Eye on ION LRV testing

Written by John Thompson, Canadian Contributing Editor
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A Waterloo Region Flexity Freedom LRV, one of 14 ordered from Bombardier, is pictured during a powered test run early in 2018. Photo courtesy Waterloo Region

LRV testing on the new Kitchener-Waterloo (Ontario) LRT line has been ongoing since late 2017.

There are three of the Bombardier Transportation-built Flexity Freedom cars on the property, out of a total order for 14 units. Delivery is many months behind schedule; basic construction of the line was finished last summer.

Contractor GrandLinq is conducting tests. Some of them have been “one off” in nature, involving clearances, track curvature and switches, etc. The tests revealed the need to modify the track structure in some locations.

The primary test vehicle has been car 504. The work initially involved pushing the car over short distances with a hi-rail truck. The testing was carried out primarily on the two-mile off-street private right-of-way section between Northfield Drive and Waterloo Square.

Powered testing, at low speeds, followed, ultimately covering the entire line in both directions. Car speed is gradually being increased, to better measure traction power consumption, braking functioning, activation of grade crossing protection and transit priority traffic signals, etc.

An ION spokesman told Railway Age that it is not the intention to set up one LRV as a “template car” as the TTC did with its Flexity streetcar order. This would involve making all of the required modifications on no. 504, then having Bombardier duplicate them at its Kingston (Ontario) plant on the rest of the order.

Several more ION LRVs are in completed state at the Kingston plant. They are currently being inspected, prior to shipment to Waterloo by railroad flatcar.

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