Galloway. 

"The testing went apparently quite well today, everything was positive," he told CBC News.

The transit agency tweeted photos Tuesday morning showing the first of the Bombardier-built cars being rolled out and tested on tracks in Waterloo.

The car was towed by a vehicle on official test tracks between Northfield Drive and the Erb and Caroline Street intersection. That section of the track has been designated for towing and self-powered transit vehicle testing.

Galloway said Tuesday's test was to check for clearances around the tracks, making sure the train thresholds meet the station platforms correctly and the pantograph pulling the train would have continuous contact with the electrical wiring.

No changes to anticipated launch

The next round of testing may take place in the next few weeks, according to Galloway, where the train will run on its own power.

As of now, the region is not anticipating any change in the spring 2018 launch date of LRT service.

"We have our fingers crossed that Bombardier will deliver and have most of the modifications made," he said.

The 14th and last vehicle is well into production and the region is expecting it to be delivered in February.

Delayed start

Originally, the LRT vehicle testing was set for Oct.19. However it was postponed due to missing documentation from Bombardier, Coun. Tom Galloway told CBC News in October.

Last week, the region stated that tests were about to begin but a specific start date wouldn't be announced.

"If we start giving out a specific date, something may happen and we then need to change that date, which obviously results in disappointment," Thomas Schmidt, the commissioner of transportation and environmental services for the region told CBC. 

Patience asked

As testing moves to on-street tracks and into real-time traffic scenarios, the region has requested patience.

Galloway said not all the gates and signals are functioning properly yet and will need more time to be calibrated. 

"We appreciate the public being patient when the vehicle was moving across intersections and across roads where vehicles were stopped," he said, "That will continue until all the signals and gates and arms are fully calibrated."

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