An LRT vehicle made its way through downtown Kitchener and beyond for the first time ever on Thursday.

The trip was part of the ongoing testing that is expected to ramp up as the launch of the Ion LRT system gets closer.

It came eight days after a vehicle left Waterloo and entered Kitchener under its own power for the first time. That test stopped around King and Victoria streets, while Thursday’s run saw the vehicle move through the downtown core and as far as Ottawa and Mill streets before turning around.

“It’s great getting it this deep into Kitchener,” Coun. Tom Galloway said while watching the vehicle at the Mill station.

Ion at Mill

Testing is scheduled to continue Friday, with the vehicle expected to continue past Mill to the end of the route, the Fairway station near Fairview Park Mall.

According to Galloway, six of the 14 Ion vehicles have been fully assembled at Bombardier’s plant in Kingston, while four more are in assembly and up to a month away from being complete. The vehicles all have to undergo significant testing before the region accepts delivery of them from Bombardier.

Galloway said the region still plans to launch regular LRT service this spring, noting that spring isn’t over until June 21.

“Hopefully we’ll still be able to stick to that schedule,” he said.