Train tests taking place so don't park on tracks, says region

The second unpowered testing is happening in Waterloo. Will the LRT trains start on time?

Parked vehicles on LRT tracks will be towed with start of second unpowered testing

This was ION's first LRT car for the Waterloo Region that was tested in the spring of 2017. (ION/Twitter)

The Region of Waterloo began unpowered testing for a light rail vehicle Thursday, with it towed along the Northfield Drive and King Street area in Waterloo. 

Testing is expected to advance to all areas of the route over the next few days. 

"They're going to have to co-exist with the train so people need to be prepared to stop because the flashing lights and the gates will be activated as testing goes on," said regional councillor, Tom Galloway.   

According to the region, this is the first time the ION light rail vehicle will be travelling alongside cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles in the community. 

"Motorists are reminded to never stop or park their vehicles on light rail tracks," a statement from the region reads. " Any vehicle stopped or parked on the tracks will be ticketed or towed." 

Residents may also see unexpected and unusual signal changes and city officers assisting crews at intersections, the region said. Vehicles will also not run on a schedule and will be moving slowly. 

The region said testing will continue throughout winter and spring until service starts, but this is also "weather dependent." 

"Under ordinary conditions, we'd be able to operate the system even under a major snow-storm situation," said Galloway. "But for testing purposes, there's no need to go out in particularly stormy conditions. It could wait till the next day." 

The speed of the light rail vehicles will increase as the tests progress. It's not clear how quickly the vehicle is running during this unpowered test.

Galloway said he is "cautiously optimistic" the trains will be in full-fare service by June.