Wheel axle issue to blame for Ottawa LRT issues

Alstom says they have found a fix for issues with the axles on Ottawa’s light rail transit system, but the train operator isn’t convinced about the root cause.

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Good morning! 

I hope everyone had a nice weekend. For the first time in a VERY long time, it was actually a slow weekend in news. 

Alstom says they have found a fix for Ottawa’s problem-plagued LRT system, but those solutions are far off. While sceptical, transit riders are hoping this will bring an end to shutdowns.   

— Charlie Senack, [email protected]

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Wednesday: 15 🌡️ 8 | 🌤


Moving toward an LRT fix

What happened: Train-maker Alstom said they have found the root cause of why Ottawa’s light rail transit system had issues with its bearings in 2021. Higher than expected lateral loads on the vehicle's axles during operation is to blame, according to CTV

The other problem: Rideau Transit Group (RTG), the private consortium that runs the LRT, and Alstom are not on the same page about what causes the failure. Alstom said the higher-than-expected lateral forces from the rail on the wheel loosen a nut inside the hub assembly, causing the part to fail. But RTG isn’t convinced, CBC reported.

The consortium’s CEO said they may come around to the idea that the excess forces are to blame, but they aren’t in agreement yet.

  • “One of the key things that everyone agrees about is the nut coming unscrewed as being a key portion of that and how that needs to be a focal point no matter what is the sequence of events that brings the nut to being unscrewed," Alstom vice-president David Van der Wee said. 

Track fixes? Also up for consideration is using a harder rail material on the LRT’s tighter curves, and other upgrades that would keep the sections where the rail is under the most stress from distorting, according to CBC.

The city’s view: OC Transpo ultimately doesn’t care whether the two sides can agree on what is making the trains break, only that the final fix actually works. Transit chief Renée Amilcar said the disagreement between the two sides was a commercial one, and the city isn’t going to take a side. Ultimately, they want to see the redesigned, and reinforced wheel hubs put in place.

  • “I have advised them that the City of Ottawa is interested only in the permanent technical solution to this issue, and not commercial debates that may arise with them,” Amilcar said, according to CBC.

Solutions: Rideau Transit Group will now start inspecting each axle assembly after every 3,750 kilometres of use, or about once every 10 days, reports the Ottawa Citizen. 

The fix? a pin will be used to hold the nut in place or a second locking nut to keep it from moving. That should reduce the number of costly and time-consuming inspections needed, says Alstom. That will take time and a prototype isn’t expected to be ready until 2025, when it will then undergo testing before preoval for has. 

“You deserve better. I want to encourage you that you have the full commitment of Alstom to be able to work very tightly with our partners to be able to bring the system back to what was promised and what is deserved,” Van der Wee said, according to CityNews.


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🤒 2: The number of people with being treated at an Ottawa Hospital for measles following a trip abroad. [CTV]

💰 $46.5B: The amount the federal deficit is expected to increase this year, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer. [Ottawa Business Journal]

🏒 5: The number of goals the Ottawa Senators scored during their first home opener of the season. [Ottawa Citizen]


Check out the new open positions in Ottawa.

  1. Client service agent at City of Ottawa

  2. Mail service courier at Canada Post

  3. Cook at Colonnade Pizza Carlingwood

  4. Associate at Royal Bank of Canada 

  5. Junior buyer at Ottawa Catholic School Board

Local jobs are selected by the Lookout team and are not paid ads, unless specifically noted.


🛻 A local business owner said she is worried about another round of blowback after testifying in the criminal trial of two of the convoy organizers. Chantal Biro, owner of upscale women’s clothing boutique Schad on Sussex Drive, said her business has consistently been targeted by convoy supporters because she’s shared her experience. [Ottawa Business Journal]

🇨🇳 The Chinatown BIA is again reporting vandalism. Colourful statues which line Somerset Street are continuing to get knocked over and broken. At a price tag of $200,000, the BIA said they can’t continue replacing the local pieces of artwork. [Ottawa Citizen]

🍃 The National Capital Commission has released a plan to remediate a highly contaminated piece of land. Brewery Creek located in downtown Gatineau could see reinvisioned commercial and residential spaces. Decontamination work won’t begin until 2024 and will cost between $7 million and $10 million. [CBC]

🪧 Members of Ottawa’s Israel and Palestinian communities marched through Ottawa streets on Sunday to protest the end of war. Demonstrators at the 'We Stand with Israel Peace Rally' waved Israeli flags, sang, and held signs. Meanwhile Pro-Palestine demonstrators gathered on Parliament Hill before marching around the National War Memorial and into the ByWard Market. [CTV]



🎡 Ottawa Multicultural Festival, Saturday: The festival will present delicious food of Ukrainian, Moldavian, Russian, Georgian and other ethnic cuisines, as well as a fair with the best handcrafts of the city, where you can buy unique handmade products. During the day you will find performances of musicians, singers and dance groups, followed by live bands and a disco in the evening. At the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park. Free. 

🎵 Yes I Can Michelle Obama music theatre, Saturday: A biographical musical about the life of the former US First Lady. Tracing her life from her beginnings on the south side of Chicago all the way to the White House. At the Meridian Theatre Centrepointe, 101 Centerpointe Dr. Tickets starting at $30. 


🎶 Elijah Woods in concert, Friday: Touring with special guest Alex Torat. At the Bronson Centre, 211 Bronson, Ave. Tickets starting at $31.


🦓 Animal Tales of Ottawa, Saturday: Join Randy Boswell, Journalist & Carleton University Professor Beginning with the ancient Indigenous inhabitants of the Ottawa Valley and Bytown’s earliest natural history societies. At the main branch of the Ottawa Public Library, 120 Metcalfe St. Free.

  • Lebanese community volunteers planted hundreds of trees in Barrhaven. [Ottawa Citizen]

  • Level up your office small talk with the #1 visual newsletter from our friends at Chartr. Join 300,000+ who love snackable charts and easy-to-remember data insights on business, tech and society. Sign up for free. [Sponsored]

  • Renfrew caboose refurbished after a two-year restoration project. [CTV]

  • A Stittsville street has turned into a haunted haven for accessible trick-or-treating. [CTV]

  • Halloween attractions to check out in Ottawa and eastern Ontario. [CTV]

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Karen Vallevand posted this photo to Twitter of a beautiful fall day at the Nepean Sailing Club. Have a community photo you want to share? Send it in!

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