LRT Repair Folly: Not Criminal But Should Be



“Rideau Transit Group has committed to provide a permanent solution to the axle bearing issue and this includes a re-design of the cartridge bearing assembly. The cartridge bearing assembly redesign will focus on strengthening the structure of the assembly to better withstand the lateral forces experienced on the Confederation Line and deliver a product that meets reliability, availability, maintainability, and safety requirements. Alstom has indicated that a Sustainable Solution can be achieved without a redesign and is not currently working on this initiative. The City has formally communicated the imperative for the re-design work to re-commence.”

From a staff report to city transit commission and the light-rail subcommittee for Friday meeting


This paragraph above means that two years of work into finding a solution to Ottawa’s light-rail fiasco have gone to waste.

And we are buried in the same kind of disagreements that contributed mightily to the LRT mess we have today. LRT maintenance manager RTG says the bearings are a big part of the problem. Train-builder Alstom says no. The city agrees with RTG.

The victims are the taxpayers and transit-riders of Ottawa. This is $6.4 billion of wasted money. Imagine what could have been done with that funding in other fields of need. It is nothing less than a tragedy of unparalleled municipal incompetence. It is difficult to find words to describe how badly this file has been handled.

The city went forth with a decision to pursue fixing the wheel-hub assembly problems through an Alstom redesign. Alstom has stopped the redesign. More wasted time in which the Ottawa transit system, bus and rail, continues to be butchered. This is creating mountainous mistrust of public transit in the city. With work-at-home, skyrocketing costs and post-pandemic effects on travel patterns, Ottawa’s transit system is on the cusp of being completely destroyed.

To add to this stupidity, the city went forth with a hub-assembly solution (that wasn’t a solution) without knowing the root cause of the LRT’s highly dangerous derailing problem (at one point characterized by an OC Transpo official as derailments that were “normal’).

You don’t go forward with fixing a problem when you don’t know what the problem is. But in the mad rush to fix LRT, that’s what the city did.

Utterly and completely foolhardy and incompetent or, in other words, playing to form with this entire $6.4 billion folly. The misspending of this money is not criminal, but it should be.

After all this ridiculousness, it is obvious the city cannot handle this project and that LRT should be put in the hands of people who know what they are doing.

Ken Gray


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1 Response

  1. sisco farraro says:

    A word that has crept into our everyday discussions is “sustainability”. These days people are expected to contribute to the “sustainability” of the planet by leaving their automobiles at home and using public transit to circumnavigate the city. Next time your city councilor uses the magic word, remind them that in order to move forward with sustainability commuters need a system that is “functional”.

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