Radio problems shut down Confederation Line on Wednesday, City of Ottawa confirms

A large stretch of the Confederation Line went dark for more than nine hours on Wednesday because of a “radio shutdown” – a week and a half before the long-delayed light-rail system is scheduled to open to riders.

The City of Ottawa confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that “three radio units that are part of the control system needed to be reset,” and this brought the LRT trains to a stop across nine of the line’s 13 stations until 2 p.m.

OC Transpo says it’s not yet sure what caused the radio problems and is investigating.

WATCH (Aug. 23, 2019): Politicians, media ride LRT trains ahead of Confederation Line’s handover to city

The issues were identified at around 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, according to a follow-up statement from the city’s director of transit operations, Troy Charter.

The three radio units in question “communicate the location of trains in the western alignment to the Transit Operations Control Centre,” the director said. For some reason, they “had tripped to the off position.”

This affected service between Tunney’s Pasture and Hurdman Station, Charter confirmed.

“Trains in this area were stopped as per safety protocols, but service continued in the eastern portion of the alignment,” he wrote.


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Three trains came to a halt in the underground tunnel, according to the city.

“Two of them were taken to Tunney’s Pasture and one returned to operations in the east end until radios were reset,” Charter said.

Overnight thunderstorm ‘a possible cause’, city says

Charter said OC Transpo is still trying to figure out what happened.

“The cause of the radio shutdown is under investigation with one possible cause being last night’s thunderstorm,” he wrote.

The $2.1-billion Confederation Line is scheduled to open to riders on Sept. 14. Charter said OC Transpo “continues to work towards” that launch date.

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The city announced Tuesday that it had officially taken over the Confederation Line from the Rideau Transit Group, the consortium who built the east-west LRT system.

Once open, the 12.5-kilometre Confederation Line will transport riders from Blair Station in the east end to Tunney’s Pasture west of the downtown core. The trains will run underground in the downtown area for two-and-half kilometres.

The handover of the Confederation Line occurred more than 15 months after the original due date in spring 2018.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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