This has been a less than stellar week for the City`s train service but I am happy to see that the Stage 1 LRT system has now been restored.
The ongoing concern remains the train cars with wheel hub issues. All Confederation Line trains were taken out of service this week after an inspection found a “failure” in one vehicle’s wheel hub assembly. This is coming after an unrelated incident where service was interrupted over the weekend due to a lightning strike that damaged the overhead power system.
The Stage 1 LRT line is completely functioning, but the lightning incident still needs to be examined. Lightning strikes are rare but given climate change is causing more extreme weather patterns this could be a risk again in the future so preventive measures should be looked at.
Rideau Transit Group (RTG) has been undertaking additional inspections after issues were found in the wheel hub assembly on one light rail vehicle. Based on RTG’s assessment, 20 light rail cars (all cars with more than 175,000 in-service kilometres) were pulled from service so that RTM and Alstom (the manufacturer of the trains) can replace the axle hubs as a precautionary measure. The cars will return to service once the replacements are complete. Alstom has brought in additional engineering experts from Europe to assist with the enhanced inspections and to help determine the root cause on the affected vehicle.
Transportation Resource Associates (TRA) is also on-site to support OC Transpo and monitor the work of RTM and Alstom. As stated in the July 23 memo, OC Transpo reported this incident to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB), and they have started their own investigation. I appreciate the cooperation OC Transpo is giving to these agencies to ensure safety measures have been followed.
The disruption to the Stage 1 LRT service meant that R1 bus service was required to replace the gaps in the train route. The domino effect caused bus drivers to transfer to the R1 route meaning local bus routes were cancelled. This created a major inconvenience for residents waiting at local bus stops. I appreciate that the R1 service is no longer required. Residents have been beyond frustrated with missing buses that have continued to surface with what is supposed to be an efficient and reliable source of public transportation.
Residents deserve consistent, dependable service. There remains much work ahead for OC Transpo and the City to rebuild the trust and confidence in the transit service offered especially if the goal is to increase ridership. We need answers on what is being done to prevent these delays in the future and ensure that best practices are followed.