In this video, we will be looking at Line 1 (or the Confederation Line) of Ottawa's O-Train.
Line 1 is the main backbone of the entire public transit system in Ottawa. It currently operates from Blair Station in the east end suburb of Gloucester to Tunney's Pasture Station in the west next to the large Tunney's Pasture government complex. The line is comprised of 13 stations and is 12.5km in length.
The line opened to the public on September 14, 2019 to great excitement and anticipation.
Since the opening of the line, further expansions are presently under construction, that will extend the line further East to Trim Road in Orleans, and west to Moodie and Algonquin (formerly known as Baseline Station). Collectively, these extensions will add an additional 16 stations and bring the total to 29 stations. It is important to note that once the extension opens, it will be operated as two separate lines as the line splits into two branches at Lincoln Fields, one reaching Algonquin (known as Line 1) and the other reaching Moodie (known as Line 3). I will discuss these extensions in further detail in another video.
Line 1 is served by the Alstom Citadis Spirit LRV. This is a low floor light rail vehicle, and each train is made up of 4 articulated modules with a length of 48.5m. It has 5 bogies, of which 3 are powered with motors and two are unpowered. The two unpowered bogies are located underneath the module with a single door, which also houses the pantograph that makes contact with the overhead catenary system for power. In actual usage, the line operates two LRVs coupled together, which gives each "train" 8 modules and a length of approximately 97m end to end. When the line first opened, it launched with 34 LRVs (or 17 coupled pairs), which are maintained at the Belfast MSF (or Maintenance and Storage Facility). Once the Stage 2 expansion is completed, there will be a total of 72 LRVS (or 36 coupled pairs), with some stored and maintained at the future Moodie LMSF (or Light Maintenance and Storage Facility). Each coupled train has an estimated capacity of 600 passengers with a total of 14 doors per side.
Let us look at the stations of O-Train Line 1.
First is Blair, located in the east-end in the suburb of Gloucester. This is the current eastern terminus of Line 1, however its role will dimmish once the extended line to Orleans opens, and it transitions to just being another stop along the line. As is the case with most stations on Line 1, it was built in the same location as the former Bus Rapid Transit or Transitway station. In the case of Blair, much of the original Transitway station structure was retained and integrated into the new train station construction. This can be easily seen on both sides with the original stairwells and iconic red tubular steel and windows. Inside the station, a pedestrian overpass was mostly retained and repurposed into an entranceway into the station. Overall, lots of original elements were kept but there is also a lot of new build. For example, the train platforms are reached by the elevated entrance via the aforementioned walkway entrance with fare gates. For those arriving by bus, they can pass directly to the train platforms via a lower-level entrance to come up in the middle of the centre platform of the station. This is known as a fare paid zone and as a result, to transfer between bus and train, you do not need to pass through any fare gates. This station also features some retail in the form of Happy Goat Coffee Shop on the lower level. The pedestrian walkway previously mentioned also crosses the highway 174 to reach Telesat drive on the opposite side.
Located underneath the Cyrville Road overpass next to the highways 174 and 417 interchange, this is likely one of the quietest stations along the line. At present, there is not much development around the station, however there are plans proposed for several residential, commercial and business developments in proximity to the station, so it is expected that the usage of the station will increase in the future. This is another centre platform station, of which the line only contains 3 (with the others at Blair and Pimisi). Entrances are on both sides of Cyrville road and lead down to the platform below. Interestingly, the larger of the two entrances has the fare gates at street level, while the smaller entrance across the street, has the fare gates located below at platform level, next to the stairs/elevators (no doubt an effort to reduce its size). The station has a very calm feel to it, with nice condo buildings flanking the westbound side of the station. Glass curtain walls run along the sides of the guideway.
Located underneath the St-Laurent bus station and directly attached from underneath to the St Laurent Shopping Centre, this station, much like Blair, has retained and repurposed the previous infrastructure and installation of the Transitway station into the new O-Train station. While the success of doing this was well done at Blair, it does create some constraints and limitations on what could be accomplished at St-Laurent. The station is spread over 3 floors. The topmost floor is where you will find the bus platforms and loop. This area has remained untouched and in fact, remained open throughout the construction and conversion of the station below. One level down is the mezzanine level, which allows you to cross between Eastbound and Westbound train platforms. It is also the indoor connection to the St-Laurent Shopping Centre. From this level, escalators, stairs and elevators link to the platform level, at which you will find the fare gates. The constraints of the station do come from retaining a lot of the old structure, which was likely unavoidable as it supports the bus platform level at the top. The stairs and entrance ways on the mezzanine are on the narrow side and the various elevators do not all serve every floor. Still, for what engineers had to work with, the station does have an expansive cavernous feel, is brightly illuminated and spacious at the platforms.
This station is located adjacent to the VIA Rail Canada station, and in proximity to the Max Keeping pedestrian bridge, providing a connection to Coventry Road on the opposite side of highway 417. Like Cyrville, it is not a busy station. Its main vocation is to serve the VIA Rail station, as well as the baseball park and hotel/convention space located across the highway. The station itself is visually appealing, beginning with the entrance and glass overhang. Various cut outs of flowers and grass hang from the mirrored glass roof covering. Inside the station, lots of space and a sweeping roof line accentuate the overall station shape and design. Angled outer curtain walls border the nearby multi-use pathway and provide great views in and out of the station. The station is also a great spot to do some train spotting, from the ring road across from VIA Rail to the east, and the elevated areas of the multi use pathway to the west.
