December 18, 2020
Director, Investigations, Rail/Pipeline
200 Promenade du Portage
Place du Centre, 4th Floor
Gatineau, QC K1A 1K8
Subject: Rail Safety Advisory Letter 617-08/20
Cracked wheels on Ottawa Light Rail Transit vehicles
Dear Mr. ____,
Thank you for your work investigating the cracked wheels on the new Ottawa Light Rail Transit vehicles. As an Ottawa City Councillor and Transit Commissioner, I noted with interest the following statement in your report:
Although ongoing daily inspections by OLRT maintenance staff are being observed, the preliminary TSB examination results demonstrate that some wheel hub cracks may go undetected and the development of cracks in the area of jacking screws installed in the hub of resilient wheels may be more widespread than initially thought. Therefore, it is suggested that OLRT and Alstom expedite the removal of all Lucchini resilient wheels that were originally installed on the OLRT LRV fleet and were equipped with jacking screws.
At the Ottawa Transit Commission meeting of December 16, 2020, I questioned this advice and Transit Commissioners were informed that the subject wheels will not be replaced. It was stated that, “None of the safety experts have expressed any concerns with the path forward,” and indicated that the Rail Safety Branch of the Transportation Safety Board is aware of this decision and has been part of the discussion.
I am seeking your clarification on the report's recommendation: does the TSB support replacing all of the subject wheels or is the TSB endorsing the decision to not replace them?
Thank you for helping to clarify this important issue.
Councillor, Somerset Ward (Ottawa)
CC General Manager, Transit Services, City of Ottawa