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City hoping for Monday return to LRT, won’t run all trains to start

The city hopes to get some of the trains back on Line 1 next Monday, but not all of the trains at once. Plus, another 417 shutdown this weekend.

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Good morning!

We’re now well into the second week of the train shutdown. But, hopefully, it is also the last week. We’ve got a whole bunch of LRT news for you today, including when the city hopes to get at least some of its trains rolling again.

Let’s get to it.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

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Weather Report

Wednesday: 30 🌡️ 18 | ⛈️

Thursday: 27 🌡️ 20 | 🌧

Friday: 30 🌡️ 19 | 🌦


Trains next week, a full fix in a year? Just maybe!

What happened: The city hopes to start running trains on Line 1 starting next Monday, if all goes well with train inspections. And there may be a permanent fix to the wheel hub issues on the horizon.

The permanent fix: A redesigned axle is also in the works for all of the trains. The city didn’t have an exact timeline for when they could be tested and installed, but the process will take at least a year. It is hoped that this new, stronger axle will be able to handle the stresses of daily running.

Until then, what? The full maintenance plan to keep the trains running hasn’t been settled on, but there are some things the city is doing before the new axles are ready.

It is adding special lubricators to 16 parts of the line around sharp curves that will take some stress off the train, and is also adjusting the position of some restraining rails, which help keep the wheels slotted in the tracks, according to Richard Holder, the city’s rail manager.

  • The design and testing of the axles will be done over the next year, but it’s not known when they will go on trains, or how long that will take.

Degraded bus service: Because the trains are down and R1 replacement buses are running, bus service across the city is struggling. There aren’t enough buses and drivers to keep up with the demands of regular service and replacement service. Transit boss Renée Amilcar said she was hoping to get more buses on the road to alleviate some of the delays.

Like after previous shutdowns, she said the city is focused on getting reliable train service in the future, and won’t focus on how to improve bus service if there is another shutdown.

Alternative routes: If R1 service has got you down, why not try one of the many local routes that criss-cross the main LRT line. An engineering student at uOttawa, Ella Primeau, has been making and posting maps on Reddit on some of the routes to avoid the bigger crowds.

“When the train's down, I use these routes to avoid the R1, mostly because I would rather take the shortcut route, the side street route.… And so I thought, I have this knowledge, it might be of use to people now that the train is down again for an unforeseeable amount of time,” she told CBC.

  • She recommended the 16 if you’re looking to move along all the major LRT stops from Tunney’s to Lees.

Reimbursement? At Monday’s press conference, both Mayor Mark Stutcliffe and Amilcar shied away from promising free transit to the people of Ottawa for the inconvenience of yet another shutdown.

  • “Now my focus is really to bring back the service. And we need reliable service. So we can probably talk about that later, but for now, I have to deliver a good service to the residents.” Amilcar said.

More testing: The city has begun a testing program where it will run a train with a bearing that is outside of its normal tolerances — very early in the process of failure — to see if it can detect any vibration patterns that could help detect future bearing failures.

  • The city said there would be no risk to the system, as the test had been conservatively designed, and had an engineer on board the train to halt the test if things progressed toward something serious like a derailment.

Return plan: More details about train restarting is expected today, but Amilcar said the plan would likely involve running fewer than normal trains along the whole line, hopefully starting Monday.

Inspection progress: All of the 44 trains have now been inspected to see if their bearings are in good shape. Six of them were found to be out of tolerance — about one-one thousandth (1/1,000) of an inch — and needed further inspection.

Looking ahead: One of the upsides of this particular shutdown, from the city’s perspective anyway, has been the amount of day and night testing they have been able to do in hot weather conditions. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll be able to get to the bottom of this.


📈 163%: The amount opioid overdoses are up in the city compared to last year. So far this year, police received 966 overdose calls, compared to 367 last year over the same time period. [CTV]

⛳️ 4: The number of playoff holes required to settle the PGA Canada Tour’s Commissionaires Ottawa Open this weekend. Stuart Macdonald ended up victorious. [Ottawa Citizen]


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🕌 An Ottawa mosque on St. Laurent had its charitable status reinstated. The mosque won an appeal against the Canada Revenue Agency, which stripped its status in 2018 for hosting controversial speakers. [CBC]

🐮 The Dairy Distillery in Almonte is expanding into the biofuels sector, by opening a plant in Michigan to make fuel-grade ethanol using a similar process to their Vodkow spirits. [Ottawa Citizen]

🎸 The Stittsville Front Porch Concert Series raised a record $11,537 this year. [Stittsville Central]

🏡 A family who escaped the collapse of Afghanistan in 2021 is settling well into life in Orléans. [Orléans Star]

🚨 A fisher made a gruesome catch in Sainte-Thérèse-de-la-Gatineau north of the city, when they pulled a human foot from a lake while fishing. [CTV]


Queensway to close for LRT overpass construction

City of Ottawa/Handout

What happened: Police officers are more frequently being caught for What happened: This weekend the 417 will close between Woodroffe and Greenbank from Friday night at 11 pm to Monday morning at 5 am. A pedestrian walkway will be installed to improve access to the new LRT station going at the north side of the highway.

Fortunately, this is a shorter closure than the downtown bridge replacement, but with transit in shambles because of the LRT shutdown, expect delays.

City of Ottawa/Handout

Detours: The detours are reasonably short and straightforward.

  • Heading west, drivers will be diverted north on Woodroffe and then west on Carling, where they can get back on the highway by following Pinecrest or Richmond.

  • Going east, drivers will be diverted south on Greenbank, west on Baseline, then back north on Woodroffe to rejoin the highway.

Alternatives: On its website the city recommended taking transit, including the O-Train Line 1…which has not been functioning for more than a week.


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🔌 Hydro Ottawa workers on strike are optimistic they’ll be able to reach a deal. At issue in the strike are staffing shortages, workplace culture, and safety. [Ottawa Citizen]

⚖️ Convoy organizer Pat King will stand trial in November on a charge of mischief and other charges over his leadership of the protest. [CTV]

🚨 Ottawa police are getting ready for the return of the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally, organized by former convoy participants. The weekend rally is expected Aug. 5. [CBC]

🏥 The switch of federal public service worker health benefits to a new provider has many feeling like they’re slipping through the cracks. [CBC]

🚓 The Ottawa Police Service has yet to find a suitable location for its proposed ByWard Market outpost. [CTV]

🏗️ The old city registry office was moved 18 metres very, very slowly as part of a new development on Nicholas Street. [CBC]

🏦 Businesses are hoping the federal government will extend the timeline to pay back emergency COVID loans, but there is no sign an extension will happen. Only about 21 percent of businesses that received loans have repaid. The current deadline is Jan. 1 2024, when interest will kick in. [CTV]

😷 A new issue of the British Medical Journal argued Canada needs to call a public inquiry into its COVID response because of the failures by multiple governments to contain the crisis. [Ottawa Citizen]

  • Missing the Hershey chocolate factory in Smiths Falls? Someone has For the next few weekends, the southbound lane of Riverside Drive off of the 417 will be closed for construction. [City of Ottawa]

  • Coming soon just across the river is a fish and chips place that also specializes in gin. You won’t want to miss it.

  • Yesterday, the NCC River House officially reopened to the public! [Facebook]

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🏈 The Redblacks beat the Calgary Stampeders this weekend, winning 43-41 in overtime. [The Canadian Press]

🛫 Redblacks assistant GM Jeremy Snyder, who has been with the team from the start, will be leaving Ottawa for Texas, but will remain in his job. [Ottawa Sun]


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