About the Award Winning O-Train
Ottawa's successful Light Rail Pilot Project, now called the O-Train, was, and remains, the most successful public transit initiative done in Ottawa.
It cost $32 million for an 8 km system, (avg. cost $4 million/km) from Bayview to Greenboro. The project was built by re-using an existing Canadian Pacific Railway line and the project work included track upgrades, simple stations, a maintenance facility at Walkley yard, and three diesel light rail vehicles (dLRVs).
It is now an essential part of the city's transit system and is relied upon by up to 12,000 passengers per day - double the original expected ridership.
The O-Train travels on an 8-km length of existing freight rail track, and connects to the city’s bus rapid transit system (the “Transitway”) on each end of the line. The existing corridor is owned by Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). The line serves Carleton University, a major employment centre, and a shopping mall in a densely populated neighbourhood.
The pilot project is unique by North American standards and involves four “firsts.” It is the first time that light rail passenger trains had been mixed with heavy rail traffic on an existing rail network, and the first time passenger rail services had been operated by a single operator. In addition, this was the first time Bombardier Talent DMU trains had been used anywhere in North America, and the first trains driven by bus operators.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities presenting a Sustainable Community Award for the O-Train at Carleton Station, May 23, 2003 after just 18 months of operation.
It also won the Ontario chapter’s American Public Works Association (APWA) Public Works Project of the Year award.
The O-Train has even been to Carp! Here's a couple photos from the trip, Sept 24, 2006.
The Future?"Capital Railway is planning to take steps to modify and to expand the O-Train Line between 2006 and 2009 for the continued operation of rail commuter service over the O-Train Line." from the city's Three-Year Rail Network Plan. This announcement indicates the intended use of the track south of Greenboro.
See a schematic of the Southern LRT Extension (pdf) planned at the time.