Stage 2 O-Train Extension Project Year in Review
What a difference a year makes. 2023 marked another successful year for the Stage 2 O-Train Extension Project with significant progress across our city on Ottawa’s three O-Train extensions. Whether it is train testing in the south, track installation finishing in the east, or tunnel construction advancing in the west, our future O-Train network continues to move closer to completion. Let’s look back at some of the highlights and major milestones from the past year of Ottawa’s largest ever project.
O-Train Lines 2 & 4, South Extension
Corso Italia Station.
2023 began with a major milestone in January with installation of a wildlife corridor bridge over High Road. This was significant as it was the final structure of the O-Train South extension. It joined a list of 14 structures, 12 of which are new builds and two of whichare rehabilitations of existing structures. The eleven rail bridges and elevated approaches are complete and have been supporting the track infrastructure and trains.
Testing and Commissioning
A major highlight of last year was completing the installation of track which allows us to begin testing nine trains along the entire guideway. This significant milestone marked a major step forward in the testing and commissioning program. Since then, the O-Train South project teams have kicked it into high gear, training our future diesel rail operators, diesel rail operator instructors, and diesel rail controllers. This involved the operation of seven Stadler FLIRT trains and two Alstom LINT trains along the length of the track, simulating our future service on Line 2 and Line 4. This has allowed for engineers and technicians to assess the performance of the track, train, and systems, identify any potential issues, and make necessary adjustments to ensure smooth and safe operations in the future.
Train testing at Carleton Station.
On October 31, an exercise was held to simulate an emergency scenario at Airport Station. Emergency responders from the City and the Ottawa International Airport were on hand to practice passenger evacuation, first aid, and other security drills. This successful event demonstrated the security of our system’s design as emergency scenarios were conducted on areas not normally reserved for passengers.
Emergency exercise at Airport Station.
Park & Ride lots
Work has also advanced at Park & Rides and bus transfers in the southernmost section of the extension. Bus loop paving at Limebank, Bowesville, and Leitrim stations has set the stage for operational testing which begins this year. Other critical steps include the paving of parking lots, installation of lights and emergency telephones, line painting, roadwork, and signage installation.
Limebank Station and Bus Loop
All of the milestones met in 2023 have pushed Lines 2 and 4 closer to completion. Once launched, the O-Train South Line extension will provide rail service to some of Ottawa’s top amenities and revolutionize transportation for Ottawa’s southern communities.
Dow’s Lake Station.
O-Train Line 1, East Extension
In the east, the future track, overhead catenary system (OCS), and stations are taking shape with many milestones achieved this past year. Let’s look back on the O-Train East Extension’s progress and what it means for 2024.
2023 saw the completion of rail installation in the east. The first tracks were installed in December 2021, and at the end of 2023, track installation was completed from Blair Station to Trim Station. All necessary construction work for the east extension guideway is complete.
Site of the final section of rail connecting O-Train Line 1 to Stage 2 LRT extensions, west of Place d’Orléans Station.
The overhead catenary system (OCS) has been connected to the existing O-Train network at Blair Station. The OCS includes the poles and overhead cables that will provide power to the trains. Once OCS installation is complete, testing of trains is expected to begin in the winter of 2024.
Finishing work continued on the pedestrian bridges at Green’s Creek, Place d’Orléans Station and Trim Station. Green’s Creek pedestrian bridge is expected to be opened to the public by the end of 2024. The Trim and Place d’Orléans pedestrian bridges will be opened when train service begins.
The pedestrian bridge at Trim Station.
Progress continued on the five east extension stations in 2023. Jeanne d’Arc Station is close to completion. This will be the first Stage 2 LRT station to be complete on the O-Train East and West extensions. Station platforms are now finished at Montréal Station, Jeanne d’Arc Station and Place d’Orléans Station and two of the five stations now have power. Watermain installation is also complete at all five east stations.
Jeanne d’Arc Station, November 2023.
Place d’Orléans Station, November 2023.
O-Train Lines 1 & 3, West Extension
In 2023, major advances were made on the west extension that included the guideway, tunnel segments, pedestrian bridges, and station construction.
After dedicated bus detours along Woodroffe Avenue and Scott Street were put in place in 2022, crews have made progress on building the guideway between Iris Station and Algonquin Station, as well as between Tunney’s Pasture and Kichi Zìbì Stations.
In 2023, the Highway 417 westbound off-ramp to Pinecrest Road reopened along with the Iris Street bridge over the new guideway. Work was completed on the multi-use pathway located on the east side of the Iris Street bridge allowing for the return of full use for pedestrians and cyclists, providing enhanced connectivity.
Iris Station and the newly opened Iris Street bridge over the guideway.
Traffic was restored to eastbound Richmond Road between McEwen Avenue and New Orchard Avenue in the fall of 2023 after being closed from June to November to accommodate Cut and Cover Tunnel construction.
Richmond Road at New Orchard Avenue looking east.
Major progress was made on the west segment guideway in 2023, and approximately 75 per cent of the guideway is now available for rail construction which will continue in 2024. All traction power substation (TPSS) buildings for the west extension were installed, with the final TPSS building at Kichi Zìbì Station arriving on site in November.
Guideway construction between Iris Station and Algonquin Station.
Station construction steadily progressed across the west extension. Finishing work brought Lincoln Fields Station and Moodie Station closer to completion. This year also marked the start of construction on Westboro Station, Kichi Zìbì Station, Sherbourne Station, and New Orchard Station.
Lincoln Fields Station, November 2023.
Moodie Station, November 2023.
Three new pedestrian bridges were added in 2023 to help connect communities. The Woodroffe Pedestrian Bridge, south of Lincoln Fields Station, opened to the public at the end of the summer, and the pedestrian bridge connecting Algonquin Station with Algonquin College was completed.
The newly opened Woodroffe Pedestrian Bridge.
The Queensview Pedestrian Bridge was also installed across Highway 417 as part of construction for the new Queensview Station. This major operation, requiring a full closure of a segment of the multi-lane highway, was successfully completed over a weekend in July. The bridge is expected to open to the public once the west extension opens.
Queensview Pedestrian Bridge over Highway 417.
Cut and Cover Tunnels
Tunnel excavation is now complete for the entire west segment of the project. This major milestone involved the excavation of more than 4.5 kilometers of trench for the new tunnel segments. Crews are now focused on building the tunnel walls and roof, and to date have poured more than 100,000 cubic meters of concrete in support of this construction.
Tunnel construction along the Kichi Zìbì Mìkan.
Tunneling activities began in September 2020 and the first section of tunnel roof was poured in June 2022. Tunnel construction is progressing across the segment:
- Kichi Zìbì Mìkan/Byron tunnel works are 85 per cent complete.
- Connaught tunnel works are over 80 per cent complete.
- Pinecrest trench works are over 90 per cent complete.
Once concrete work is complete in 2024, crews will focus on installing rail and the OCS.
Tunnel construction along Richmond Road, November 2023.
Pinecrest Stormwater Management Pond
After a busy construction season, the Pinecrest Stormwater Management Pond near Woodroffe Avenue and Baseline Road is nearing completion. Crews are currently completing landscaping at the pond, and it is expected to be operational in 2024.
The Pinecrest Stormwater Management Pond nearing completion.
The project team thanks you for your patience during construction and looks forward to meeting more milestones in 2024.
Stay up to date on the O-Train Extension project by signing up for the Stage 2 newsletters and following us on Instagram @OC_Transpo. You can also visit the O-Train Extension website for the latest updates.