This station is located near Riverside Drive and is in proximity to many high-density residential apartment buildings and condos. In addition, it is also a major transfer station to the southeast bus transitway. Hurdman is an elevated station, with the entrance and bus platforms located below. While many people live in proximity to walk to the station, most of the passenger flow comes from people transferring between train and bus. A multi-use pathway runs alongside the station and offers lots of greenspace and colour to the station area. Station retail is also present in the form of Happy Goat Coffee Shop, which at the time of this video is under construction and not yet open.
This station is located in Old Ottawa East, near the Lees campus of Ottawa U (which was formerly the Lees campus of Algonquin College). In proximity are many high-density high-rise apartment buildings, which along with the university campus ensure a steady flow of passengers in and out of the station. The station is located below grade from the entrance and is flanked with a multi-use pathway on one side. Unfortunately, there is no entrance from the MUP to enter the station, passengers need to ascend to street level to enter the station. Despite the station being in a trench, it is still well decorated with blue/green painted glass panels overhead and to the sides of the platforms. Bird motifs are installed along a concrete side wall with backside illumination, creating a stunning effect at night.
This station is located adjacent to the University of Ottawa main campus. It is also a convenient station to use to reach the Rideau Canal and pathways it offers. The station offers two entrances. One that links directly to the westbound platforms, and another larger main entrance in the underpass underneath the station. This gives access to the eastbound platforms, as well as to the Rideau Canal, an oasis in the middle of the city. Whether you are arriving to continue your studies, or looking for a walk, cycle or skate, this station has multiple reasons to visit the area.
This station is located nearly 26metres below Rideau Street and is the deepest station on the entire O-Train network. This is the first underground station in the 2.5km long downtown tunnel. The tunnel is the single most important element of the line as it eliminates the bottlenecks, slowdowns and unreliability that the previous bus rapid transit system experienced on street level. Gone are the dozen plus intersections a bus had to cross to make it through the core downtown area. Trains can now cross the same area underground in a fraction of the time it previously took to do so. This station provides service to the CF Rideau Centre as well as the Byward Market shopping and entertainment district of Ottawa. Large and cavernous, Rideau Station sees a constant flow of passengers through the station. Access to the station is from several points of entry. One entrance is located on William Street at the edge of the Byward Market. The others are integrated into the CF Rideau Centre and feature the longest single escalators in a Canadian transit system. From exterior entrances to interior mall entrances and even elevator entrances, it features a whopping 8 elevators and 16 escalators to connect it all. An indoor ever evolving public art space known as Corridor 45/75, showcases local artworks and artists, with the display rotated every few months. A Happy Goat Coffee Shop is also present on the mezzanine level just before the fare gates on the CF Rideau Centre entrance side. This is also the only underground station that provides a view down to the platforms from above.
This station located in the core business district, and in proximity to the Parliament of Canada, is the busiest station on the entire network. Located underneath Queen Street near the intersection of O'Connor, it is a well connected and integrated station into the downtown landscape. Featuring several art installations, which include a colourful mosaic ceiling, to green laser etched track dividers that represent local flowers and vegetation found in each province, being the busiest station doesn't mean it loses out on any visual appeal. Entrances are well integrated in surrounding buildings and provide a direct connection into the Sun Life Financial Building, which is home to the Queen St Fare, a popular lunch time eatery in the downtown core.
This station is located underneath the sprawling Place de Ville complex (which features several high rise office buildings, and two hotels). The concourse level of this station is big and open with lots of space. Several art installations along the walls leading up to street level depict movement and motion. Vertical circulation between the concourse and the platforms is generally seen as the best designed for the underground downtown stations as the stairs, elevators and escalators are well spaced out from one another, helping distribute the passengers onto the platforms below. When arriving at this station, just be sure to pay attention to the overhead wayfinding signage to identify which direction to head to reach your desired exit, as the station concourse does have a mirror look to both sides.
This station is in Lebreton Flats, currently a large green space. This area will see significant development over the next 10-15 years, as there are proposals for an NHL hockey arena and event space, among many residential and commercial buildings and attractions. The new joint facility between the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada will be in walking distance of the station as well. This station is also heavily used as a transfer point for commuters traveling between Ottawa and Gatineau across the river. With additional development in progress in the ZIBI project, located on the islands in the Ottawa River, this station will see ever increasing demand and usage as the years go by.
This station is located at the far end of Lebreton Flats and is the main transfer station to switch between O-Train Line 1 and Line 2 (also known as the Trillium Line, which provides connections southbound to Carleton University and beyond). At the time of this video, Line 2 is presently closed for expansion, but is projected to reopen in late 2023. Line 1 passes on an elevated portion of the station, with Line 2 stopping perpendicular underneath. Bright and airy, the station provides several great vantage points for train spotting, especially when you consider the fact that two lines intersect at this point. The station is also in proximity to a large-scale high-rise development being developed across the street, which will feature the tallest building in Ottawa upon its completion, planned to be over 60 stories in height.
Tunney's Pasture, terminus station.
This station is located near the Hintonberg area of Ottawa, as well as the large and expansive Tunney's Pasture government complex of office buildings and labs. This is presently the western terminus of Line 1, until the expansions to the west open, which is estimated to be in 2025. A large street level concourse area and a large looping bus platform loop help this station serve as the main transfer point for passengers heading further west by bus. This stations heavy usage will change once the extended lines west are opened as there will be significantly less passengers arriving to transfer between bus and train to complete their journeys. The station features a coloured glass panel roof line, that casts beautiful coloured patterns onto the concourse floor, shifting with the passage of the sun. A Happy Goat Coffee Shop at the time of this video, is under construction, and will offer tasty treats and warm beverages to eager commuters. Heading down to platform level, the sidewalls are covered with colourful mosaic tiles creating a warm and colourful area to wait and board the train.
And there you have it, Line 1 of the Ottawa O-Train, 13 stations, 12.5km in length.
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