LRT spotted almost downtown

After years of seeing Photoshop planning drool shots of LRT equipment at downtown stations…

… one LRT almost made it.

Shown here is a LRT at Campus Station earlier this week, immediately east of the downtown.

The Campus Station itself is far short of being finished, but must have some live electrical service to power a train.

To date, LRT trainsets have mostly been spotted on the east side, as track and station works started there first, and trains come and go via a track to the Belfast Yard assembly and maintenance facility.

Here’s a view of the train spotted this week at Campus Station as seen from the Ottawa U uOttawa side:

(Both Campus Station photos by Stephen Hickson)

Ottawa is running a very tight ship when it comes to releasing information. Therefore, speculation runs rife. Anything and everything is up for conjecture.

Some web sites and email groups I lurk on are speculating that the Confederation Line project is sufficiently far behind schedule that not only is a May handover date a fantasy, but so is the much-rumoured October handover.

above: where there’s an opening, there’s politicians …

Given that there is an election in 2018, I think it is imperative that some service be running before the serious campaigning. Ideally, it would start close enough to the election that there will still be public euphoria and excitement and gee-whiz oh-wow commentary, and little time for the less thrilling bits to be discovered and picked over. You mean most people are expected to stand, and not just at rush hour? As long there is campaign literature with a politician on a train then all will be OK.

Some think it will be feasible to open up a part of the system, say from Blair to Ottawa U, while still running express connection buses into the downtown from ‘burbs. In this way the public hears it is running, so it is “real”, but is being phased in.

Fantasy phase-in scenarios suggest opening Blair to Ottawa U, then later into the downtown tunnel bit, at which point we close the eastern connection buses.  Then maybe a bit later, open the downtown to Tunney’s portion, closing the western connection buses. Then quickly segue into talk of the “next opening” being Tunney’s to Westboro**, then Lincoln Fields, etc, so that it “reads” as if phased-in construction and openings was always the plan. Good communications strategies and tactics should make this quite convincing. After all, the majority of residents and voters don’t use transit, and won’t even when it is a fancy streetcar in a tunnel. By time they hear the 13th news story about it running, they’ll have the vague notion it is open. Somewhere. Promise kept.

Can’t you just hear Watson intoning about fiscal prudence and public safety being his priority, with a humble nod to being a bit later than we wished?

But of course, all this is just dogs barking in the night.

 

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** Note that from Tunney’s to Westboro is a straight shot, no major construction except for the new Station. If desired, this segment might be openable quite quickly, to keep up the momentum.

 

4 thoughts on “LRT spotted almost downtown

  1. Given that much of the lag time between handover and revenue service (i.e. “Opening”) is certification and training, I don’t really see how a phased-in approach to opening is possible.

    It’s worth remembering that train sets were never expected through the tunnel before fall to account for Kontinum at Lyon Station. everyone is fuzzy on the dates, but an early spring handover would still give construction the better part of 6 months to finish stations.

    I also wonder if some testing/training can take place as finishing touches like landscaping are put on stations.

  2. This is a big project and a plus or minus slip on the planned opening date is to be expected. If a train can now make it all the way to UOttawa and everything is ready on the west side of downtown (straight shot), then probably a concerted push could finish off what is all underground work. I well imagine that commuters will be side stepping scaffolding, ladders, etc., around opening day and we should probably not be too severe in our criticism. They had an ambitious schedule to pursue and there were a couple of public setbacks as well, all associated with the tunnel. Ask the question as to how does this project compare with other LRT systems; how does this project compare with when the bus transit way was built; It went through a horrendous learning curve as I recall. I am willing to cut them some slack on this. P.S., I am now retired but I still use transit to get downtown so I continue to keep my Presto Card active. I look forward to riding on the train.

  3. Back in October of 2013 I attended the ground breaking ceremony at the future site of the western LRT tunnel portal. I remember distinctly what the officials from Rideau Transit Group said that day, “The line is expected to open for public service sometime around late September, early October 2018”. I believe that is the date they are still going by.

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