LRT on the right track

Graphic by Madzia McCutcheon

After months of delay, the long-awaited Light Rail Transit (LRT) is ready to take to the tracks of Waterloo.

Following long-term construction throughout the region of Waterloo and repeated notices of postponement by Québec-based manufacturer Bombardier, rail testing of the first cars is estimated to begin in the coming weeks between Conestoga Mall and the Erb/Caroline St. intersection in Uptown Waterloo.

Due to the testing process, stated Grandlinq in a release, the LRT cars will be running more slowly than their expected operational speed, so commuters should expect some delays. In the meanwhile, now that the process is nearing completion, construction will be wrapping up with overnight work in Kitchener.

Outside of this, the only constuction which remains to be completed is in the creation of stops, displaying of signage, and resurfacing of newly-paved areas. Part of a larger order of 182 cars placed by Metrolinx earlier in 2015, the journey to this point of the project has been far from smooth sailing.

First, much to the chagrin of region officials, delivery of the cars was pushed back not once but twice from the original date of July 2016 to December 2016. A year-long delivery process, this posed a considerable setback for the project as a whole.

Once cars began to arrive, achieving operational status was not as simple as placing the components onto the rails.

Rather, as each car arrives, it must be custom-fitted by Grandlinq, in a preparation process which is to take up to two months per car.

With all said and done, service is estimated to begin as of spring 2018.