Light Rail Transit vehicles will be arriving this week for testing

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Photo by Luke Sarazin

 

The first stage of testing Waterloo’s new ION Light Rail Transit system is expected to begin in the next week, being completed by GrandLinq and Bombardier.   

The second ION train has arrived in Waterloo and testing of the track is expected to commence, though there are ongoing repairs and modifications being made on both trains. 

For the initial tests, the trains will not be running on their own. The trains will be pulled by an additional vehicle in order to ensure the infrastructure of the track is ready before testing the trains with power. The first stage of testing will include the signals, gates, bells, lights etc. to ensure the Waterloo track is properly constructed. 

Testing of powered trains has been conducted at the Bombardier test track in Kingston prior to sending the units to Waterloo, there the second train was running although it still requires modifications. 

“It was running on the test track in Kingston before it was sent to us, but we would rather the units stay in Kingston to become more or less complete as possible before they are shipped to us,” Tom Galloway, Regional Councillor for Waterloo, said.  

The first train sent to Waterloo back in February is currently not functional and will either be finalized locally in Waterloo or sent back to Kingston to be finished.  

Trains will be guided – as opposed to powered on their own – during the first stage of testing, in order to guarantee the Waterloo track is properly functional. 

Testing the trains will begin by testing them within the property they are stored at and then moving to be tested between Erb and Caroline and Conestoga Mall locations. 

“They don’t want to use power because we need to first test the vehicle and make sure it is all working properly,” Galloway said. “They don’t want it to be going at high-speed to find out that there is some kind of a problem with the train system that has been built.” 

GrandLinq contractors have conducted both the design and construction of the ION system in Waterloo so far. The contractors will also be responsible for operation and maintenance. GrandLinq was contracted by the Region of Waterloo back in March of 2014.  

“Two or threee trains are really needed to test how well the track system is going to work, and how the equipment on the trains themselves are going to work,” Galloway said.   

The third and fourth trains have yet to arrive in Waterloo but are expected to within the next month. All 14 vehicles are expected to arrive by February of 2018.  

Having powered trains to test is crucial in order to test the track built in Waterloo. With multiple trains on the track at once, the city can better understand how the trains will function as a complete system. 

 The original due date of the trains was August of 2016, although the production company Bombardier apparently experienced supply chain delays, which slowed the production and pushed back the date. 

Testing the trains will begin by testing them within the property they are stored at and then moving to be tested between Erb and Caroline and Conestoga Mall locations. 

Once fully functioning in 2018, the 19 kilometer ION track will stretch across Waterloo from Conestoga Mall into Kitchener, ending at Fairview Park Mall. 

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