The Canadian city of Ottawa has moved to commence construction of Stage 2 of the Confederation line before Stage 1 of the new light-rail metro has even been completed.
The CAN$2.1 billion east-west cross-city line was expected to open in November 2018. However, after a couple of delays, the opening is expected in the third quarter of 2019.
Phase 1 runs from Blair in the east to Tunney’s Pasture in the west. At Bayview, it connects with the existing Trillium line, which then runs south to Greenboro.
The Trillium line, which together with the Confederation line will form Ottawa’s O-Train system, is itself being extended south to Limebank, with a branch to the airport, in a contract let to SNC-Lavalin subsidiary TransitNEXT in March 2019.
Stage 2 of the Confederation line will be built by East-West Connectors, a joint venture between Peter Kiewit Sons and Vinci Group, supported by design services from WSP Canada and Hatch. The eastbound extension to Trim is planned to open in 2024, with the westbound extension to Moodie and Baseline following a year later.
Although it uses light-rail vehicles, the Confederation line is fully grade separated. The Alstom Citadis Spirit vehicles, which are primarily built at Alstom’s plant in Hornell, New York, with final assembly being carried out in Ottawa, run on 1,500V DC overhead lines and consist of four ‘modules’, giving them a length of 48.5 metres and a capacity of 300. 34 have been supplied for Stage 1, and a further 38, of which four will be built early to supplement the existing fleet, have been ordered for Stage 2.
Signalling and control, though, is Thales’ SelTrac™ Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) system, a situation confirmed by the June 2019 order from East-West Connectors for Stage 2. Because Thales is familiar with the O-Train system, its operation and technology, and, in particular, the light rail vehicles being used, Thales’s involvement in the Stage 2 Confederation line extension minimises integration risks and commissioning time.
Thales’s contract for Stage 2 includes integrating control units on board each train and the installation of guideway equipment, including zone controllers, as well as commissioning the system to be safely integrated within Stage 1 operations.
Dominique Gaiardo, vice president and managing director of Thales’s urban rail signalling business, said: “Continuing our work from Stage 1, our local, made-in-Ontario SelTrac CBTC technology is a key part of the O-Train system, bringing to life the next important phase of Ottawa’s long-term transit vision, providing passengers a faster, safer and greener way to commute.”