With trains delivered, RTG looks to clear final testing hurdle before LRT handover

RTG
Ottawa's LRT running near Pimisi Station. Photo by Peter Kovessy

Ottawa’s transit boss delivered a positive update on the long-awaited light rail transit line Wednesday morning, indicating Rideau Transit Group is on track to deliver the system next month.

Both OC Transpo head John Manconi and Mayor Jim Watson confirmed at Wednesday’s regular finance and economic development committee update that the Confederation Line LRT will be ready for handover on Aug. 16, with the line opening to Ottawa riders some four weeks later. Builders RTG previously said work will wrap up in the second or third week of August.

Manconi also confirmed that rail company Alstom had delivered all 34 trains for the line on July 7 as scheduled. Watson met with the chief executives of both RTG and Alstom last month to push for completion dates on both the trains and the rest of the LRT line.

Manconi noted that RTG has tested 10 double-trains simultaneously on the line so far, with 15 double-trains expected next week.

RTG is now set to submit its notice of “substantial completion” – the point at which nearly all work on the line has finished – within the next 10 days. The construction consortium had applied for substantial completion in May, but both city staff and a third-party auditor told RTG more work was required. This time, Manconi said both his staff and the independent certifier would give the green light on completion.

The last step before achieving the Aug. 16 handover date is 12 consecutive days of full-service testing. RTG will need to demonstrate its system can operate without interruption over the course of the trial run before handing the Confederation Line over to the city.

“Trial running is the final exam,” Manconi said Wednesday. “And they have to get an ‘A’ on that exam.”