RTG falls two trains short of dead­line

Ottawa Citizen - - Front Page - JON WILL­ING

The Rideau Tran­sit Group could get only 13 double-car trains on the Con­fed­er­a­tion Line at one time on Tues­day, not the 15 trains di­rected by the city.

How­ever, the city ac­knowl­edges that all trains must go through a rig­or­ous wheel in­spec­tion regime, which is why two trains can’t be on the line for peak-pe­riod ser­vice.

As part of a no­tice of con­tract de­fault is­sued to RTG in March, the city or­dered the rail con­trac­tor to have 15 trains avail­able for the busiest times, plus a ready-tode­ploy spare and a maintenanc­e spare, by Aug. 4.

On Tues­day, city trans­porta­tion gen­eral man­ager John Man­coni told coun­cil in a memo that RTG met the 15-train re­quire­ment, but be­cause the train wheels are go­ing through en­hanced in­spec­tions, only 13 trains (with two spares in the de­pot) can be in ser­vice at peak times.

It means trains will ar­rive at sta­tions ev­ery four minutes.

The manda­tory in­spec­tions fol­low the dis­cov­ery of cracks on four steel wheels, leading to an in­ves­ti­ga­tion started by the Trans­porta­tion Safety Board on July 10. The num­ber of trains on the line was dra­mat­i­cally re­duced in July.

The lower rid­er­ship has pro­vided re­lief to RTG and the city as they work through the new in­spec­tion regime. The root cause of the cracked wheels is un­der re­view.

“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,” Man­coni’s memo said.

The city paid for 34 Al­stom Ci­tadis Spirit cars for Stage 1 LRT. The orig­i­nal plan was to have 15 double-car trains run­ning at the busiest times, with two spares. Be­fore the pan­demic, the city felt it needed only 13 double-car trains to meet peak ser­vice re­quire­ments, although there was op­ti­mism that RTG could get the other trains on the line to pro­vide more ca­pac­ity.

RTG is also pro­vid­ing 38 of the Al­stom cars as part of the Stage 2 LRT ex­pan­sion. As the Stage 2 trains are as­sem­bled and com­mis­sioned, they can be added to the Stage 1 fleet to bol­ster daily op­er­a­tions.

Man­coni told coun­cil that 13 double-car trains can han­dle the cur­rent pas­sen­ger vol­umes while al­low the phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing be­tween pas­sen­gers re­quired to re­duce the risk of trans­mit­ting COVID-19. jwill­ing@postmedia.com twit­ter.com/JonathanWi­lling

The Con­fed­er­a­tion Line op­er­ated with a max­i­mum of 13 trains Tues­day, in­stead of the 15 di­rected by the city.

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