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Ready for Rail Terminology

Terminology for O-Train Confederation Line Communications

This document clarifies terminology used and referenced in relation to the O-Train Confederation Line. Terms are divided into the following categories:

  1. O-Train Confederation Line stations:
  2. O-Train Confederation Line cars
  3. O-Train Confederation Line system and operations
  4. O-Train Confederation Line connections

A. O-Train Confederation Line Stations

Station Areas and Customer Information


Concourses are open areas inside the stations that provide access to the station platforms. Station concourses are usually where the fare gates are located, and are usually located above the O-Train Confederation Line platforms. However, at a few stations, such as Bayview and Hurdman, concourse level is located below the train platform. Some stations have two concourses, located both above and below the train platform.


Each O-Train Confederation Line station will have two elevators at each platform.

Information phones

Outside and inside the fare gates at O-Train Confederation Line stations, there will be information phones that provide a direct connection to OC Transpo’s Customer Service Centre team during hours of operation.

Passenger information display

The O-Train Confederation Line stations will feature electronic passenger information displays that provide real-time information on when the next train will be departing from the station. The display screens will be located on each platform and will also provide information about any disruptions to the transit system. Bus platforms will also feature passenger information displays providing real-time information on bus departure times. Audio announcements in both French and English will accompany passenger information displays on platforms.


The platform is the area alongside the tracks where passengers board and disembark from the trains. Three of the O-Train Confederation Line stations have centre platform configurations, where customers travelling both eastbound and westbound will share the same platform. Nine of the stations have side platform configurations, with separate eastbound and westbound platforms for boarding. One station, Tunney’s Pasture, has a side platform configuration for east bound trains. At the centre of each platform, there is a physical barrier (inter-car barrier) that separates the space between the cars of a two-car train. This physical barrier provides a visual reminder to customers to exercise caution near the space between the two cars. When the train only has one car, it will stop in front of the barrier. Some stations will also have bus platforms, with shelters and bus stops where passengers make connections to and from buses.

Plaza (AKA plaza entrances)

Many O-Train Confederation Line stations have plazas immediately outside the entrance that feature bicycle parking, landscaping, and amenities such as benches.

Public art

Public art has been commissioned for all 13 stations of the O-Train Confederation Line.

Public washrooms

Public washrooms will be integrated into the fare-paid zones of four O-Train Confederation Line Stations: Tunney’s Pasture, Bayview, Hurdman, and Blair stations.

Retail space

Retail spaces have been included at four O-Train Confederation Line stations: Tunney’s Pasture, Rideau, Hurdman, and Blair. The use of these retail spaces will be influenced by the anticipated wants and needs of customers and will be determined through a request for proposal issued by the City of Ottawa.

Sheltered bicycle parking

All O-Train Confederation Line stations, with the exception of St-Laurent Station, which already has existing bicycle parking, will have new bicycle parking. Approximately 40 per cent of bike racks at stations with new bicycle parking are sheltered.

Stairway bicycle runnels

Each O-Train Confederation Line station will be equipped with stairway bicycle runnels, or tire ramps, which will allow cyclists to wheel their bikes up and down stairways.

System map

The System Map shows the full network of transit options in Ottawa, including all bus routes and the O-Train Confederation and Trillium Lines. System Maps will be posted at all O-Train Stations and major bus stations and select stops.

Wayfinding signage

Consistent wayfinding signage will be integrated throughout the OC Transpo, O-Train Confederation Line, and Trillium Line network to provide customers with clear communication and understanding of the system.

Fare control

Customer help point

Bilingual customer help points are integrated into ticket machines and allow customers to ask for help using the ticket machine. At the touch of a button, ticket machines will provide a direct audio-visual link with customer service representatives during hours of operation.


Customer can purchase DayPasses on buses and at ticket machines. Buses and ticket machines will issue paper DayPasses with barcodes that customers can scan at fare gates or use to board a bus.

Fare gates

Fare gates are physical barriers between fare-paid zones and public areas at the entrance to each station or platform. Standard and accessible fare gates will be located at all O-Train Confederation Line station entrances. To enter stations, customers will tap their Presto card, other smartcard or scan the barcode on their ticket.

Fare-paid zone

The fare-paid zone is the area within a station where all customers have paid a fare. Customers enter the fare-paid zone through the fare gate or when they disembark from a train or bus at a platform inside the station.

