The City is planning to expand the OTrain Line 2 (Trillium Line) south as part of light rail, phase 2.
Due to the length of the line, and the expense, and that it may have less passenger traffic at the beginning than Line 1 (Confederation Line), the City currently plans to continue running diesel trains on the track. It has ordered a bunch of diesel trains from Europe to use on the expansion.
Electrification has been pushed off into the future.
But technology doesn’t stand still, and maybe there will be time to consider new options.
Bombardier, maker of the Talent train sets (which the Trillium OTrain had from 2001 to 2013), now has a battery-electric version of the train that doesn’t require expensive track electrification wiring throughout its length.
Instead, there is overhead wiring only at the stations. So while the train is stopped, it recharges. This is in addition to braking-regeneration.
If there is a particularly urban section of track, then just that one segment of track (for eg, Carling Ave to Bayview Station) could be electrified at the outset or as a subsequent improvement. This would put the electrification dollars to where they do the most good. In addition to quieter trains, this makes for a very flexible roll out of complete electrification, should that ever be needed.
Bombardier claims its award-winning battery-powered eco-train can even be retrofitted into existing diesel trainsets. I wonder if that would include the three Talent trainsets we have rusting away in the suburbs, unused, unloved, unsold …
Note that while we are committed to buying the Swiss-made diesel trainsets for Phase 2, there is nothing from stopping us using the battery powered ones too. Or using them for a separate service from Bayview Station across the Prince of Wales Bridge to Gatineau.
And presumably the Swiss-made diesels may be convertible to battery power by time Phase 2 opens up.
Sometimes, technological innovation seems wonderful.
picture and information from Flieger Faust