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LRT looking as fast, easy and efficient as advertised

Ottawa's new light rail transit system is getting rave reviews from the few who have been able to take it for a test ride.
2018-03-03 O Train LRT2 MV
The logo for Ottawa's O-Train Confederation light rail transit line, March 3, 2018. (Photo/ Mike Vlasveld)

More quiet and smooth than expected.

That's how Councillor for Ward 19 Cumberland and Chair of the Transit Commission for the City of Ottawa Stephen Blais described his first light rail transit ride on the new Confederation Line.

"The train came into the station and you could barely hear it," he told The Rick Gibbons Show on 1310 NEWS. "To be honest, if it wasn't for the bell dinging saying it was arriving at the station, I'm not sure we would have really noticed."

In comparison with the Trillium Line, the councillor said, "That's a rail car -- it goes over some bumps and you can feel it. The LRT is not like that at all. It was very very smooth, and I think people are going to be impressed by it and the interior, and the views you're going to get out of the panoramic windows."

Each train will be able to hold 300 passengers, 120 of which will be able to sit, and during rush hour, two trains will be linked together. Blais said anyone waiting to be picked up at a station will be served within five minutes during rush hour periods. 

The trains are also capable of reaching 100 km/hr, although the Transit Commission chair doesn't believe they will ever reach that speed.

"The speed of the train is dictated by the distance between the stations and the geometry of the tracks, you know, there are some curves in some spots, and it's all run by computer," Blais continued, "So the operator sets in if it's a rush hour route or it's the middle of the day, or if it's a weekend or Canada Day, etc., and then the computer basically runs the train and the speed, and maintains the distance between trains based on those inputs."

The Ward 19 councillor said the trip from Blair Station in the east to Tunney's Pasture in the west should take about 24 minutes by train, which is a big improvement when you compare that time with how long it can take to make that trip on the bus these days.

As for winter driving, Blais has been assured snow and ice will not slow the system down.

When the Confederation Line opens in the fall, as it is still on track to do, it will automatically become the busiest light rail network in North America. Blais said the trains are expected to be transporting between 10,000 and 11,000 people every hour in each direction. That adds up to 1-million riders over just four days. 

Listen to the full conversation with Councillor for Ward 19 Cumberland and Chair of the Transit Commission for the City of Ottawa Stephen Blais:


Mike Vlasveld

About the Author: Mike Vlasveld

Mike Vlasveld, Digital Editor, CityNews Ottawa & the Valley
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