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Here’s what you need to know about the O-Train shutdown and R1 service in Ottawa today

OC Transpo will provide more information about the timeline for the return of light-rail transit service in Ottawa today, as commuters kick off a third week riding the R1 replacement bus service instead of the O-Train.

Rideau Transit Group, Alstom and city of Ottawa officials have spent the weekend developing a safe return-to-service plan for the O-Train, after RTG said Friday that additional actions were required to ensure there is no contact between the train wheel and the restraining rail.

OC Transpo had initially promised O-Train service would resume today with eight single-car trains, but Transit Services general manager Renee Amilcar said the return-to-service will be delayed at least 10 more days to complete the infrastructure work.

“Throughout the weekend, there’s been a risk assessment being done and some additional planning and evaluation of what needs to be done with the track maintenance work,” Glen Gower, Ottawa’s Transit Commission Chair, told CTV News Ottawa on Sunday.

“We’re heading in the right direction; it’s frustrating that it’s taking so long and hopefully (Monday) we will have a better idea of the timeline to get the trains back up and running.”

Gower says Amilcar and OC Transpo will provide an update on the ongoing investigation and a possible timeline for the safe return to service on Monday.

Meantime, a new R1 Express shuttle will be launched today to speed up trips between Blair Station and the downtown core during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

The R1 Express will run westbound from Blair Station direct to downtown Ottawa, stopping at Mackenzie King Bridge and along Albert Street at Bank and Kent streets, between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.  The R1 Express will run westbound from downtown Ottawa, with stops on Slater Street at Bank and Kent and at Mackenzie King Bridge, to Blair Station between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The new route will be identified as “R1 Lyon Express” and “R1 Blair Express” on the bus display.

Gower says transit riders and east end councillors have been pushing for a direct route.

“What we’re seeing is for people coming in from the east end, that could be an hour or more on the R1. It is quite a long route and there’s some highway closures and lane reductions, so it’s a really difficult stretch,” Gower said.

OC Transpo will continue to operate R1 replacement bus service between Blair and Tunney’s Pasture stations, with 36 buses running during peak periods. An additional 12 buses will operate the R1 Express route during the morning and afternoon peak periods.

Ottawa’s nearly four-year-old LRT system has been out of service since July 17, when OC Transpo abruptly shut down service after an axle-bearing issue was discovered on one train during routine inspection.  

Here is what you need to know about R1 service today

R1 replacement bus service

R1 replacement bus service continues to run between Blair and Tunney’s Pasture stations while the O-Train is out of service.

In downtown Ottawa, R1 replacement bus service is running along Albert and Slater streets, instead of Queen Street, in a bid to avoid traffic delays.

  • Westbound R1 buses are running on Albert Street, with stops at Bank and Kent 
  • Eastbound R1 buses are running on Slater Street, with stops at Kent and O’Connor 

R1 westbound service will stop at each station between Blair and Tunney’s Pasture, except for Lees Station.

A shuttle bus is operating between Lees, uOttawa and Rideau stations.  Customers travelling to Lees station from the east can connect with the shuttle and eastbound R1 service at uOttawa station.

A shuttle bus is also running between Cyrville and St. Laurent stations to connect customers with R1 bus service.

R1 Express

The new R1 Express service between Blair Station and downtown Ottawa will operate weekday mornings and afternoons.

The new route will be identified as “R1 Lyon Express” and “R1 Blair Express” on the bus display.

Buses will run approximately every 15 minutes, according to OC Transpo.

“R1 Lyon Express”

  • The R1 Lyon Express will run westbound Monday to Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
  • Bus service will operate from Blair Station to downtown, with stops on the Mackenize King Bridge and on Albert Street at Bank and Kent

The route for OC Transpo’s new R1 Express route from Blair Station to downtown Ottawa. (OC Transpo website)

“R1 Blair Express”

  • The R1 Blair Express will run eastbound Monday to Friday, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Bus service will operate from downtown to Blair Station with stops on Slater Street at Bank and Kent and at the Mackenize King Bridge

The route for the new R1 Express service from downtown Ottawa to Blair Station. (OC Transpo website)

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