System-wide Edmonton LRT closure planned Saturday for signal testing

Service on the LRT in Edmonton will be completely suspended for signal testing this Saturday.

The City of Edmonton said while people may see trains on the tracks, they will be there for testing purposes only and no passengers will be able to board.

The system-wide closure is planned on the Capital and Metro lines as Thales, the signal contractor, completes signal testing.

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“There will be no LRT service at all on Saturday,” said Craig McKeown, director of engineering and maintenance with ETS, on Thursday.

“This Sunday is a stat holiday so we’re trying to plan around special events, stat holidays.”

The closure may impact those heading to the Fleetwood Mac concert at Rogers Place on Saturday night. McKeown said all special events were considered when the closure date was decided.

“We did our best to accommodate the request while keeping in mind attendance at certain events. So we did the best we could to schedule it around them but not everything could be avoided.”

Replacement buses will run every 15 minutes on the Metro Line between NAIT and Churchill stations, and every five minutes on the Capital Line until 7 p.m. At 7 p.m., the city said buses will run every seven to eight minutes until the end of service.

Makeshift bus stops with red “LRT Replacement” signs will be set up. The locations of the temporary bus stops can be found online.

Drivers and pedestrians may experience longer than usual wait times at LRT crossings during the day-long testing, according to the city.

Thales has until December to hand over a fully-functioning signal system to the city. In October, the vice-president of Thales told Global News the system is ready to go, as designed.

“This closure is the last one planned by Thales as a part of their testing process, which is needed to complete their signalling system by Dec. 4, 2018,” McKeown said.

“These tests are an important step towards completion of the signal system but our focus remains on the end result. Thales has until Dec. 4 to complete their work and the city will continue to support them as they move towards their deadline.”

Thales is scheduled to continue its testing on the signal system outside of service hours up until the December deadline, but McKeown said these tests will not impact transit users.

McKeown said if Thales meets its December deadline, the city will move forward with its own testing “to ensure that they have met contractual obligations and that the city has received what we’ve paid for.”

Saturday’s full system closure “is the last of several required to accommodate Thales signal testing,” the city said in a media release.

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