Otis Gives Canadian LRT a Lift

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Artist rendering, Toronto Finch West underground concourse with Otis escalators.

One of the oldest names in “people movers” has landed major contracts at three Canadian transit agencies.

Otis, which describes itself as “the world’s leading company for elevator and escalator manufacturing, installation and service,” will supply hundreds of elevators and escalators for six light rail projects in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. Among them are nearly 100 units  for all three of Ottawa’s Stage 2 LRT extensions.

In Toronto, Otis is providing 111 of its heavy-duty, commercial-grade NPE™ escalators for the Eglinton Crosstown Line, part of the largest transit expansion in the city’s history. Eglinton Crosstown, with 25 stations, and connections with multiple TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) subway and bus subway lines, is expected to be complete in December 2022.

Otis is also providing five Gen2® elevators and four NPE escalators to Toronto’s Line 6 Finch West Light Rail Transit, an 11-kilometer, 18-station line with 16 surface stops, one below-grade stop, and an underground interchange station at the Finch West LRT station. Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario awarded the contract to Mosaic Transit Group in May 2018. Construction has been under way since 2019, with elevator and escalator installation expected to begin in the second quarter of 2021. 

In Montreal, Otis is installing 79 elevator and escalator units on 26 stations for the REM (Réseau express métropolitain) automated light rail network. The project includes 45 Gen2 elevators, 22 NPE escalators and 12 additional elevators. Construction is expected to be complete in 2023. 

OC Transpo Confederation Line Dominion Station.

In Ottawa, Otis recently completed work on Stage 1 of the OC Transpo Confederation Line (O-Train Line 1), providing 58 elevators, including 46 Gen2 units and 10 hydraulic and gearless elevators, and modernizing two existing units. Otis was also awarded Stage 2 of the project, with an additional 69 units–59 Gen2 elevators and 10 NPE escalators–at 15 stations, both east and west. Elevator and escalator construction on Stage 2 is expected to be complete in July 2023. Otis will also provide an additional 28 Gen2 elevator units for OC Transpo’s Trillium Line (Line 2) South extension. The contract was awarded in Q4 2020. Construction is under way.

Otis describes the NPE as its “heavy-duty escalator line, designed for the demands of public spaces such as airports, metros and other busy transport hubs. Otis escalators use rectangular steel trusses to increase their strength, and seal welds protect them against internal corrosion. Escalator steps are subjected to dynamic load testing and step breakage tests, ensuring quality and durability.”

The Otis Gen2 elevator “redefined the industry with its unique, patented flat-belt drive technology that replaces conventional ropes and significantly reduces vibration, providing passengers and tenants a remarkably smooth, quiet ride and improved overall comfort compared to conventional systems.”

“As Canada’s cities continue to grow, city planners and residents are turning to rail to provide critical urban mobility solutions while reducing congestion and emissions,” said Patrick Yeung, Otis Managing Director for Canada. “We’re proud of our work across Canada to make these daily journeys possible for the millions of Canadians living in or near these cities. These projects underscore our commitment to supporting rail and other transportation infrastructure projects in Canada and around the world.” 

Otis was founded in 1853 after Elisha Otis invented the elevator safety brake, “giving rise to the modern city, transforming how people live and work, and revolutionizing architecture,” the company notes on its website. “His invention would give rise to the modern city and forever change how we live.”

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