Confederation Line LRT service to start in September: Watson

O-Train

Mayor Jim Watson said he expects Ottawa transit users to be riding the Confederation Line in September after meeting with the builders behind both the trains and the light-rail line on Tuesday.

Rideau Transit Group, the consortium of developers constructing Stage One of Ottawa’s LRT system, have not provided a new date to hand over the system, though the city has been told to expect work to finish by the second or third week of August.

After missing the most recent deadline to provide a revenue service agreement date by May 31 – with the handover itself expected before June 30 – RTG was supposed to provide a new date last week.

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, RTG chief Peter Lauch said the precise handover date is still contingent on a few factors, specifically the completion of Alstom’s work on the LRT trains and integration of those vehicles into the rest of the system. Alstom said Tuesday the fleet will be ready to go as of July 7.

“We’ve given some dates in the past that we’ve not committed to,” Lauch said. “We don’t want to disappoint again.”

Lauch added that Alstom’s progress has been “trending in the right direction,” but RTG will still wait a few more weeks before committing to a specific RSA date.

Watson also acknowledged RTG’s poor track record in achieving promised RSA dates during Tuesday’s press conference. He said the consortium had made “similar commitments in the past,” adding that city manager Steve Kanellakos and transit boss John Manconi will keep RTG’s “feet to the fire” over the coming weeks.

“We will accept nothing less than the high-quality, safe, world-class system that we bought on behalf of Ottawa taxpayers and transit riders,” he said.

After getting the keys to the Confederation Line system from RTG, the city will require a few weeks of internal testing and preparation before opening the LRT to the public.