CANADA: Ottawa Transit Commission has voted unanimously to move ahead with a C$59m plan to expand the O-Train diesel light rail service, including the purchase of six new vehicles.

Two new passing loops would be added and signalling upgraded, allowing a cut in headways from 15 min to 8 min. Capacity would be increased from around 1 100 passengers/h per direction now to 2 000; the 8 km line currently carries around 12 000 passengers/day, with some hours. OC Transpo General Manager Alain Mercier said station upgrades might be added to the scheme.

A tender for the new cars will be issued soon with a delivery deadline of January 31 2014 so that the expanded timetable can be introduced during 2014. Services would be operated by four cars, with the other two in reserve or undergoing maintenance.

Although an earlier proposal suggested refurbishing the three existing Bombardier Talent DMUs at a cost of C$7·6m, the latest plan envisages selling the units for an estimated C$6m. Meanwhile, a report on a possible O-Train extension to Leitrim is due by the end of this year. If that project is approved, officials may decide to retain the existing DMUs.