Ottawa light rail Concrete rubble on the tracks of

Ottawa light rail | Concrete rubble on the tracks of a train station tunnel

(Ottawa) The new year didn't bring a fresh start for Ottawa's ill-fated light rail system after concrete debris found on the tunnel tracks of a Hurontario Light Rail Transit (LRT) station forced a partial shutdown of the system.

Posted at 7:32 am.


Train service was suspended for more than six hours at four of 13 stations along the city's east-west main line while city infrastructure workers conducted a safety inspection in the Saint-Laurent station tunnel.

Renée Amilcar, general manager of Ottawa's transit agency, said in a memo to the mayor and city councilors at noon Tuesday that train service would not be operating during the inspection.

Replacement buses were put into operation to shuttle between the affected stations.

Shortly after 5 p.m., Ms. Amilcar reported that service had been restored across the system.

Carina Duclos, interim general manager of the city's water infrastructure and services department, said in a separate memo to the mayor and councilors on Tuesday that the inspection revealed delamination, where the paste layer separates from the surface and is unbound The main concrete slab is created.

She said the tunnel was built in the mid-1980s and it was not unusual to see such problems in an older structure.

The capital's LRT system, which includes existing infrastructure, is less than five years old and has been plagued by repeated problems and constant service interruptions.

Jammed doors, damaged wheels and icy weather that caused short circuits in electrical wiring repeatedly disrupted operations, and serious safety concerns related to train track construction led to a month-long shutdown last summer.

A public inquiry in 2022 uncovered myriad problems stemming from policy and business decisions aimed at getting the system up and running more quickly despite significant known problems in testing, particularly in Ottawa's wintry climate.

OC Transpo told users on social media Tuesday morning that the stations had been closed this time “out of an abundance of caution.”

No further details were provided about where the concrete debris came from or whether any serious problems were found.

Most of the major problems that have occurred on the LRT so far have involved the railway tracks and railcars.

But the tunnels and stations also had some problems, including a leak in sewer pipes early in the system that filled two downtown stations with an unpleasant odor.

And last spring, the tunnel beneath downtown was briefly closed to repair water seeping through the walls.