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Testing and training underway on Trillium Line ahead of summer launch

Testing and staff training continues on Ottawa’s new north-south light rail transit line, but there is no word on when passengers may be able to board the Trillium Line this summer.

The new north-south line will transport passengers between Bayview Station and Riverside South, with a spur to the Ottawa International Airport. The new LRT line was originally scheduled to open in August 2022, but the launch is two years behind schedule due to construction delays.

“At this time, we continue to make progress in testing, training, and construction,” Katrina Camposarcone-Stubbs, public information officer for OC Transpo, said in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.

“This stage is essential to helping us achieve our goal of providing safe and reliable service by ensuring that all systems are working well together and allowing our staff the opportunity to gain more experience running trains on the new lines. Additionally, TransitNEXT continues to undertake final construction activities and demonstrate to the City that they can perform their maintenance responsibilities.”

At the end of May, councillors on the transit commission and the light-rail subcommittee were told that training was on track to wrap up in mid-June, with another eight to 10 weeks of testing and trial running required before the launch of the LRT system.

A train departs a station along the Trillium Line on Thursday, May 16. There is still no opening date for the new north-south rail line. (Leah Larocque/CTV News Ottawa)

According to that timeline, the earliest passengers could be boarding the Trillium Line is “mid-August,” according to Michael Morgan, director of rail construction.

The eight to 10-week testing period is intended to ensure operators can safely run the system during normal hours and that the maintenance team can do the work during overnight shutdowns each night.

As part of the pre-launch, OC Transpo and TransitNEXT are required to do a 21-day testing period before the system can launch. The 21-day period includes a 14-day service reliability test with the Trillium Line running a full regular service schedule to simulate passenger service and a seven-day “failure scenario management” period.

Council will receive a daily summary of the trial running period, including a list of any “critical issues” discovered during the trial period.

An opening date will be recommended to the light-rail subcommittee for approval to launch the line.

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