MRO Magazine

Ottawa light rail transit system won’t reopen until Aug. 14 at earliest: OC Transpo

August 4, 2023 | By Liam Fox

Ottawa’s light-rail transit service is expected to remain shut down for at least another two weeks, with officials estimating Tuesday it won’t reopen until Aug. 14 at the earliest.

Service was halted in the middle of rush hour on July 17 due to an issue with a train’s axle bearing that was discovered during a routine inspection.

OC Transpo committed to a detailed inspection of every vehicle and originally speculated the LRT would be back on track by Monday of this week.

But it scrapped that plan last Friday, saying an additional 10 days of repairs and testing were needed.


Now, the transit provider says that more work needs to be done to reposition the rails.

Chair of the city’s transit commission Coun. Glen Gower said the city is “discussing” compensating riders who pay for the service, but during a press conference Tuesday would not commit to reimbursing inconvenienced users.

An alternate bus route was established for commuters who would normally take the train, but it has been heavily criticized for being less reliable.

Two separate derailments in 2021 that stemmed from maintenance and assembly issues led to temporary shutdowns.

An August 2021 derailment that led to a five-day disruption to the transit service was caused by the likely failure of a train’s axle while it was in operation, the Transportation Safety Board found not long after.

A second derailment that September was found to have happened due to “inconsistent and incomplete maintenance” of the Alstom Citadis Spirit trains following the first derailment, then-city manager Steve Kanellakos said at the time. It led to trains being parked for two months.

A public inquiry into the issues plaguing Ottawa’s LRT resulted in a scathing report released last fall, which drew specific attention to problems with the machinery.

The report faulted both city officials and companies hired to build the $2.1-billion project system for delivering an unreliable system more than a year behind schedule.

In 2019, months before the LRT opened to the public, the city approved a $4.66 billion budget for a second stage of the project, which is underway but facing delays.


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