Ion launch delayed until December
Light rail transit vehicles are now expected to start running in Waterloo Region in December – more than one year after the initial target date.
A report going before regional councillors next week says the region expects to receive all 14 light rail vehicles for the Ion system from Bombardier by June. After that, the vehicles will undergo six months of testing before passenger service starts.
In addition to the testing, the six months will be used to install “specialized equipment that will allow (the vehicles) to operate at higher speeds” as well as adjust traffic lights and provide real-time data about when they are expected to arrive at stops.
“We’re disappointed, and I’m sure a lot of citizens and businesses are disappointed,” Coun. Tom Galloway said Friday in an interview.
The initial contract for the project called for all vehicles to be in Waterloo Region by the end of 2016. That date was later revised to the end of 2017.
The contract also set out fines for missing the delivery dates, up to a maximum of $3.3 million. The contract now in place allows for further financial penalties if Bombardier fails to meet the current timetable. Galloway called the new penalty “much higher” than the initial fine of $21,000 per undelivered train per day behind schedule.
“That is highly motivating them to get them here,” he said.
There are currently four light rail vehicles in Waterloo Region. Two more are considered to be ready to ship to the region.
The report says assembly of 11 of the 14 vehicles are “complete or close to complete.” According to Galloway, a fifth vehicle is expected to arrive in Waterloo Region within days and a sixth could be here by the end of next week.