Ottawa Will Triple Length of City’s Rail Transit Network

A train on Ottawa's Trillium Line (Photo by MB-one)

Our weekly “New Starts” roundup of new and newsworthy transportation projects worldwide.

Ottawa Council Approves Stage 2 O-Train Extensions
Stage 1 of Ottawa’s Confederation Line, the upgrading of the city’s successful Transitway BRT to a light metro, is still having trouble making it to Opening Day, but that hasn’t deterred the Canadian national capital from doubling — make that tripling — down on rail transit.

Railway Age reports that Ottawa City Council voted 19-3 on March 18 to approve the Stage 2 expansion package for the O-Train light rail transit network. The C$4.7 billion (U.S. $3.53 billion) expansion plan will add a total of 43.5 km (26.72 miles) of new route and 24 stations to the nearly completed 12.5-km (7.77-mile) Confederation Line Stage 1 and the already-in-service 8-km (4.97-mile) Trillium Line. The O-Train Stage 2 project will be the largest single public works project undertaken in the National Capital Region’s history.

The Confederation Line will get extensions to the east and west of the Stage 1 segment. The five-station eastern extension will run 12.5 km (7.77 miles) from Stage 1’s Blair Road terminus to Trim Road. The western extension will have 11 stations and 15 km (9.32 miles) of route. The main line will run from the Stage 1 western terminus at Tunney’s Pasture to Moodie Drive and have nine stations; a two-stop branch will serve Algonquin College at Baseline Road.

The diesel-powered Trillium Line will be extended southward from its current terminus at Greensboro to two new termini, one at Riverside and the other at Macdonald-Cartier International Airport. A total of 16 km (9.94 miles) of route and six stations will be added to the existing line; in addition, two new stations will be added to the current Trillium Line segment and a new interchange station with Bayview on the Confederation Line built.

Work on Stage 2 is slated to begin later this year. The Trillium Line extensions should open in 2022, followed by the Confederation Line eastern extension in 2024 and the western extension the following year. Metro Report International states that the new extensions will have a design capacity of 24,000 passengers per hour in each direction at peak periods and put 77 percent of Ottawa’s population within 5 km (3.11 miles) of a station.

Meanwhile, Railway Age also reports that the consortium building Stage 1 will miss yet another deadline for handing over the completed line to the city. This time, it’s testing of the line that will cause the Rideau Transit Group to miss a March 30 deadline for completion. Not enough electric-powered LRVs have been certified as ready for service to provide the 15 two-car trains needed to simulate peak period operation on the line. The consortium has committed to turn over a finished, ready-to-run project no later than June 30. If it finishes its work early enough, the line could open on Canada Day, July 1, after a 30-day inspection period.

State, Federal Governments Sign Accord to Build Melbourne Airport Rail Link
The Australian federal government and the Victoria state government have reached an agreement that sets out how the long-planned rail line connecting the city and its suburbs with Melbourne Airport will be built, Railway Gazette reports.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in announcing the agreement jointly with Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews, said that “Melbourne is truly a global city that deserves world-class infrastructure” and that the people of Melbourne and Victoria “had been waiting far too long for the rail link to become a reality.”

The airport rail link will be designed to connect with several suburban services from a junction near Sunshine and head into the city using the new Metro Tunnel now under construction. The line will also connect with other suburban rail services via the planned Suburban Rail Loop belt line.

The federal government has already committed A$5 billion (U.S. $3.54 billion) to the project’s projected total cost of A$8 billion-$13 billion (U.S. $5.67 billion-$9.22 billion), and the Victoria government has pledged a similar amount toward construction. Actual construction should begin in 2022 and take nine years to complete.

Jakarta Metro Takes Passengers Along for Test Rides
Metro Report International reports that Jakarta’s new metro began carrying passengers on test runs March 12, a little more than two weeks ahead of a planned official opening on March 26.

During the trial period, the line will carry about 28,000 passengers a day on its 15.7-km (9.76-mile) run from Bundaran HI station in the city center to Lebak Bulus in the south.

Ridership once the line officially opens is projected to be 212,000 daily passengers at the outset, rising to 960,000 riders a day over time. The line has seven elevated and six underground stations, and fares are set at a flat 10,000 rupiah (70 U.S. cents).​

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Next City contributor Sandy Smith is the home and real estate editor at Philadelphia magazine. Over the years, his work has appeared in Hidden City Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other local and regional publications. His interest in cities stretches back to his youth in Kansas City, and his career in journalism and media relations extends back that far as well.

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