Machine-readable fares

The implementation of ticket machines and fare gates at stations on the O-Train Confederation Line requires that all passes, transfers, event tickets, and other fares be machine-readable, either as smartcards or by barcodes.

Monthly Passes

Customers can continue to purchase Monthly Passes by loading their Presto smartcard online, over the phone, at customer service centres, or at ticket machines.

Multi-Day Pass

To be introduced in 2018, the new Multi-Day Pass will be available for between 2 and up to 7 days. The pass will only be available for purchase at ticket machines at O-Train stations.


The O-Train Confederation Line will be utilizing the Presto smartcard system, which will allow a seamless transition between buses and rail.

Single ride fares

Customers can purchase single ride fares on buses and at ticket machines at O-Train stations. Both buses and ticket machines will issue paper tickets with barcodes that customers can scan at fare gates or use to board a bus.


Smartcards are a state-of-the-art electronic fare payment system. Smartcards are small pocket-sized cards that are embedded with a technology that store funds in a secure account, replacing the need for tickets, tokens, passes or cash.
*See Presto

Société de Transport de l’Outaouais (STO) Multi smartcard

The STO Multi smartcard is the smartcard for the Outaouais transit system. It will function in the same way as the Presto card on the O-Train Confederation Line. The integration of the STO Multi smartcard into the O-Train Confederation Line system will not change from the current integration on OC Transpo bus service.

Ticket Machines

Ticket Machines allow customers to purchase a ticket or other fare types to pay for their trip at O-Train Confederation Line stations. Ticket Machines are located at station entrances and will accept cash, credit and debit. Ticket machines will issue tickets and day passes with barcodes that can be scanned at fare gates and are accepted on buses. Customers will also be able to use the Ticket Machines to add a monthly pass or additional e-purse balance to their Presto smartcard. The Ticket Machines also include audio-visual Customer Help Points for customers who need assistance making their purchase or using the transit system.

Weekend Family Passes

Customers can purchase Family Passes on buses and at ticket machines that are valid for one day on the weekend. Each family member (up to 2 adults and 4 children) will be issued a paper ticket with a barcode, valid only for that day, that they can scan at fare gates or use to board a bus.

Safety and Security Features

Accessibility features

All stations along the O-Train Confederation Line will be fully accessible. Accessibility features built-in to every station include level entry and exit to and from trains onto the platform, tactile wayfinding tiles, platform edge indicator strips, audible and visual announcements, and more.

Closed Circuit Television System (CCTV)

CCTV (closed-circuit television) is a video camera system where cameras communicate with monitors and/or video recorders across private cables or communication networks. OC Transpo uses CCTV cameras to enhance the safety and security of its customers, employees, property and transit system as a whole, and to support daily operations. CCTV images are viewed and recorded for security and operational purposes, but will not be broadcast.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is an approach to planning and design of the built environment that deters criminal behaviour and enhances safety and security. This approach was used in the design of the O-Train Confederation Line stations. Examples of CPTED tactics include installing appropriate lighting and creating clear sightlines for natural surveillance.

Emergency phones

Emergency phones are located at each station entrance, along the platforms and in each elevator. In the event of an emergency, an individual can press the button and be connected directly with OC Transpo Transit Operations Control Centre (TOCC) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The emergency telephones can be used by anyone in need of help or who feels threatened. The emergency telephones are yellow.

Transecure Area

Each O-Train Confederation Line platform has a Transecure Area – a designated waiting area on the platform with closed circuit TV cameras, benches, enhanced lighting and emergency phones.

B. O-Train Confederation Line cars

Alstom Citadis Spirit

Alstom Citadis Spirit is the name of the light rail cars that will be operating on the O-Train Confederation Line.


The cab is the location at either end of a car where the operator is situated to control the train.

Co-operative Seating Area

Co-operative Seating Areas are designated and clearly-marked locations within each light rail train for people using mobility aids, bicycles, strollers or other large items.

Grab bars

The O-Train Confederation Line trains are equipped with yellow grab bars that passengers hold onto. The grab bars help passengers move around and stabilize themselves inside cars.

Next Station Announcement System (NSAS)

Passenger information displays in trains will provide customers with visual travel and advisory information, including next stop and final destination of the trip, as well as notifications about any disruptions to service. All messages will be displayed in both French and English.

