City to get keys to LRT Aug. 16, mayor says

Ottawa's new LRT system is set to be delivered to the city by Aug. 16, and passengers should be boarding trains by September.

Passengers should be riding Confederation Line in September

Ottawa's new LRT system is set to be delivered to the city by Aug. 16, Mayor Jim Watson said Wednesday morning. 

If this delivery target is met, the people of Ottawa should be riding the Confederation Line in September, more than a year after it was originally scheduled to be launched.

Members of the city's finance and economic development committee heard that train-maker Alstom had completed building the 34 trains last Sunday, and that Rideau Transit Group (RTG) is expecting to begin the crucial 12-day consecutive testing of the Confederation Line later this month.

"The reality is I feel much more confident today with the news about the vehicles, about the dates that we've established that will allow customers to hop on and hop off the trains in September," Watson told reporters after the meeting, adding that it's always possible the project could be further delayed.

Mayor Watson confident LRT will be ready this fall

3 years ago
Duration 0:36
Mayor Watson confident LRT will be ready this fall

RTG is planning to apply to the city for "substantial completion" within the next 10 days, the second-last step before the official completion of the Confederation Line.

The city and its independent certifier both need to sign on the application, and while they each have five days to approve it, OC Transpo boss John Manconi told reporters it shouldn't take that long.

RTG will receive a $59-million payment from the city once the substantial completion is OK'd.

More hurdles

There are a number of hurdles that RTG has to clear before it can hand over the Confederation Line, even after substantial completion.

Manconi said there are 70 "operational drills" that must be performed, including ones with trial passengers.

So far, RTG has been able to run 10 two-car trains on the tracks at once, but it's not clear how long they've been able to operate them simultaneously. Manconi said RTG plans to test 15 coupled trains at once.

There will be further "touch-ups" needed, Manconi said Wednesday. Sources tell CBC there's a list of hundreds of items that need to be addressed before the launch.

As well, RTG will have to run the entire Confederation Line for 12 consecutive days as if it's in actual operation. If something major goes wrong, the testing must start again from scratch.

The city's own independent certifiers and safety auditors will have to sign off on the system before the city accepts it. If RTG does hand over the keys in mid-August, passengers can expect to be riding Confederation Line by mid-September.


  • A previous version of this story said that Aug. 16, 2019 was the sixth deadline target. In fact, it was the fifth, which included one unofficial deadline of June 30, 2019.
    Aug 30, 2019 4:54 PM ET


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