On May 4th, the final piece of LRT “track” was laid near the UOttawa station. In reality, the final piece of track was a strong clip that holds the rail to the concrete. I was lucky enough to be able to take a test ride on the LRT after witnessing the completion of the track. After several years of construction impacts, it’s wonderful to have the end of construction in sight, and to see the trains in action.
Our LRT trains are very similar to the Canada Line in Vancouver. They are open concept with seats facing each direction. It feels a lot more spacious than the bus and it travels very smoothly. Typical speeds will be around 60 km; however, the trains have been tested to go over 80 km/ hour. Overall, my ride was an exhilarating experience. During the test run it was thrilling to see how fast the train was going; we were easily surpassing the speed of vehicles along the Nicholas off ramp. One of the most interesting features of converting our Bus Rapid Transit areas to rail is that there are no cross streets – this ensures the travel timing. The structures at the platforms are generally all built, and the construction team is moving towards the final look and feel.
Fun fact: if you use a major service provider, you will be able to use your cell phone while in the LRT tunnels. The advance stages of construction work continue with elevators and escalators, PA speakers, passenger signage, ticket machines and security cameras all being installed.
We are anticipating some exciting infrastructure opportunities stemming from LRT investments. For instance, we will be connecting Laurier Ave East and Hurdman Station via a multi-use pathway for pedestrians and cyclists. See you on the rails!