Passenger emergency intercom

Within each light rail train is an emergency intercom system. The emergency intercoms are clearly marked and provide customers with the ability to communicate directly with the on-board operator in the event of an emergency. The intercoms are located on the wall behind each cab. There are a total of 6 intercoms on each car.

Public address systems

The public address system in trains provides customers with audible travel and advisory information, including announcements of stops and destinations, as well as notifications about any disruptions. All announcements will be made in both French and English.

Public Address and Passenger Information System (PAPIS)

The Public Address and Passenger Information System (PAPIS) integrates audio and visual functions to convey information to passengers. PAPIS includes the Next Station Announcement System (NSAS) and the Public Address System.
See Next Station Announcement System
See Public Address System


On weekdays, O-Train Confederation Line trains consist of two light rail cars (aka vehicles) coupled together operating as a unit. On weekends, O-Train Confederation Line trains consist of a single car. Each car is capable of carrying 300 passengers. Unlike the O-Train Trillium Line cars that are diesel-powered, the O-Train Confederation Line cars are electric and receive their power from an overhead catenary system (OCS).

C. O-Train Confederation Line system and operations

Belfast Yard (maintenance and storage facility)

O-Train Confederation Line trains and cars are built, tested, maintained and stored at the Belfast Yard on Belfast Road.

Bus rail replacement service

When the O-Train Confederation Line is not in service, bus rail replacement service will operate alongside the O-Train Confederation Line to provide replacement transit operation to customers.

O-Train Confederation Line Light Rail Transit (LRT)

The O-Train Confederation Line is a light rail transit (LRT) system operating in Ottawa between Blair Station in the east and Tunney’s Pasture Station in the west. Running east–west across the city and through the downtown core, the O-Train Confederation Line extends 12.5 kilometres, serving nine above-ground stations, four underground stations and a 2.5-kilometre tunnel through the downtown core. The O-Train Confederation Line is part of the O-Train network, along with the existing diesel-powered Trillium Line.

Electric Rail Operator (ERO)

The O-Train Confederation Line cars are operated by an OC Transpo employee that is situated in the cab of the car. The Electric Rail Operator is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of passengers and for car operations.


The guideway is the geographic area or footprint that contains the railway tracks and is enclosed by fences. Station platforms are not considered part of the guideway. The public is reminded that potential safety hazards exist along the alignment and that caution should be exercised at all time.


Like other modern metro and light-rail systems, the O-Train is a state-of-the-art train service operating in a dedicated rail corridor, connecting modern, conveniently-located stations. O-Train service is fast, frequent, reliable, and comfortable, with availability seven days a week. Two lines, Confederation Line and Trillium Line, make up the O-Train system.

O-Train Confederation Line overnight service and overnight shutdown

The O-Train Confederation Line service will shut down overnight to allow for system and car maintenance. The overnight shut down will occur:

  • Monday to Thursday night, 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. the next morning;
  • Friday night, 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning;
  • Saturday night, 2:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning;
  • Sunday night, 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Monday morning; and, During these times the train service will be replaced by select Rapid bus routes extended into downtown from the east, west and south parts of the city.

Overhead Catenary System (OCS)

The OCS is a system of overhead wires used to supply electricity to trains. The public is reminded that potential safety hazards exist along the alignment and the OCS, and that caution should be exercised at all time:

  • Never enter the railway corridor;
  • Never try to reach the wires or throw things at them;
  • Do not fly kites or any other airborne object near the corridor;
  • Stay clear of the corridor at all times to avoid the risk of electrocution; and
  • Stay away from the tracks at all times.


The pantograph is an apparatus mounted on the roof of the train to collect power through contact with the overhead catenary wire.

Peak service

Peak service refers to the time of day when transit service frequency is highest. Peak service corresponds with morning and afternoon ‘rush hour’ time periods when most commutes take place.

Pimisi station

The Algonquins of Ontario were provided the opportunity to name Pimisi Station, located at LeBreton Flats. Pimisi means “eel” in the language of the Algonquin people.

Public-Private Partnership (P3)

The O-Train Confederation Line is a public-private partnership (P3) with private contractor Rideau Transit Group responsible for designing, building, financing and maintaining the project. The City is compensating Rideau Transit Group for these services.

Railway ties

The O-Train Confederation Line tracks are supported by railway ties, which are rectangular cross braces that support the rails on a railway track. Railway ties are generally laid perpendicular to the rails. The railway ties transfer loads to the track ballast, or the sub-ground under the tracks. See track ballast.

