To Catch a Train

After three years of construction, the west leg of the Calgary LRT system will commence service Dec. 10.

“You’ll notice if you tour the west line that there’s many, many workers out there still patching up some of the surface works that need to be done but with respect to the rail lines and the stations they are substantially complete, they’ve been turned over to Calgary Transit and Calgary Transit are doing their testing as we speak,” said Mac Logan, general manager Transportation for the City of Calgary addressing media from the new Sunalta station Nov. 7.

The $1.4 billion project was approved in November of 2007 with construction commencing February 2010. The west leg includes six new stations, roadway upgrades as well as the first elevated station (Sunalta) and first underground station (Westbrook) in the city. The line extends west from the Seventh Avenue station, up Bow Trail, then heads south for a block before continuing west on 17 Ave. all the way to 69 St.

As well as the LRT line construction, the project included trenching a station at 45 St., constructing a parkade at the 69 St. station and building an interchange at Sarcee Trail and 17 Ave.

“There’s been a lot of disruption to the regular routines and I think … finally we’re getting the reward for our patience,” said Ward 6 Alderman Richard Pootmans. “The vast majority (of residents) are just asking me how quickly can we bring it on? What will be the frequency of service?”

“The frequency of service will be four to eight minutes of LRT service, 12 minutes to the west end of downtown, that’s fantastic and I think that’s the key thing people want to know is how fast will the service be from 69th St at the parkade to the downtown.”

With the anticipation that more than 30,000 people will be utilizing the new leg of the LRT, they won’t be able to utilize electronic fare anytime soon with Calgary Transit cancelling its contract with the supplier of an electronic fare system.

According to a City of Calgary release, the supplier was unable to deliver a product meeting the requirements set out by Calgary Transit in a contract awarded December 2010.

“The City has sent a clear message to all its suppliers that they must meet the expectations and standards set in the contract,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “While we apologize for the delay in rolling this out to customers, we have to get this right.”

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