On Friday November 5th, members of the Transit Resource Associates, Inc, (TRA) presented a technical briefing on the status of the LRT’s Safe Return to Service Plan. TRA has been tasked with reviewing the August 8th and September 19th derailment incidents and has been conducting an independent review of both the derailments and validated safety plans since October 1st. The review involves multiple phases and includes monitoring of the Rideau Transit Group (RTG)’s work until the return to service is complete. City staff remain confident that a partial return to service will commence mid-November, though no firm dates have been set. City staff have also ensured that they will not accept a return to service until terms of due diligence have been satisfied. TRA has made it clear that a return to passenger service is contingent on safe and reliable completion of mock service testing, a final documentation review, and a demonstrated allocation of additional, qualified resources by RTG and its contractors. Moreover, TRA has been firm in their plan to oversee RTG’s commitments to long term solutions, which includes ongoing an increased monitoring by all parties involved in Line 1’s operations.
The TRA briefing also pronounced that the root causes of both the August 8th and September 19th derailment have been identified and corrective action has been taken to address the issues brought forward. These issues included a bearing failure as well as process and quality failures in maintenance. A reinspection of all critical connections (“from roof to wheels”) has been completed, reviewed, and audited. A revamped and revised quality assurance and quality control process for maintenance contractors has also been put in place. The TRA has observed testing and inspection of vehicles, tracks, switches, and signaling. They will continue to monitor maintenance and operations activities as required.
In part, this monitoring has been done through the mock service testing, which begun on November 4th and is currently ongoing. Issues with Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) have been identified throughout this process, but have not been explicitly described, aside from mention of non-specific vibration problems. All LRVs are currently under investigation for any individual and systemic issues. As per procedure, LRVs with identified issues have been immediately removed from service and will not re-enter service until those issues are resolved. Mock service will continue until safety and reliability can be assured. TRA will independently verify the successful completion of mock service prior to the resumption of any revenue or passenger service.