Will We Need To Replace Ottawa’s LRT? (2)


A full report, LRT Disruption – Root Cause Review to be presented to city transit commission Thursday, is below. Interestingly, the title of the report is misleading. It infers that the report contains the root cause.

It does not.

However it shows there are a number of factors that are creating the safety and reliability problems with Ottawa’s LRT. In other words, OC Transpo does not know what one root cause is. So it doesn’t have the root cause. But the title of the report says it does. Instead, Transpo has a number of factors that are resulting in too much stress on the bearings. That said, the bearings might not be the problem, in fact are most likely not the problem, because they are at industry standards.

The question is … could OC Transpo be taking as long as four years to fix bearings that aren’t broken? That the problem or problems are elsewhere but the result is that good industry-standard bearings are being broken. If that’s the case, OC Transpo is fixing something that is not broken. Now perhaps by strengthening the bearings and related parts, that could solve the reliability problem.

Or not.

What we do know is, as the Transportation Safety Board reported on the train, the one or more factors are putting unusual strains on those industry-standard bearings.

Lansdowne 2.0 Is Big Money For More Failure

If a number of factors, some of which are basic to the safe and reliable functioning of the train, are causing the bearing breaks, will we reach a point where we can say the train is fatally flawed … that it can’t be fixed? Or as former mayor and Ontario cabinet minister Bob Chiarelli put it here in The Bulldog, we’ve got a lemon.

So the city could face a situation where new trains might have to be purchased because the current ones don’t work. Or must we adjust or buy new tracks. Those are a huge costs.

And as well, given that we will be facing more ice storms here in Ottawa with climate change, will the wires and supports that hold the wires be able to stand those storms. In 1998, massive hydro poles and tough wires were destroyed by up to seven inches of accumulated ice. Can the current electric system stand that or a much smaller storm? From appearances, the answer is no.

Bring Back The Old Lansdowne Parking Lot: WHOPPER WATCH

So OC Transpo could, and I emphasize could, need to replace the electrical system, the rail cars and the tracks. Fiscally that’s a frightening thought.

It’s one more reason to not go forward with the two-thirds-of-a-billion-dollar Lansdowne project. Ottawa doesn’t have the kind of money to add on to Lansdowne and fix light rail.

It doesn’t. Period.

Ken Gray

Report – LRT Root Cause Review




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