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First Waterloo LRV on its way

The first Flexity Freedom LRV destined for Ontario Waterloo's ION project left Bombardier on 15 February. (Image courtesy of Region of Waterloo)

The first Flexity Freedom LRV destined for the Waterloo ION light rail project (Ontario, Canada) left Bombardier’s Thunder Bay plant on 15 February.

The new five-section, 100% low-floor vehicle (30.2m long, 2.65m wide) will likely be unveiled to the public in April at the Dutton Drive maintenance depot in Waterloo; dynamic testing is expected to begin in the Spring between Northfield and the Caroline Street/Erb Street junction. A second LRV will follow in June/July, with a further 12 to follow from Bombardier’s Kingston plant as part of a CAD66m contract dating from 2013 that includes options for a further 14 vehicles.

The first Waterloo Flexity Freedom was scheduled to arrive in August 2016, but in April that year Bombardier advised the regional government that it could not deliver until October. The opening date of the line was pushed back to 2018 when it became clear that deliveries would not start before December.

The first stage of the ION project (being built under a 33-year DBFOM contract by the GrandLinq consortium of Keolis, Plenary Group, Meridiam, Kiewit and Aecon) covers 19km (11.8 miles) with tracklaying between Conestoga Mall in Waterloo and Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener almost complete.

A Bus Rapid Transit route also runs between Cambridge and Kitchener. This opened in September 2015 and in stage two this will be converted to light rail.