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2 Trillium Line stations still off grid; city blames Hydro Ottawa strike

A hydro strike and signalling testing issues are to blame for the most recent delay for the Trillium Line extension.

It will be November at the earliest before the north-south line could be handed over to the city, but staff say there is no guarantee that there won’t be more delays.

Michael Morgan, the city’s director of rail construction, says, “We have tried to be forthright and forthcoming with all of the risks and things on the project. Absent operating the nine trains on the line in the coming four to six weeks there is always a chance things could get pushed out.”

The city’s light rail subcommittee received an update on construction for Stage 2 of the rail system in Ottawa Tuesday, including the north-south line from Bayview Station to Riverside South, with a spur to the Ottawa International Airport.

Morgan says, “We are absolutely focused on finishing this year and getting it into service this year. There are things that are outside of our control.”

The delays are being caused by signalling system issues and Morgan says stations at Dow’s Lake and South Keys still don’t have permanent power, partially due to the ongoing Hydro Ottawa strike.

“The strike is affecting two locations,” he says. “All the other locations already have permanent power. They have been connected, they have been commissioned, so we are in good shape with the other stations. These two locations, we have some mitigation measures including putting up a temporary generator that we can use to commission the electrical systems.

“But at the end of the day, to put a system into service, we want permanent power to the stations. We will be looking to find that date and that timeline to get those stations properly powered up.”

Morgan says the strike is not having an impact on another other parts of Trillium Line.

Chair of the LRT subcommittee, Coun. Steve Desroches says work continues to make sure the line stays on target.

“Staff are still working on other fronts to make sure that this project moves forward and advances. I think that resolution to the labour dispute needs to happen at the negation table and not at the council table. I hope that those negotiations continue and there will be a resolution where it belongs, at the negotiation table,” he said.

The committee also heard track work is largely complete from end to end, but some stations also need occupancy permits and approvals for elevators.

Earlier this year, the subcommittee heard that the aim for trial running was the third week of September, but on Tuesday, Morgan told the committee there is no specific date for trail running.

Morgan also says in order to move to trial running, there needs to be nine trains running end to end for testing. Right now, only two trains are testing on the track.

The Trillium Line was originally scheduled to open in August 2022, and was then delayed until September 2023.

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