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Project Spotlight : First Train Travels On O-Train East Extension

Image - Project Spotlight : First Train Travels On O-Train East Extension

Caption : A test train enters the O-Train East extension for the first time on February 26, 2024

East end residents are one step closer to seeing trains traveling more often in their neighbourhood.

On February 25, a train left Blair Station heading east to Montréal Station for the very first time.

Didn’t get the chance to see it? It’s okay, most Ottawa residents weren’t awake either when it took place during the early hours of February 26.

The Next Stop Blog caught up with Rail Construction Program Director Michael Morgan to learn more about this exciting milestone and find out what you can expect next for train testing on the O-Train East Extension.

Preparing to launch the test train

The O-Train East Extension will extend OC Transpo’s rail network east from Blair Station to Trim Road. It will add 12.5 kilometres of rail and five new stations to the O-Train network at Montréal Road, Jeanne d'Arc Boulevard, Convent Glen, Place d’Orléans and Trim Road.

This extension will make use of the same electric powered Citadis Spirit trains that are in use on O-Train Line 1. With all trackwork in the east completed, crews have also completed installing the overhead wires that power trains almost to Jeanne d’Arc Station.

With the critical infrastructure in place, we were ready to power up the first section of overhead wires between Blair Station and Montréal Station.

How do you test the overhead wires? You run a train on the system to ensure the wires are correctly place and the system is working.

To prepare for this milestone, Michael said “the team did a bunch of testing. We had to test the track, Traction Power Sub-Stations, and the overhead wires. Running a test train was the final test to ensure all the systems were working together.”

On Sunday night after O-Train Line 1 service ended, the train was escorted by staff on foot at a walking speed out of Blair Station on its first voyage into the new east line.

As the train slowly left the station, staff carefully monitored the vehicle and the overhead wires with the train in motion Crews also performed visual inspections of the rails and ties.

Why is this important?

“This is huge milestone for the city. We’ve been working on the extension for five years and we’re super excited to run the test train as part of the first step to expanding rail service to the east,” said Michael.

This milestone is the culmination of years of work and the coordination of multiple systems. Not only was this the first train to travel on the O-Train East Extension, but it was the first time a Line 1 train travelled beyond the footprint of the first stage of Ottawa’s light rail transit system.

What’s next for O-Train East Extension Train Testing

“You’re going to start seeing test trains out on the guideway more and more often,” said Michael.

“Keep your eyes on the overhead wire installation progress as we work further east,” said Michael. He continued, “you’ll be seeing a train travel out to Trim Station by the end of this year.”

To stay up to date on O-Train East Extension progress, sign up for the project newsletter, follow OC Transpo on Instagram, or visit the project website.