Ottawa

Switch, sensor issues halt LRT during snowstorm

The problems brought the eastern stretch of Ottawa's light rail line to a halt for more than two hours Saturday night. At around 9 p.m., trains were running again.

Bad weather to blame, says city's head of transit operations

A light rail train approaches Tunney's Pasture station in November. OC Transpo says a switch issue brought the eastern portion of the LRT line to a halt Saturday. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

Bad weather was to blame for a two-and-a-half hour LRT delay Saturday night, the City of Ottawa says. 

"Yesterday evening, snow interfered with the normal operation of a switch at Blair station," said Troy Charter, director of transit operations, in an email.

Around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, OC Transpo announced trains were no longer running between Hurdman and Blair stations, the same part of the line that was down for nearly 15 hours when an 80-metre power wire broke Thursday. 

At 7 p.m., OC Transpo said replacement buses were ferrying customers between Blair and St-Laurent stations, and trains were running normally between St-Laurent and Tunney's Pasture stations.

At about 8:40 p.m., OC Transpo announced full service had resumed along the entire length of the Confederation Line.

According to Charter, the bad weather also affected safety sensors, which further contributed to the delay. 

"During weather events, the safety sensors at stations, which confirm no one has entered the tracks, can be activated in certain weather conditions such as blowing snow," Charter wrote.

That can cause trains to brake quickly, Charter said, and the operator will have to drive slower than normal to ensure the track is clear.

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