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DavidBellerive

Stage 2 - Trillium Line - Construction Updates

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Since financial close has been reached on both extensions, and that work has already started on the Trillium extension, thought it would be a good idea to have a thread to discuss work being done!

For most of the alignment where the Trillium extension will be, land has been cleared and areas / access points are getting fenced off to prevent unauthorized access. Obviously no work was active today, but as far as I could tell, everything between South Keys and Leitrimm has been cleared, as well as the Airport Link.

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Here’s a few shots I took earlier this week of the clearing done at South Keys. Looks like they cleared about 25-30m wide along the entire extension. Couldn’t catch a pitcure, but gates and fencing is being installed between the various road access.

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I was recently informed that the way the trains connect from both the south mainline and the airport spur line at South Keys and may actually change. I couldn't get any details on this but it seems to be "in development" / "likely to change" at the moment. So something to keep an eye out for in the future...

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31 minutes ago, Shane said:

I was recently informed that the way the trains connect from both the south mainline and the airport spur line at South Keys and may actually change. I couldn't get any details on this but it seems to be "in development" / "likely to change" at the moment. So something to keep an eye out for in the future...

The latest layout was the track extending onto the main line, so the trains can access the yard, but only in the north direction correct?

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Yes I think that is what they are currently showing on GeoOttawa as well as on our O-Train Fans System Map.

When I was at OC recently to do the latest videos, I asked about the "pocket track" and configuration at the future South Keys and they said something to the effect that it might be changing... They didn't want to say anything beyond that.

I also want to do a Stage 2 LRT video on some of the technical details overall, and they said some details are still not finalized so it would be best to do at a later date.

This isn't too hard to understand as we have seen that details even on the Confederation Line have evolved from the original plans to the final product. (one example is the mid-entrance to Parliament Station, originally to be placed by the TD Bank at the World Exchange side of O'Connor, and later moved across the street in front of Sun Life Financial Centre).

So probably best to keep checking intermittently GeoOttawa to see how things may change or evolve over time. I think I had read someplace that GeoOttawa's Rail Implementation layer is slightly out of date, but I am not sure.

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So, used the map here on the site, and the "current" configuration is a large island platform, with a stowaway track north, before going back to single track to Greenboro.

South of the station, there is a diamond crossover, with the left track going to the spur and right towards Bowesville.

image.thumb.png.986cd1eaec254c3d7b20d17dc18aac27.png

As of right now, GeoOttawa currently displays the same configuration, though how up to date it is might be another topic.

I would assume that, given there is "no real emergency" to start immediately, the clearing and landscaping done is preliminary and will be revised depending on the final configuration.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Shane said:

I was recently informed that the way the trains connect from both the south mainline and the airport spur line at South Keys and may actually change. I couldn't get any details on this but it seems to be "in development" / "likely to change" at the moment. So something to keep an eye out for in the future...

Sounds familiar... Guess they're taking their time to decide I mean, they have plenty of it for now.

1 hour ago, Shane said:

When I was at OC recently to do the latest videos, I asked about the "pocket track" and configuration at the future South Keys and they said something to the effect that it might be changing... They didn't want to say anything beyond that.

There was always some speculation on SSP as to whether that pocket track would be real or was just an indication of a future track (as they've done on geoOttawa several times before). 

1 hour ago, Shane said:

 So probably best to keep checking intermittently GeoOttawa to see how things may change or evolve over time. I think I had read someplace that GeoOttawa's Rail Implementation layer is slightly out of date, but I am not sure.

It was last updated (as far as I can tell) after the contract was awarded to TransitNEXT. The data is whatever TransitNEXT's plan was at the time of bidding, I'm guessing. I was told the pocket track at Limebank isn't supposed to be there and that it would be removed soon, but it's still there for now. I took it out of the map data on this site. 

Edited by occheetos

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The city has released redacted Extension Project Agreements for Stage 2 LRT.

They can be found on the city's Access to Information section.

https://ottawa.ca/en/routine-disclosure-and-active-dissemination-plans#transportation-services-department

Scroll to the bottom where you will find

And the request for proposals:

And for future archival purposes, the files have been attached to the forum below. No doubt we will be referring back to the project agreements in the future to follow along on some estimated timelines, how the build will progress and milestones.

Confederation Line Extension Project- PA Redacted.pdf

Trillium Line Extension Project - PA Redacted.PDF

Confederation Line Extension Project - RFP Redacted.pdf

Trillium Line Extension Project - RFP Redacted.PDF

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I started going over the PA for the Trillium Extension, and here are some of the "note-worthy" observations so far.

