Ottawa’s O-Train Line 1 could return to service next month following September derailment

O-Train Line 1 could reopen early November

OTTAWA, ON, Oct. 20, 2021 – Today, Ottawa’s Transit Commission received an update on plans to safely return O-Train Line 1 to service after a September 19 derailment near Tremblay Station in suspension of Line 1 service. Rideau Transit Group (RTG) has submitted a return-to-service plan to the City of Ottawa on October 15, targetting a partial return to service of seven trains beginning on November 1.

The root cause of the derailment, in which no one was injured, was improperly torqued bolts (loose bolts). The derailed LRV had recently undergone axle repairs to replace the axle bearing assembly from the August 9 derailment. And the Rideau Transit Group and train manufacturer Alstom have confirmed that the improperly torqued bolts on the gearbox is the primary cause of the derailment. They say the gearbox “appears to have dropped down and damaged the rail and track.”

The City says RTG’s timelines for resumption of Line 1 service will be confirmed pending independent validation by Transportation Research Associates (TRA), a third-party safety expert retained by the City, in coordination with the City’s Regulatory Monitoring and Compliance Officer (RMCO).

Staff also outlined the response framework, communications approach, and preliminary findings from the September 19 derailment and provided a status update on the root cause investigations into both the August 8 and September 19 Line 1 derailments.

The Commission was also updated on the ongoing monitoring of reliability and technical issues previously identified on Line 1 and was provided a status on the outstanding elements of RTG’s rectification plan. The update also included an overview of R1 replacement bus service operating during the Line 1 service disruption.

138 trips have been cancelled daily since the derailment forcing Ottawa transit users to seek other transportation avenues, namely OC Transpo buses that have become increasingly overcrowded according to numerous riders.

As of October 18, the Transit Commission says the damaged tracks have been repaired.

The City says the Transit Commission carried a motion to extend the maximum transfer time for OC Transpo conventional bus service by 60 minutes, until such time that R1 bus replacement service is no longer required, with timing for this change to be confirmed by staff to Members of Council and Transit Commission. The motion will be considered at City Council on October 27.

City Manager Steve Kanellakos said in a memo to the Ottawa’s city council, that the RTG’s Nov. 1 relaunch is conditional on the completion of its own intensive inspection of the O-Train fleet that is being carried out by Transportation Research Associates (TRA).

OC Transpo also provided the Transit Commission with the second of its twice-annual performance reports for the period from July 2020 to June 2021 (link is external). These performance metrics include customer safety, ridership, customer service, and service reliability.

SOURCE City of Ottawa

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