Kitchener-Waterloo

LRT testing on tracks this week, region sticks to 2018 LRT launch

The first outdoor testing of the Ion rail car will take place this Thursday, which will look for problems with train systems like doors, lights and wheels.

Counc. Tom Galloway says assembly of vehicles going well, but modifications needed

An Ion train will hit the tracks this Thursday for systems testing. However, it will not be running on its own, but rather towed by a vehicle. (Joe Pavia)

An Ion LRT vehicle will leave the storage facility for the first time this Thursday to test the outdoor tracks — but it will be towed; it won't be moving itself.

"There's a whole host of systems on the train that need to be tested — from doors, to lights, to wheels — on the tracks," said Tom Galloway, chair of the Region of Waterloo's planning and works committee.

In mid-November, the region expects the vehicle will be ready for an auto-powered test, one where it would run on a length of test track without a tow vehicle.

Next, Galloway said the whole system needs to be tested. He said two things need to happen before that can take place. GrandLinq needs to install equipment for the vehicles to communicate with the tracks, and they need more vehicles to test.  

"I'm told they need three operational units to test the whole system, not just on the test track, but to test the whole system up and down the whole 19km," he said.

Two vehicles are already here, and Galloway said two other vehicles are almost ready to be shipped.

"On the assembly side, yes, it's going well, but it's late," Galloway said, noting that the region first ordered the vehicles in August 2013. "But we're a little more confident now that these things are getting ironed out."

He added that currently there is no plan to change the launch date of the LRT, which is set for Spring of 2018.

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