Ottawa-Carleton Regional Transit Commission O-Train 'Trillium Line'
The O-Train Trillium Line is a light-rail service in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and is part of the O-Train system. It consists of one 8km, north-south line running on a former Canadian Pacific railway line. The line is completely separated grade separated, and during operating hours is not shared with other trains. The line has connections with the Transitway, the Confederation Line, and also serves Carleton University.
In August 1998, the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton began a year-long study to assess the feasibility of implementing a light rail rapid transit project. What would become known as the O-Train pilot project was approved in September 1999 and was launched on October 15, 2001 as a compliment to the Transitway. It was built at a cost of $21 million.
Initial extension and electrification plan
On July 12, 2006, Council voted in favour of awarding a North-South expansion to Siemens/PCL/Dufferin. The proposed extension would have had the line extended east from Bayview through downtown to the University of Ottawa, and south-west from Greenboro through the Riverside South community and in to Barrhaven. Construction of the extension would have started in fall 2006, and would been completed in 2009. The line would have been rebuilt with double tracks and used electric light rail vehicles. The total cost of the project was estimated to be $744.2 million and would have had $400 million of the funding coming from the federal and provincial governments. The City of Ottawa would have funded its portion through development charges and gas tax supported debt.
New Council took office on December 1, 2006 and began debating the future plans. New mayor Larry O'Brien chose to keep the extension to Barrhaven and cut the north-east extension. The Ontario government was able to commit their $200 million in funding for the original plan, but thought a revision in the plan would warrant further review. Both the federal and provincial funding was not secured before the contract deadline of December 15. On December 14, council voted 13-11 to cancel the project.
In 2007, Siemens wrote a letter to the City of Ottawa and gave them two options: pay $175 million in compensation to Siemens in order to cancel the contract or re-establish the project with an additional cost of $70 million. Councillor Diane Deans had tabled a motion for a debate on February 23, 2007 but it was later cancelled.
The O-Train was shut down in April 2013 to undergo upgrades that would allow for more frequent service. Two new passing tracks were added at Brookfield and Gladstone to allow twice as many trains to operate in the hopes of increasing the frequency of trains from every 15 minutes to every 8 minutes. 6 new Alstom LINT trains were purchased to provide the increased service. In addition, the signalling system was upgraded. The line reopened in September however without the increased service and new trains. The new service launched on March 2, 2015 and encountered many issues during its first weeks. Due to the passing tracks being too short combined with signalling issues, the 8-minute frequency target was never met which resulted in the line's current 12-minute frequency of service.
As part of the City's Stage 2 LRT plans, the Trillium Line will receive a $667 million capacity upgrade and extension to both Riverside South and the Macdonald-Cartier International Airport. All platforms at existing stations will be rebuilt and doubled in length to allow for longer trains to be used on the line. Walkley and Gladstone stations, which were originally considered for the initial pilot project, will be added to the existing portion of the line. South of Greenboro, the line will be extended along the existing rail corridor with new stations at South Keys, Leitrim, and Bowesville (a new Park and Ride lot). An additional $80 million extension was approved to extend the line even further from Bowesville into Riverside South with a station located at Limebank with funding for the addition being provided by the Provincial Government and the private sector through development charges. A spur line starting at South Keys will run south-west to the Airport with stations at Uplands next to the EY Centre and on the departures level of the Airport.
On February 22, 2019 it was announced that TransitNEXT, a subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin was selected as the preferred proponent to build the extension. The selection was controversial due to an ongoing corruption scandal involving SNC-Lavalin as well as the short 12-day timeframe City Councillors were given to review the submitted plans before needing to vote on approval of the contract. Ultimately, the contract was approved in a 19–3 vote on March 6, 2019.
Construction of the extension is expected to begin in late 2019 with upgrades along the existing portion of the line to begin in May 2020 with a 27-month closure of the line to perform the required work. The line, along with all upgrades and the extension is expected to reopen in Q3 of 2022. The closure is required to allow for work to be done to rehabilitate the Dow's Lake tunnel, the Rideau River bridge, as well as to grade separate the Ellwood Diamond, extend passing tracks, and perform other upgrade works.
7 new 80m long diesel-electric Stadler FLIRT vehicles will be purchased as part of the upgrades to provide additional service. The existing LINT vehicles will be overhauled during the closure of the line and will continue to be used in coupled pairs, and on the Airport spur where stations will only be able to handle 40m long trains.
The 8km line currently has five stations. The Trillium Line formerly used a proof-of-payment system, however as of November 2017 fare gates were put into use at all stations.  Tickets can be purchased from a vending machines located just outside of the stations. The stations have sheltered waiting areas for passengers, and an elevator is located at Carling where the tracks are below street level. At Bayview a new platform was integrated into the new Confederation Line station to allow passengers to easily transfer between the two lines.
Because the European LINT trains cars are narrower than the North American standard, retractable extenders are mounted at the platform so that regular freight trains can run off-hours. Bayview is the only station without this feature because it is constructed on its own private rail spur.
As part of the city's Stage 2 LRT plans 8 new stations will be added to the Trillium Line.
Two of these stations will be infill stations located along the existing line. These stations were planned for the original pilot project but were cut due to budget constraints.
The plan also includes an extension of the line southwards along the existing track and then towards Riverside South with a separate branch towards the Airport starting just south of South Keys.
The train sets are stored and maintained in Walkley Yard which is located northeast of Greenboro station. The maintenance facilities are leased from CP who used to occupy the northern portion of the yard, and maintenance is provided by Bombardier. These facilities are occasionally opened to the public during Doors Open.
As part of the Stage 2 upgrade works, a new maintenance and storage facility will be constructed on city-owned land to the immediate west of the current facilities. The decision to replace the existing yard was made to give proponents more flexibility in their design submissions. The existing lease with CP will be terminated as a result.
|C4-C9||2013||Alstom||Coradia LINT 41||2x MTU Series 1800
|7 trains X 4 cars||2021||Stadler Rail||FLIRT||Yes||
|C1-C3||1999||Bombardier||Talent BR643 DMU||MTU 6R 183 TD13H||ZF 5HP600R||Yes||All three units sold for C$25,200 on December 14, 2018|
- O-Train Light Rail Project, tc.gc.ca, retrieved on 2011-07-15
- June 14, 2006 City Council Meeting Highlights, ottawa.ca, retrieved on 2011-07-15
- Ottawa council kills light rail project, cbc.ca, retrieved on 2011-07-15
- Ottawa's light rail gets another chance, cbc.ca, retrieved on 2011-07-15
- Ottawa's light rail deal dead for good, cbc.ca, retrieved on 2011-07-15
- O-Train shut down day after launch of expanded line, ottawacitizen.com, retrieved on 2019-03-09
- Stage 2 Ottawa, retrieved on 2019-03-09
- Council OKs $4.6B Stage 2 transit contracts, the largest infrastructure approval in Ottawa's history, Ottawa Citizen, retrieved on 2019-03-09
- , ottawa.ca, retrieved on 2019-01-25
- Light Rail Pilot Project: Recommended Service Concept and Cost Analysis, 18 August 1998, retrieved on 2019-01-25
- Lot of Three (3) 1999 Bombardier Talent Trainsets and Parts Retrieved 02-17-2019