When Politicians Think They Know Better – Watch Out!


When a new transit line is built, months of testing must take place before commissioning the line for public service. This did not happen in Ottawa.

Many people do not realize that the Ottawa LRT operation is automatic, just like Vancouver’s light metro system and the new line suffers the same ills that plague Automatic Train Contolled systems elsewhere.

Automatic Train Control (ATC) systems operate poorly in the the snow, if they work at all.

We have forgotten, that the Expo Line, when it first opened, only operated 5 minute headway’s and literally had maintenance staff ride the system for almost a year to, deal with technical faults. The system was down many times a day to deal with problems and the mainstream media stayed mute.

The P-3 maintenance contract for the Ottawa LRT proved to be problematic as the concessionaire put profits over performance.

A quote from our friend Haveacow, who worked on the Confederation Line, expresses exasperation on the double standard in Canada, where if one mentions LRT, the full force of Ottawa is upon you, but a government favourite, Movia Automatic Light Metro (used on the Expo and Millennium Lines) once owned by Bombardier (with engineering patents owned by another government favourite, SNC Lavalin), gets a free pass

I’m not saying the Confederation Line shouldn’t have been investigated but a relatively new line with inexperienced staff and a frustrated public forced a joint federal-provincial court led inquiry. How come no one is pushing for one when one of your (Expo Line) trains derails on a massive bridge at a turnout (switch), which stops it dead in its tracks by the way and forces the line out of service for most of a day, no calls for an investigation, where’s the headlines? Our LRT inquiry is national news. If I hadn’t turned to look at Zwei’s website I wouldn’t have even known this happened. A yes, a glorious double standard indeed!

We also have a local transit fiasco caused by a metro Vancouver mayor, who claimed that the Expo Line extension to Langley would cost a mere $1.63 billion. he claimed he was an expert and supported by some very dubious transit bloggers, changed from light rail to SkyTrain light metro. Today, the estimated cost of the 16 km extension may top $4.9 billion!


When politicians involve themselves with transit planning, two things are for sure; the costs will increase dramatically and the end product will be inferior to what was originally planned.

Ottawa taxpayers are now being reminded of this.


City knowingly accepted defects with LRT and lowered trial run criteria

Public inquiry’s 9th day most damning for the city — so far

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