RTG gives city a plan to return Confederation Line to service

·2 min read
Caution tape is strung up next to the site of an LRT train derailment on Ottawa's Confederation Line on Sept. 19, 2021. No one was injured when the train left the tracks. (Nicholas Cleroux/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Caution tape is strung up next to the site of an LRT train derailment on Ottawa's Confederation Line on Sept. 19, 2021. No one was injured when the train left the tracks. (Nicholas Cleroux/Radio-Canada - image credit)

Almost four weeks after a train derailed on the Confederation Line, shutting down the mass-transit service, the builder of the LRT has given the city a plan to get the light rail system up and running.

"Late this afternoon, Rideau Transit Group (RTG) provided the city with a return-to-service delivery plan," city manager Steve Kanellakos wrote in a memo sent to council Friday evening.

"This document is quite detailed and staff will be reviewing the contents and conducting a preliminary assessment over the weekend. I will share details of the plan and RTG's proposed timeline on Monday."

There's no indication of when RTG believes the Confederation Line could be running again.

At council this past Wednesday, Kanellakos said that even when RTG did file its plan — he suggested at the time the plan could come as early as this week — it would have to be reviewed carefully not only by the city's own staff and safety officers, but by the independent consultants TRA Inc. that the city hired after the latest derailment.

WATCH | Still no date for LRT reopening, city manager told council Wednesday

The city has challenged RTG's plans in the past, so there's no guarantee it would accept this return-to-service plan.

A train derailed twice in as many months on the Confederation Line — on Aug. 8 and Sept. 19. According to a report put out by the Transportation Safety Board less than 48 hours after the second incident, a westbound train had derailed just east of Tremblay station, then continued to travel though the station, across a rail bridge that goes over Riverside Drive, before coming to a stop.

That information was not disclosed at the transit commission meeting of Sept. 20. At the same meeting, then transit boss John Manconi suggested that the cause could have been from a piece of sanding equipment.

But this week, Kanellakos said RTG's maintenance arm told him the cause of the derailment was a loose gear box. CBC reported that on Sept. 21.

Kanellakos said he was told the bolts that secured the gear box were not properly tightened "or verified," which led the gear box to become dislodged and drag along the track and ultimately led to "the derailment of the wheel of the train."

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