Memo from John Manconi dated January 27th to City Councillors
Many of you have asked for more information about the power issue that affected trains over the weekend and today, which resulted in a reduction in the number of trains available for service.
Throughout the course of this past weekend, there were several instances where trains stopped and were unable to continue in service due to an electrical issue causing the circuit breakers on the trains to trip. In response, R1 replacement bus service was deployed once on Saturday between Parliament and St. Laurent Stations. While R1 service was deployed, trains continued to provide service between Tunney’s Pasture and Parliament Stations and between St. Laurent and Blair Stations. In all other instances, service was able to continue to all stations. Details of this issue, are provided below:
- The loss of power to the vehicle motors is due to electrical problems with the equipment on the roof of the vehicle.
- The vehicles appear to be more prone to these failures during wet or inclement weather.
- The trains have internal safety systems that monitor the flow of electricity and will automatically cut power using a rooftop high speed circuit breaker if required. When this happens, power to the vehicle is cut, and the train may come to a stop. This operates like a circuit breaker in your house.
- While the root cause of this issue is still under investigation by RTM, these incidents are the result of the train’s safety systems operating as designed. When loss of power to the motors occurs, power for systems such as lighting and other onboard systems are still available.
- Customers may hear a bang or see sparks where the train contacts the overhead power wires. This may be startling but does not pose a risk to the safety of passengers in the train or on the platform.
- When a power shutdown occurs, passengers are taken off the affected train and a technician is called to investigate and reset the system. In some cases, a secondary set of safety circuits on the train have been engaged, which requires a full train reset. As a cautionary measure, affected trains have been moved off the line for further inspection and investigation.
- The affected vehicles will undergo inspection and maintenance at the Belfast Maintenance Facility before returning to service. In some cases, the repair is minor; however, some vehicles require more time to repair which is why we are experiencing a shortage of vehicles this week.
- Further information on corrective maintenance and repairs to be confirmed by RTM.
We recognise the impact this has had on our customers and are working with RTM to resolve this problem and restore normal levels of service as quickly as possible. OC Transpo will continue to deploy supplemental bus service from Tunney’s Pasture, Hurdman and Blair stations during peak periods to adjust for the reduction in train numbers.
OC Transpo staff, including the red-vested O-Train Ambassadors, will continue to be on-site to assist and direct customers. Information is being shared with customers through all regular communication channels, including octranspo.com and @OCTranspoLive.