The City of Ottawa and its LRT partner the Rideau Transit Group (RTG) are set to review 12 days of operations testing of its phase-one Confederation Line to determine if the system is ready for commissioning.
Trial running of the $2.1-billion, 12.5-kilometre system began July 29 after the RTG reported to the City it had achieved substantial completion of the project, which was originally scheduled to be ready to roll in 2018.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson tweeted #AlmostThere on July 27 in reaction to news of the substantial completion notice.
A memo from the deputy city treasurer, however, noted RTG had already missed three proposed dates of revenue service availability (RSA) dating back to 2018 and thus the City would be seeking $3 million in damage payments.
Asked for comment on the delays, RTG deferred to the City of Ottawa. The City did not respond to requests for interviews, instead conveying its position through prepared statements and memos.
The objective of this important next step is to complete 12 consecutive days of regularly scheduled service,
— John Manconi
City of Ottawa
The City’s Transportation Services Department general manager John Manconi laid out the next steps towards commissioning in a statement to the Daily Commercial News.
“We can confirm that RTG has commenced trial running. A team made up of representatives from RTG, Rideau Transit Maintenance, City staff and the Independent Certifier will review the performance of the system throughout the trial running period,” reported Manconi.
“The objective of this important next step is to complete 12 consecutive days of regularly scheduled service and to confirm system readiness for passenger service by exercising the Confederation Line system at full functionality.
“The Independent Certifier will confirm whether the requirements of trial running have been achieved as part of finalizing the requirements for revenue service availability (RSA).”
The trial will assess system safety; operations of the system, including end-to-end travel times and intervals between trains during different operation scenarios such as in-peak and off-peak periods; maintenance activities; vehicle performance; customer systems including public address systems, escalators and elevators; and other systems such as CCTV and tunnel ventilations systems.
A June 10 presentation indicated Alstom met its commitment to supply the rolling stock by July 7; the Thule train-control software was confirmed deployed by July 8; and a service level requirement of double-car operation has been demonstrated with 10 double trains.
Deputy city treasurer Isabelle Jasmin reported that RTG has submitted and missed proposed RSA dates of May 24, 2018, Nov. 2, 2018, and March 31, 2019. As per the contract, Jasmin noted, RTG owes liquidated damages in the amount of $1 million for each Required RSA date missed.
Once RSA has been confirmed, the City will need up to four weeks to conduct final preparations for the launch, Manconi wrote in a memo to city councillors. Included will be more operational training, drills and exercises, bus and rail planning and service changes.
The City’s Ready for Rail campaign will be ramped up at that point to ensure customers and others are aware of the system’s readiness.
RTG, consisting of members SNC-Lavalin, EllisDon, Dragados Canada, Alstom, Hatch Mott MacDonald, MMM Group and Fast + Epp, started work under a design, build, finance, maintain contract in February 2013. RTG will maintain the system until 2038, with OC Transpo managing operations.
A City of Ottawa newsletter indicated that final clean-up of some of the 13 new stations was still being undertaken in July.
Three stations in the downtown area are connected to a new downtown tunnel. A maintenance site, the Belfast Yard, was constructed and the contract also included the 417 Widening project, valued at $200 million. As part of that job, the 417 was widened by one lane in each direction between Nicholas Street and the Highway 417/174 split.
The Belfast Yard received a Substantial Completion Certificate from the Independent Certifier in June.
A $3-billion second phase will expand upon phase one with other related projects undertaken.
Follow Don Wall on Twitter @DonWall_DCN.