The handover process for the NAIT Metro LRT line has now officially begun, with Thales Rail Signalling Solutions Inc. handing over the majority of the required documentation, including a safety certificate, to the City of Edmonton on March 23.
Signalling Solutions Inc., part of Thales Group, was the third-party contractor hired to design the new signalling system for the new line.The City of Edmonton remains “cautiously optimistic” for a spring 2015 opening.
Dorian Wandzura, general manager of the city’s Transportation Services, outlined the process at a Monday news conference. “Now that Thales has initiated the handover, our next step is to review and evaluate the documentation, which should take approximately one week,” said Wandzura.
Once the review is complete, the city will spend approximately four to six weeks training operators and staff on the new system before the official opening. It appears that Thales did meet their deadline set back in January.
“We are happy to report that we have submitted our safety certificate and handover material to the City today [March 23],” said Mark Halinaty, Thales Canada president and CEO.
“Our collaboration with the city will continue in the coming days and weeks to ensure Edmonton’s residents get the state-of-the-art Metro control system they deserve.”
The project was marred by continuous delays and problems merging the existing LRT system with the new signalling technology.
The NAIT Students’ Association, however, is looking forward to the opening of the new line that will end in front of the institute’s main campus. “We’re certainly looking forward to this key handover,” said NAITSA President Hasib Baig. “Once it’s all ready, we’ll have the LRT going here in May and students are going to be able to take advantage of it in the summer and also into the fall.”
Meanwhile, Edmonton Transit is expanding the Ookspress bus service from NAIT to Churchill Square into the evening with three pick up times, an extended service that will last until the Metro LRT line opens in May.
The new line is the first step in an expected further expansion of Edmonton’s public transportation network. The line is expected to add 13,200 weekday riders to the LRT network and will link NAIT, the Royal Alexandra Hospital and MacEwan University to the rest of the network.
Although this winter term will be finished before the line is expected to open in May, NAIT students will be able to take advantage of the new service at the start of the fall term in September.