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Ottawa LRT – Light Rail Transit

Confederation Line – Ottawa Light Rail Transit (LRT) Info & Map

Originally being approved by the Ottawa City Council, the contract to start building this part of the Ottawa light rail transit was awarded in December of 2012.  Once the bid was awarded, construction would then begin a year later in 2013, and the expected finish date for this particular line is going to be September of 2019.  With a price tag that is over $2.1 billion dollars, this is the largest the absolute largest infrastructure project that has ever been awarded to anyone in the entire history of the city of Ottawa, until it was surpassed by ironically, the Stage 2 extension of this same exact light rail transit line, which has a cost of over $2.57 billion dollars.

The History of the Ottawa Light Rail Transit

Being approved unanimously by the Ottawa City Council back on December 19, 2012, this line was finally approved after many, many years of debate, the main problem being whether or not a rapid transit network was really going to beneficial to the city of Ottawa.  This particular light rail transit line actually represents the first phase of a network that is going to be created for the entire city. In fact, it is actually going to be represented through a project that is going to take 30 years through a Design-Build-Finance-Maintenance agreement that was made with Rideau Transit Group.  It will be the Citadis Spirit train that is going to be used to help provide all of the passenger services.

Unfortunately, on June 8, 2016, there was a sinkhole that opened up in the middle of what is known as Rideau Street, near the intersection of Sussex Drive, that was 82 feet (25 meters) above the light rail transit tunnel system construction, which ended up eating three full lanes of the road, as well as one parked van.  This collapse would be a huge setback, as it prompted for the immediate evacuation of the entire Rideau Center, as well as closing several different local streets in the area, as well as many businesses as well. Luckily, nobody was killed or even seriously injured, but the tunnel that was nearly finished did end up becoming completely flooded, submerging even a roadheader.  While repairs would eventually be completed, the city was cleared of any kind of wrongdoing in the situation.

Later in the year, the testing of the line’s rolling stock would begin.  While it was originally planned to continue on through the following year, there would be another speedbump, this one pushing back the open date of the entire railway system that was originally scheduled to be opened to everyone in November of 2018.  In September of that year, it would be announced that the line would not be opening as originally scheduled, the open date being pushed back to open in the early part of 2019. In March of 2019, there would be more unforeseen problems which would push the open date back to somewhere between April and June of the same year.  Then in May of 2019, there would once again be a delay, this one pushing the open date back to sometime in the third quarter of 2019. This delay would be due mainly in part to several concerns about the train operations.

Ottawa Light Rail Transit Route 

The Confederation Line spans from Tunney’s Pasture station, which is located in the west, all the way to Blair station, which is located in the east.  This is a distance of 7.8 miles, or 12.5 kilometers and includes a tunnel that is 1.6 miles (2.5 kilometers) long and one of which runs under Queen Street, which is located in the central business district.  The line is going to connect with an existing Bus Rapid Transitway on either ends of its route, as well as the O-Train Trillium Line which is out of Bayview Station.

With the grade separation that is going to need to be traveled, it is expected that the amount of time it will take to travel between one end of the rail line to the other, is projected at less than 25 minutes.  The frequency of the train that can be expected is roughly every 5 minutes or even better during the peak commute hours, slowing to every 15 minutes or better once 11pm hits. The exception to that would be on every Sunday.  The Confederation Line will keep hours that include:

  • Monday thru Thursday = 5am to 1am
  • Friday = 5am to 2am
  • Saturday = 6am to 2am
  • Sunday = 8am to 11pm

While there is no plan to synchronize any part of the schedule when it comes to the last Confederation Line and the Trillium line of trains that will pass through the Bayview Station, the very last line of the Trillium Line of trains will stop running right after midnight from Monday thru Saturday, ending at 11:30pm on Sundays.  What this means is that it is actually possible to become stranded at the Bayview train station if one of the train lines were to arrive after the very last train on the other line has already departed.

While the project has been many years in the making, as soon as the Ottawa light rail transit is complete, it is going to provide a huge service for all of the commuters who need to go to the other side of town for work.  On top of that, it is also going to be a great way to help the entire city get around a whole lot easier, as well as help reduce the amount of driving that will need to be done.

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