Ottawa

Ottawa's LRT woes 'absolutely' fixable, consultant says

The consulting firm tasked with restoring faith in the now notoriously unreliable Confederation Line believes the problems with Ottawa’s new LRT are fixable.

U.K. specialist hired to get Ottawa's LRT back on the track speaks to councillor

British rail consulting firm JBA Corporation was brought in to study the issues plaguing Ottawa's Light Rail Transit system. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The consulting firm tasked with restoring faith in the now notoriously unreliable Confederation Line believes the problems with Ottawa's new LRT are fixable.

The British rail consulting firm JBA Corporation was brought in to study the issues plaguing Ottawa's LRT system and suggest fixes to OC Transpo's rail maintenance contractor, Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM). 

JBA has not responded to CBC's requests for an interview.

But Gloucester-South Nepean Coun. Carol Anne Meehan, a former journalist, was able to ask owner James Boyle several questions Thursday at Belfast Yard, and posted a video to Twitter.

The consultants arrived in Ottawa earlier this week, and Meehan asked Boyle to spell off the issues they've identified so far. 

"Line contactors, line inductor failures, brake issues, there's quite a lot of things that we're working on," he said.

Power problems have caused major delays on the line for the last week, as trains were taken out of commission for repair. There have been as few as eight trains running at times during peak periods, when typically the city deploys 13.

The city has been running supplemental bus service along the lines to ease the commuter headaches, but neither OC Transpo or RTM have been able to say yet when the line will be back to full service.

Boyle told Meehan it could happen next week.

"We're going to be building up the service over the next coming days so we're planning to get 12, 13 [trains] in by next week," he said.

As for whether the issues are fixable, Boyle's response was "absolutely."

JBA Corporation has worked with transit authorities around the world, including Transport for London and Metro Trains Melbourne.

The consultant's website boasts of improving the reliability of Bombardier trains on the London Underground by 100 per cent in just six months. 

JBA Corp. has also done work for Alstom, the company that manufactured the very trains that keep failing on Ottawa's Confederation Line.

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