Ottawa’s O-Train

Part 1

Ottawa’s Trillium Line is often miscaptioned by the media as LRT, it is not. The Trillium Line is a DMU service. The Trillium Line is a good example of providing quality transit at a much lower cost than more expensive tramways and unrealistic and hugely costly light-metro.

Monthly operating costs of the 24 km line is $3.5 million ($42 million annually), including the $2.1 million paid to TransitNext, the project-specific group run by SNC-Lavalin which was chosen to build and maintain it.

This should give pause for those who claim that Rail for the Valley Marpole to Chilliwack proposal would cost more than SkyTrain to operate. In 1993, just the Expo Line was subsidized $157 million (GVRD) annually which amounts to almost $300 million in 2024 dollars!


2 Responses to “Ottawa’s O-Train”
  1. Haveacow says:

    Two clarifications, the monthly bill is approximately $2.6 million per month, the amount grows with inflation so about a 5% increase in the payments to Transit Next the line’s operator is expected next year (because that is roughly what our current annual national inflation rate is). The contract was negotiated with this for the operator.

    Second,yes they are DMUs and under Transport Canada rules, legally speaking, this is a regional rail line (commuter rail category) not an LRT line. We do refer to it in Ottawa as a diesel powered LRT line and its part of our LRT network. The reason for these types of mainline railway Diesel Multiple Units is that unlike many self powered mainline railway passenger vehicles the motors and drive train are geared to allow Light Rail Vehicle like acceleration around 1.3 m/s2. This allows for LRT like station spacing (600m to 3km distances) instead of mainline regional railway or commuter rail station spacing (1.6 km to 5km). In many Alstom and nearly all Stadler self powered railway passenger car designs, the type of gearing to allow for quicker acceleration and therefore much closer station distances is standard with these products.

    Zwei replies: Even better! The $3.5 million figure came from the net and was repeated in several web pages.

  2. Haveacow says:

    You misunderstand, the $2.6 Million is the payment only to the operator, not the whole monthly bill, thats still around $4.4 Million per month. Inflation is driving that cost up unfortunately due to how the contract was negotiated, it will continue to rise..

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