  • Penalties have all been redacted from the PA. As explained during the city-council debate, it is a new payment structure and penalty system based.
  • The new Walkley Yard is required to achieve a LEED certification (though they are not required to achieve a specific level under it) - page 82
  • Unlike with Stage 1, commissioning and substantial completion don't seem to be tied up conditions. The city should be able to start commissioning and using the system before (or during) substantial completion. Do not read it as it will open before, but as it can be more simultaneous than currently. - page 86
  • TransitNext will be required to hire a professional photographer / videographer to supply the city with photos and videos, as well as a "promotional video during the design phase that incorporates information and visuals of the complete extension" - page 20
    • Yearly update videos should also be produced, highlighting the progress made on the project.
    • TNext is also expected to provide more photo-realistic rendering of the stations and their layout to the city as design is confirmed.
  • TNext is expected to continue the weekly update format observed for Stage 1. - page 10
    • They will also be required to update the station renderings as their design evolve over time, something not really done during stage 1.
  • In addition to financial penalties, "failure points" can be awarded to TNext by the city, in regards to performance targets or failure to comply with certain objectives. A certain number of those can be grounds for remedial awards to the city, at the expense of TNext. - page 111
    • If repeated points are given in consecutive periods, the city can execute its right to consider TNext in default, and therefore terminate the contract.
  • There is still a long-stop date, 365 date after the initial substantial completion date.
  • While TNext is building and maintaining the line, they will also be responsible for the contract with STAEDLER for the "revenue vehicle", not the city. - page 34
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Cool!! I like the weekly updates they did for Stage 1 so having them for Stage 2 will be nice since it's the Stage that will actually bring a station closer to my house! I look forward to following the progress!

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A CTA decision on the Trillium Line extension from back in May: https://otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/ruling/r-2019-73

Things I noticed:

Quote

[11] Therefore, the Agency requires the City to consult with the localities in relation to the following decision points during the construction phase of the Trillium extension:

  • Limebank Road bridge, including the design of the freight track crossing connecting to the National Research Council’s Lester Road facility;
  • Leitrim Road bridge;
  • Leitrim Park and Ride Facility;
  • Leitrim Station;
  • Traffic Management Control plans and Truck Route plans;
  • the Noise and Vibration Control Plan; and
  • the drainage and storm water management system.

I guess there'll be some consultations on these?

Quote

BOWESVILLE SUBDIVISION
[29] The new Bowesville Subdivision will be constructed on existing and new railway right-of-way, commencing at mileage 4.89 of the Greenboro Station Track and will continue for 11.37 kilometres to Limebank Station at mileage 12.00 of the Bowesville Subdivision.

The new extended track south of Greenboro will be known as the "Bowesville Subdivision". The Prescott Subdivision will be no more. The Airport Spur will officially be known as the "Airport Spur".

Quote

[37] The City’s Trillium extension is designed to support a 12-minute headway service operating at differing hours depending on the day of the week with train volumes not exceeding five trains per hour per direction. The Bowesville Subdivision will accommodate the operation of the equivalent of seven 80-metre long trains and will have a maximum permissible speed of 80 km/hr.

When the EA addendum was published, it had a chart of the simulations conducted based on the Stadler FLIRT's capabilities and showed a max speed of over 100km/h south of South Keys. If the track gets limited to 80km/h, that'll be disappointing.
 

Quote

[50] The detailed design and construction plans for the Trillium extension have not yet been undertaken. Prior to the start of construction, the related plans and procedures will identify how the work will be undertaken to meet the Project Specifications set out in the Project Agreement. Project Co. will begin the construction of the railway line infrastructure in 2019 and complete the work on the Airport Spur in 2020 and the Bowesville Subdivision in 2022.

The Airport Spur is supposed to be complete next year?? I imagine this must only be referring to track work.

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13 minutes ago, occheetos said:

When the EA addendum was published, it had a chart of the simulations conducted based on the Stadler FLIRT's capabilities and showed a max speed of over 100km/h south of South Keys. If the track gets limited to 80km/h, that'll be disappointing.

Interesting move, though it might have to do with crash absorption ratings, as the spurs are (if I read it right) considered to be part of regular trackage. From a functional perspective, the difference between 80 and 100 might actually be far less noticeable than we can expect, though it brings the good ol question of "how much quicker than a car it will be to go downtown", which makes any transit usage debate even more difficult to maintain.

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35 minutes ago, occheetos said:

The Airport Spur is supposed to be complete next year?? I imagine this must only be referring to track work.

From what I have found, it appears that the track and guideway are being built by TransitNext (the Trillium South Extension builder). The airport station itself is to be built separately by the Airport Authority, in conjunction with the airport expansion.

While the line will open in 2022, these two elements of bringing the O-Train to the airport will no doubt be done with different timelines and schedules.

