On June 21, 2019, the long-awaited ION LRT will formally enter revenue service for Ontario, Canada’s Waterloo Region. Leading up to the start of service, Bombardier Flexity LRVs will be operating in daytime service mode, with trains every 10 or so minutes.
Work on Toronto’s 12-mile (19-kilometer) Eglinton Crosstown LRT project, the city’s largest, is heading toward the last lap. The line is scheduled to open in September 2021.
Design and planning work continues on Hamilton’s 10-mile (14-kilometer) LRT line, despite ongoing political uncertainty over the project’s future. Meanwhile, the planned and approved expansion of GO Train service to Grimsby, St. Catherines and Niagara Falls has experienced a recent potential setback. And on Oct. 30, the author, representing Railway Age, visited the Bombardier Transportation rail division plant at Millhaven, Ontario, located a short distance west of Kingston.
The Kitchener-Waterloo ION light rail system in western Ontario Province, Canada, will miss its most recent revenue service startup date in December. The opening, which was originally scheduled for December 2017 and then postponed until April 2018, has once again been pushed back until at least spring 2019, due to LRV-related delays. No specific date has been scheduled.
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) recently suffered another setback in the delivery of its much-delayed 204-unit Flexity Outlook LRV order. Carbuilder Bombardier Transportation has advised the TTC that 67 of the LRVs have frames that were improperly welded at the company’s Sahagun, Mexico plant. A Bombardier spokesperson stressed that the welding deficiencies do not represent a safety issue (most of the cars involved are presently in service), but could become issues later in the cars’ expected 30-year life spans.
Construction of Edmonton, Alberta’s eight-mile Valley Line LRT, begun in April 2016, is nearing the half-way point. The project involves two significant firsts for the city that is the province’s capital: It will be Edmonton’s first low-floor LRT line; and the first built under the P3 (public-private partnership) method.
Two light rail new-starts in Canada’s Ontario province appear to be on diverging paths. Hamilton’s is at the RFP stage, while Kitchener-Waterloo’s opening has been delayed, again.
LRV testing on the new Kitchener-Waterloo (Ontario) LRT line has been ongoing since late 2017.
The long-standing dispute involving Ontario, Canada transit agency Metrolinx railcar supplier Bombardier over delivery of 182 light rail vehicles has been resolved, after six months of negotiations.
Two of Ontario, Canada’s numerous light rail transit projects—the Kitchener-Waterloo ION and Hamilton Street Railway B Line—have been facing difficulties, albeit of a different nature. The former is still without functional LRVs; the latter is looking at potentially conflicting operating proposals.