The City received a corrective action plan from Rideau Transit Group on Tuesday, March 31, outlining the steps the consortium is taking to correct performance issues with the Confederation Line. City Council today received an overview of the plan. Staff asked Rideau Transit Group to revise the plan and provide additional supporting information. Staff will share more details with Council once the City receives an updated plan.
Inquiry Winter Condition Testing:
City Council was informed on several occasions by senior staff that the trains currently in use on the LRT system were winter and cold condition tested at the NRC laboratories.
Further, Council was left with the impression that the testing had gone well and there were positive results regarding winter performance. However, the trains have experienced numerous challenges in winter conditions.
Keeping in mind all the above, can staff report back as follows:
- Provide, in writing, the instructions provided to the NRC laboratories by the City prior to testing; and
Provide, in writing, the results of the winter testing completed by the NRC laboratories including any and all reports provided to the City.
Response (Date: 2020-Mar-27)
The specific test procedure and test reports contain proprietary information and RTG has not consented to their release. The City has prepared the following summary which provides a high-level overview of the testing results. Councillors may arrange for viewing of the original documents with the City Clerk.
The instructions provided for the testing rely principally on RTG to demonstrate that the requirements of the Project Agreement are met. In order to fully demonstrate compliance to these requirements, Rideau Transit Group (RTG)’s vehicle supplier (Alstom) contracted Automotive and Surface Transportation, a division of the National Research Council Canada (NRC), to conduct testing on the Citadis Spirit light rail vehicle (LRV) in the NRC climate chamber from January 10 to February 27, 2017.
Alstom outlined the testing requirements in testing procedures provided to the NRC in advance of the start of the testing. Performance of the vehicle was evaluated for the following categories of tests:
- The Climatic conditions testing was performed to assess basic functionality of the light rail vehicle when exposed to environmental conditions including wind, rain, ice and snow at temperatures ranging from -38°C to 38°C.
- Climatic comfort testing was performed to assess the Heating, Ventilation and Air Condition (HVAC) performance during both heating and cooling (with simulated passenger and solar loads) at temperatures ranging from -22°C to 35°C with varying humidity conditions.
- Auxiliary Power System (APS) test was performed to evaluate the power capacity of the APS and ensure that the light rail vehicle maintained all required auxiliary functions after the loss of high voltage power.
- Windshield wipers, sanding nozzles and vehicle battery testing was performed to ensure the functionality of specified hardware when exposed to severe environmental conditions.
The NRC completed 39 separate tests on the vehicle using numerous testing scenarios,
including a variety of temperatures (between +38 and –38C) and relative humidity (between 0-98%) and a combination of exterior conditions (100km/h wind, 55mm/h snow accumulation, 5mm/h freezing rain accumulation, and 60mm/h rain) to validate that the vehicles could operate in Ottawa’s different temperatures. Temperature reading instruments, known as thermocouples, where placed throughout the interior and exterior of the trains to measure temperatures during the tests.
The climatic testing of the Citadis Spirit LRV generally demonstrated that the vehicles can withstand Ottawa’s most severe weather conditions and provide a safe and comfortable ride for customers. In the cases where the test results from the NRC facility did not fully meet the expected criteria, an engineering analysis was performed by the supplier to resolve and address any deviations.
The Citadis Spirit LRV failed 4 of the 39 tests that were performed. The four failures were a result of minor water tightness related leaks. Alstom subsequently resolved the issue and replicated the leakages in a production water test later in the project.
Seeing that the majority of climatic tests passed without issues and a sound rationale explains each of the deviations, the overall climate comfort and climatic conditions test were considered as passed by RTG and Alstom. The tests also identified some improvements that were required on the vehicle and these were implemented on the fleet (for example ceiling air diffuser modification).
In addition to the NRC tests, some supplemental tests were performed at Belfast Yard on the vehicle during the winter of 2018 with the vehicle in its full configuration. These included front windshield defrost and vertical and horizontal temperature stratification.