Regenerative brakes

The O-Train Confederation Line cars are equipped with regenerative braking, which is an energy recovery mechanism that allows electric energy to be used by other cars along the line.

Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM)

Rideau Transit Maintenance is the private organization engaged by the City of Ottawa to be responsible for maintaining the O-Train Confederation Line including the tracks, stations and cars for a 30-year period.


The O-Train Confederation Line trains operate on a structure consisting of two parallel rails, fasteners, railway ties, and ballast, known as tracks. The tracks are not electrified. However, it is important to keep a safe distance from the tracks at all times.

Track ballast

The O-Train Confederation Line tracks are supported by track ballast, or a track bed upon which railway ties and rails are laid. The track ballast is used to bear the load from the railway ties and holds the track in place as trains move along the tracks.

Traction Power Sub-Station (TPSS)

The traction power sub-stations (TPSS) convert electricity from the Hydro Ottawa power sources to the levels needed by the trains. The structures are approximately four metres high by five metres wide by 15 metres long. There are eight traction power sub-stations distributed along the O-Train Confederation Line and two more at Belfast Yard. The public is reminded that potential safety hazards exist along the alignment and near TPSS, and that caution should be exercised at all time:

  • Never enter the railway corridor;
  • Never try to reach the wires or throw things at them;
  • Do not fly kites or any other airborne object near the corridor;
  • Stay clear of the corridor at all times to avoid the risk of electrocution; and
  • Stay away from the tracks at all times.

Trillium Line

The O-Train Trillium Line is an eight-kilometre rail service running from Greenboro Station in the south to Bayview Station just west of downtown Ottawa. The O-Train Trillium Line and O-Train Confederation Line will connect at Bayview Station.

O-Train Confederation Line connections

Integrated bus platform

At three O-Train Confederation Line stations (Tunney’s Pasture, Hurdman and Blair), integrated bus platforms enable buses to pull into the station area to pick up and drop off customers. Integrated Bus platforms are within the fare-paid zone and are designed to help customers easily connect between bus and train service. They feature numerous bus stops for passenger boarding and disembarking.

Major transfer stations

Some O-Train Confederation Line stations will serve as major transfer stations, with closely integrated bus and train operations to facilitate high volumes of connections between bus and train. These major transfer stations are Blair Station in the east, Tunney’s Pasture Station in the west, and St-Laurent and Hurdman stations in the central part of the transit system.

Multi-Use Pathway (MUP)

Many O-Train Confederation Line stations connect to one of Ottawa’s multiuse pathways. These multi-use pathways are used by people walking, cycling, skateboarding, or using other forms of active transportation. The multi-use pathways make it easier to walk and bike to O-Train Confederation Line stations.

OC Transpo 2018 Network: Rapid Routes

Rapid bus routes will provide high speed, station to station bus service. Rapid routes provide connections to the O-Train Confederation Line seven days a week via Transitway infrastructure and on-street bus-only lanes.

OC Transpo 2018 Network: Frequent Routes

The Frequent Route Network will provide reliable, high frequency bus service at least every 15 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on weekdays, and will operate at least every 30 minutes during all other times, seven days a week. Many existing bus routes inside the Greenbelt form the frequent route network, re-numbered according to a new geography and service type-based numbering system. The two O-Train lines and the Rapid routes also form part of the Frequent Route Network.

OC Transpo 2018 Network: Connexion Routes

Connexion routes connect residential neighbourhoods to the O-Train Confederation Line during weekday peak periods. These routes have replaced the former express routes, other direct-to-downtown routes, and some current feeder routes, operating on the same streets as today. Connexion routes do not require premium fare and are recognizable by new numbers in the 200-series.

Passenger Pick-Up & Drop Off Area

Three O-Train Confederation Line stations will have designated passenger pick-up and drop-off areas: Tunney’s Pasture, Lees and Hurdman stations. These areas allow personal vehicles to stop for short periods of time to pick up and drop off customers. No parking is allowed in these areas. At other stations, space for customer pick-up and drop-off will be accommodated on-street, adjacent to station entrances, or on adjacent properties.


Most transit users in Ottawa will need to transfer between buses and the O-Train Confederation Line as part of their daily commute. Transferring requires the change from one form of transit to another (for example: O-Train Trillium Line to O-Train Confederation Line or bus to O-Train). At major transfer stations, customers will transfer within fare-paid zones.
*See Fare-Paid Zone