Metro Line Update: City begins evaluating Thales system

Today is the deadline for Thales to complete their work on the Metro Line signalling system. Once Thales hands in their work, the City can begin the process of evaluating it.

Thales Canada Inc. was originally scheduled to complete a new signalling system for the Metro Line LRT five years ago. Instead, on December 4, 2013, the City announced the first delay on the Metro Line due to the signalling system. Thales committed to completing the signalling system on December 4, 2018—exactly five years later—after the City issued them with a Notice of Default on May 1, 2018.

“It’s pencils down for Thales today,” said Adam Laughlin, Deputy City Manager, Integrated Infrastructure Services at a media conference on December 4, 2018. “They may be confident in their work, but we have to do our own due diligence to determine if Thales has passed and has met their contractual obligations. It’s important to ensure that the City — and all Edmontonians — has the signalling system that we asked for and were promised.”

The City expects it will take a number of months to complete the evaluation, which will include a review of documentation and field testing. Most of the field testing will take place outside of service hours in order to minimize impacts to Edmonton Transit Service customers, motorists and pedestrians. The City anticipates there will be one-and-a-half days of system-wide LRT closures each month to accommodate testing. These closures will take place on low-service days. Special events will also be a key consideration.

The Metro Line will continue to operate as is, with trains running between Century Park and NAIT stations on a 15-minute schedule. Capital Line trains will continue running between Century Park and Clareview stations on a 5-5-10 minute peak hour schedule.

The media conference was streamed live on Facebook. Watch it from start to finish here:

The Metro Line began operating with restrictions on September 6, 2015 and has more than 19,000 riders per weekday.