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Making a 107-year-old dream come true

Image - Making a 107-year-old dream come true

Caption: Juanita operates the Stadler FLIRT simulator (City of Ottawa)

In late May, OC Transpo had the privilege of hosting a very special guest at our O-Train simulator.

As a child, Juanita Snelgrove grew up next to train tracks. After seeing trains pass by her home every day, she always dreamt of driving one.

She never gave up on that dream and at the age of 107, it finally came true.

Juanita’s day on the O-Train Simulator

On May 23, Juanita and her three daughters made the trip from Kanata to OC Transpo’s O-Train simulator on Belfast Road.

OC Transpo’s simulator is where our future train operators undergo training before they get in the driver seat of one of our trains. The simulator provides a virtual training environment that resembles our existing and future O-Train Lines. It plays a key role in helping operators complete training courses, practice operations, and perform safety drills.

Electric Rail Operators (EROs) can familiarize themselves with the Alstom Citadis Spirit which travels on O-Train Line 1. Diesel Rail Operators (DROs) can also get firsthand experience operating our newest train, the Stadler FLIRT, and the Alstom Lint which will both operate on the future O-Train Line 2.

When Juanita entered our simulator facility, she got straight down to business. OC Transpo’s Training and Development team asked her, “Would you like to drive an electric or diesel train?”

“I want the diesel train,” said Juanita.

The Training team escorted Juanita to the cab of our Stadler FLIRT simulator where she began her journey from Bayview Station to Limebank Station in Riverside South.

Caption: Juanita makes her way south on the Stadler FLIRT simulator (City of Ottawa)

After a quick check to ensure all passengers were on board, Juanita closed the doors and slowly moved the throttle forward to leave Bayview Station.

As she made her trip south, the Training team pointed out all the new features of the expanded Stage 2 O-Train South Extension.

She made her first stop at Corso Italia Station, one of eight new O-Train stations being added to the O-Train network.

Her next stop was Dow’s Lake Station where she arrived to see longer platforms. Extended platforms is an upgrade that has been made to all former Line 2 stations.

Celebrating a successful trip

After successfully completing her journey to Limebank Station, Juanita was congratulated by some special guests.

Mayor Sutcliffe, Councillor Curry, and General Manager of Transit Services, Renée Amilcar, presented Juanita with an honorary Diesel Rail Operator badge.

Juanita is one of the first residents of Ottawa to drive the Stadler FLIRT simulator from Bayview to Limebank Station.

Caption: After arriving at Limebank Station, Mayor Sutcliffe, Councillor Curry, and General Manager of Transit Services, Renée Amilcar, presented Juanita with an honorary Diesel Rail Operator badge (City of Ottawa)

Caption: General Manager of Transit Services, Renée Amilcar, asks Juanita “how soon can you start work?” (City of Ottawa)

Caption: Mayor Sutcliffe, Juanita, and Councillor Curry in the Stadler FLIRT simulator. (City of Ottawa)

On behalf of OC Transpo, thank you Juanita for joining us for a very special day on our O-Train simulator and for reminding us to never give up on our dreams.

Caption: Juanita Snelgrove, honorary Diesel Rail Operator #107 (City of Ottawa)

Do you want to visit our simulator or see a Stadler FLIRT?

The 2023 Doors Open Weekend is just around the corner! OC Transpo is excited to provide residents with two unique experiences to learn more about our simulator and the O-Train South Extension.

Join us on Saturday June 3 from 10 am to 4 pm at Belfast Road to see our simulator facility.

Be one of the first to hop on a Stadler FLIRT vehicle on June 3 between 12 pm and 3 pm at Greenboro Station.

For more information, visit