First Light Rail Vehicle hits the tracks in Waterloo

Photo by Luke Sarazin


On Nov. 7, the first on-track test of an ION light rail car was completed in Waterloo.

“This test is for wayside clearances, and platform clearances,” Tom Galloway, Regional Councillor for Waterloo, said. “So just to make sure that everything was constructed properly along the track.

“This really wasn’t to test the vehicle at all, this was to test the track system to make sure that everything had been constructed properly,” Galloway said.

Nonetheless, this represents the first on-track test of Grand River Transit’s new light rail system in the several years the project has been underway.

The construction on the rail system has been the responsibility of a company called GrandLinq, which won the bid for the project from the region back in 2014. The rail cars themselves are being constructed by Bombardier, a separate company based in Montreal.

According to Galloway, the Nov. 7 test went well.

“There were no clearance problems that they found along the wayside equipment or at the platforms, so that testing went fine. They just did the test track, which is from Erb and Caroline to Conestoga Mall,” Galloway said.

Galloway noted that the rest of the line would be tested for clearances at a future date, and that the next phase of testing will involve putting the rail cars under power.

“The next testing is more under power then, and they will take the vehicle under power and [start] detecting the vehicle with a series of tests,” Galloway said.

Galloway indicated that their anticipated time to completion for the project has not changed in light of the recent test.

“We’re still hoping for a spring 2018 start. That’s what we’re anticipating still.”

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