First stage of LRT PPP project starts operation in Canada

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First stage of LRT PPP project starts operation in Canada

Ontario's new rapid transit system - ION Light Rail Train (LRT) line connecting Waterloo and Kitchener in the state of Ontario has inaugurated its stage 1 and commenced operation on June 21st. The project is a concession and it includes design, building, financing, operation, and maintenance of light rail train between Conestoga Mall in Waterloo city to Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener.

The total length of the line is 16 km with 19 stations. LRT features electric trains running along tracks on a rapidway separate from regular traffic. By operating separately from traffic, rapid transit is a more efficient, reliable, comfortable, convenient, and effective way to travel. The link will operate every eight minutes at peak times and every 15 minutes off-peak. The line is expected to carry about 25,000 passengers per day.

The LRT will provide services with 14 new 30 meters long accessible, low-floor, comfortable, electric and silent light rail vehicles (LRVs) provided by Bombardier. Each vehicle has the capacity to carry 200 passengers, 56 seats and 144 standees. The ION LRT will be fully integrated with the existing Grand River Transit (GRT) network, with one fare system for all transport options. There will be 40 LRV operators and 15 supervisors to facilitate the operations along with 30 engineers and technicians to monitor and maintain the LRVs and the infrastructure.

Stage 1 of the LRT implementation was done by the GrandLinq consortium. GrandLinq consortium comprises of Plenary Group Canada, Meridiam Infrastructure Waterloo, Aecon, Kiewit, Mass Electric Construction Canada, Keolis, STV Canada Construction and CIBC World Markets. Keolis will be responsible for operations for the next 10 years, and maintenance for the next 30 years.

The ION LRT will transform the Region of Waterloo, which is the fourth largest community in Ontario with an existing population of over half a million. The LRT network was funded by all three levels of the government. The project is divided into two stages, stage 2 study is underway.

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