Definitely of interest to see how that will all be coordinated and come together if in fact that is how it will be done.

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Posted (edited)

I'm just re-posting what I wrote on SSP:

I don't know if this has ever been noted on this thread (the search feature doesn't let me go back far enough based on the words I was looking for) so apologies if I'm stating the obvious here.

I don't know why I had never realized this sooner, but it had always confused me why the original functional design for the extension noted that the frequency of the Trillium Line would be 8-10 minutes which of course was back in 2015 and then the next time a report was published that mentioned the frequency (I believe it was 2017) suddenly we had a hard 12-minute frequency limit. I had always wondered why this decision ended up being made, and people like roger1818 have suggested that the 12 minute frequency is an attempt to under-promise and over-deliver but while I was reading some documents today it struck me. The original functional design was planned under the assumption that the Trillium Line expansion project would be successful, and in 2015 when that project utterly flopped the functional design was updated to account for that. So no unfortunately, barring a miracle (which will be quite unlikely with the lowest scoring bid), I definitively don't think this could be a case of under-promising.

But wait! There's more. In the set of documents that were accidentally released on Dropbox from a number of months ago there are some meeting notes from the consulting meetings that happened during the planning of the extension. From a meeting in May of 2015 there is this quote:

Quote

PS noted that the TMP ridership is based on 8-minute service frequencies and single LINT vehicles. Recent experience suggests that this is not feasible without additional infrastructure, so the study has assumed 10-minute frequencies with 2-car trains. This assumption will be revisited as the project moves forward, but the EA will seek approval for the largest potential impact.

Yeah, "recent experiences". The decision to go with 80m trains was made following the failure of the expansion project and as we know now has had the effect of turning this from a project that planned to meet the ridership of 2031 into a project that is expected to last until 2048 because of the higher capacity that the longer trains will provide.

Well okay, at least we'll have the capacity we need even if it was ultimately at the expense of frequency. But, although there aren't any meeting notes in the documents from after May 2015, I think the decision to settle on double length trains had some important implications to the effectiveness of the airport spur as well. From the original planning presentations, it was shown that the selected operating model was a mix of branch and direct operations from both Bowesville and the Airport to Bayview that would change depending on demand. Frequency North of South Keys would be 8 minutes, and worst case (using the direct to Bayview from both extension stations option) would see a frequency of 16 minutes to both Bowesville and the Airport. Fine for the airport, not fantastic for Riverside South (though this would obviously not have been used in peak periods) but certainly a lot better than the 24 minute frequencies we'd have if this were done under today's plan. Obviously changing the frequency of the mainline would have negatively impacted the effectiveness of this plan, but at least you'd still be able to run trains direct to the airport during events at the EY Centre right? Well no, because the current design for the Airport Stir still only includes platforms for single-length (41m) trains so you couldn't run direct trains without sacrificing capacity on the main line, which depending on the scenario, may not be ideal. 

Now I guess there'd really never be a case, even under a really busy event at the EY Centre, for there to be a need to use 80m trains on the Airport Spur. I don't really have any passenger metrics to back up the idea that the effectiveness of the spur will really be impacted. I can only assume and trust that the planners took that into consideration when they decided to limit the airport spur's platforms. That said, there's an easy fix. Just extend the platforms to the full 75m and leave them totally empty. You'd have the nice part of the station with shelters and covers for the short trains and still have the full platform available if you ever needed to run a large train out there. Maybe that's why the passing track on the spur was extended so much? Ha, wishful thinking.

Obviously this project has been way too far in planning to be changed, but the failure of the expansion project really f****d the plans for the Trillium Line. Would it be too much to say that the expansion project is the single worst [transit] project ever undertaken by the city, or does that still belong to the N-S LRT plan? 

I agree with lrt's friend that the limitations of the frequency will limit the attractiveness of the Trillium Line to anyone who doesn't live right by it or in an area where it's the only rapid transit option. I think 8 minutes was the sweet spot between really high frequency like the Confederation Line (overkill) and the old 15 minute frequencies. A really common thing that happens (and I've done this myself) is that people will take either the 7 or 10 from Carleton to get downtown instead of using the "rapid" rail transit option(s in future) to get downtown which, among other things, limits the carrying capacity of those bus routes for local passengers. This happens because people might have just missed the train and it's just not worth walking all the way to the northbound platform for a train that will come in 12 minutes when in the same time two buses on either of those routes will arrive.

But anyawy, the Trillium Line desperately needs more capacity and like I mentioned the thing is already under construction and it's too late to change anything. I'll take what I can get, even though I probably won't be here when it re-opens. Bummer.

Edited by occheetos
a word

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