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Snow storm offers opportunity for LRT testing in harsh conditions

The city doesn't want to have to call any "snow days" for light rail transit after it opens.
An O-Train emerges from the downtown LRT tunnel during testing in April, 2018. (Courtesy: City of Ottawa)

Although many at the City of Ottawa wish its new rail line had opened to the public long ago, the delays are allowing for extensive testing in a variety of weather conditions.

Heavy snow started to fall on Ottawa, Tuesday, with more than 30 cm accumulating by Wednesday afternoon.

"We had a very big meeting throughout the weekend and [Monday] with [the Rideau Transit Group] to say, 'Okay, let's see where things work well and where they don't work well,'" said Transportation Services John Manconi. "They're going to push their equipment through and test it."

Manconi doesn't expect the Confederation Line to ever have to be shut down during snow storms.

He said the city is looking to see how other big cities with snow events, such as Boston, handle running their light rail lines. 

"The one thing that you do with big snow days is you keep your trains running so that your track stays clear and you progressively attack it with plowing operations and so forth, which they have all that equipment for," he explained on 1310 NEWS' The Rick Gibbons Show.'

The city may get longer than it recently thought to test the trains. The Rideau Transit Group (builder of Ottawa's the LRT) insisted it will make its march 31st deadline to hand the keys to the city, but Manconi said there is "no possibility" that RTG will complete the system on time.


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