Tuesday, December 12, 2006 at 8:51 pm

News from Ottawa

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I live about an hour outside Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, and lately there have been a couple of local rail-related stories that you might find interesting.

O-Train at Carling StationFirst, Ottawa’s city council voted last week to revise a proposed expansion of their experimental light-rail project, the O-Train, which currently uses diesel-powered trainsets on existing (former CP) track, excising the costly and controversial downtown extension. Now here’s the catch: the project is getting funding from the provincial and federal governments as well, and today the feds announced that they’re delaying their $200 million contribution while they review the revised project. A local light-rail advocacy group, which ironically opposes the plan as poor value for money (they like light rail, just not this plan), is calling for the province to pull its funding; the premier had said last week that the province needed to review the revised plan.

Next, a piece of concrete fell off a railway overpass over a major street yesterday, striking a windshield but fortunately not hurting anyone. A minor story, except for the twist: no one is sure who is responsible for the bridge or for the accident. Though only VIA Rail operates trains on that line, CN owns the track. CN thought that the National Capital Commission owned the actual bridge (though CN has been inspecting and maintaining it), but had to retract that statement later; the NCC says that the bridges were transferred to railway ownership in the early 1970s. They’ll sort this out soon enough; it’s important to know who to sue. CBC Ottawa, CFRA, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun.

Photo of O-Train by PepperJelly.

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