Ottawa

Ottawa finally has all 17 LRT trains available — well, sort of

All of Ottawa's 17 light rail trains are available in working order for the first time since the Confederation Line opened to the public nearly 11 months ago, but the line won't run at full capacity just yet.

Wheel inspections mean city won't yet reach goal of 15 trains at peak periods

A train arrives at Tunney's Pasture station on Sept. 14, 2019, the day the Confederation Line opened to the public. OC Transpo has not had 15 trains on the line at once since then. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

All of Ottawa's 17 light rail trains are available in working order for the first time since the Confederation Line opened to the public nearly 11 months ago, but the line won't run at full capacity just yet.

The city paid for 17 two-car trains and planned to run 15 during morning and afternoon rush hours, with two trains as backups.

A range of problems since the line's mid-September 2019 launch, however, has meant that hasn't happened.

In a Tuesday memo, OC Transpo general manager John Manconi said as of that day, the rail line's builder and maintenance group RTG had supplied them with 17 working trains.

Fewer trains have been running recently because of cracked wheels and the resulting increased inspections which brought the number of trains in service down to seven at times — or one train roughly every eight minutes.

The need for extra daily wheel inspections means the LRT network will have 13 trains on the line at most for the foreseeable future, Manconi said, with trains arriving every four minutes or so during peak service.

If 15 trains ran during peak hours, passengers would have to wait at most just over three minutes for one to arrive.

Manconi also said Tuesday the ongoing ridership drop during the COVID-19 pandemic means there are enough trains to allow riders to physically distance.

"RTG is making progress with the investigation and resolution of the wheel issue and as they make further progress, additional vehicles may be added to the morning peak service if required," he said.

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