Ottawa Light Rail Transit LRT Technology Forum 2009

The City of Ottawa held a Light Rail Transit (LRT) Technology Forum on June 19 & 20, 2009.  It had presentation slides and recorded presentations from other cities and from transit vehicle vendors, as well as background documents.  It was basically the start for a discussion about what rail transit system technology or technologies the city should choose.

If you want to see info on the final decision the City made, read Ottawa 2009 Rail System Selection.

In typical City (and NCC) fashion the entire LRT Technology Forum website was deleted, so the best one can do is try to reconstruct something from the shattered fragments of the site that happened to be archived in the Internet Archive (in general this is a haphazard automatic process, unless someone takes the time to manually archive pages and files).  Note that the Archive doesn’t automatically save PDFs, so most of the PDF links on archived webpages won’t work, unless specifically highlighted below.  Archive date in parentheses after each link.

Main page (November 2, 2011)

It looks like cities presented on June 19 and vendors presented on June 20, 2009.

Transportation manufacturers’ presentations June 20, 2009:

9:30 – 9:55 a.m. – Alstom (not archived)
9:55 – 10:20 a.m. – Bombardier (not archived)
10:20 – 10:45 a.m. – Kinkisharyo (PDF, December 29, 2009)

Slides from the vendor and city presentations

I found some interesting single slides from the Alstom and Bombardier presentations on Urban Toronto.  Of particular note, Alstom appears to recommend a metro for Ottawa, rather than an LRT.

Ottawa LRT Tech Forum 2009 - Alstom - Transit Systems per traffic needs

Bombardier clearly needs a better graphic designer.  ART stands for Advanced Rapid Transit, and is basically a Bombardier branding for a particular type of metro.

Ottawa LRT Tech Forum 2009 - Bombardier - Each technology has its own domain

The Toronto presentation depicted modes and passengers per hour grouped into separated (“exclusive”) or non-separated Rights of Way (ROWs).

Ottawa LRT Tech Forum 2009 - TTC - Transit ROWs and Technologies

More Missing Presentations

  • calgary_en.pdf
  • vancouver_en.pdf
  • toronto_en.pdf (slides for Mitch Stambler presentation)

Missing Videos

  • jun_19/toronto_mitch_stambler.wmv (Mitch Stambler, Toronto)

Ottawa 2009 Rail System Selection

I now understand why Ottawa chose a low-floor LRT rather than either a high-floor metro or a mix of a metro in the core and LRT at the edges.  I’m not convinced we wouldn’t have been better off with a core metro and edge LRT system, although it would have meant transfers at the edge of the system.

Ultimately we chose an all-LRT system that optimised for the suburban commute rather than for core urban transit.

The documentation is only about the general system, it doesn’t describe why we chose the particular vehicle we are using on Line 1.

Ottawa Transit Commission met on November 18, 2009.

On the agenda for their consideration was the Rail System Selection Report, ACS2009-ICS-TRA-0017.

The direction given was

That Transit Committee recommend that Council approve that the Rail technology for the City’s Rapid Transit Plan be Light Rail Transit (LRT).

They had narrowed the rail system selection to two options: high-capacity light metro (a high-floor system, like traditional subway cars), and low-floor lower-capacity light rail.

They didn’t envision running the high-capacity system outside the core, which created a problem: outside the core (out into the Greenbelt and beyond, the suburbs, “the extensions”) passengers would have to switch to a lower capacity, possibly non-separated (“non-segregated”) light rail system.  They concluded it would be better to have light rail throughout rather than two systems.

They were trying to optimise over three different kinds of transit networks, which I think in retrospect was a mistake.  They were trying to optimise across a high-capacity core network, a lower-passenger-volume extended network into the suburbs, and a secondary network of supporting transit routes, including an at-grade surface rail route on Carling.  In my opinion, this was too many things to try to do with one vehicle.  (See section Three different transit systems for more info.)

They cite a Delcan Transit Technology Choice Report (PDF) commissioned by the city (copy in Internet Archive).  But here’s the thing, they don’t cite this part of the report:

The combination of Light Rail Vehicle with a CBTC system to provide 20,000 pphpd [persons per hour per direction] has not yet been proven in revenue service.

This seems a rather important oversight.  Nevertheless, the Delcan report did recommend LRT.

You can compare the Transit Commission key summary with the Delcan report’s key summary below.

I would note that the criteria “At least five years in revenue service” was not met by the Citadis Spirit LRT vehicles that were ultimately chosen.  (Nor for that matter by the low-passenger-volume Citadis Dualis vehicle the Spirit is based on.)

Ottawa City Council met on November 25, 2009.

The direction given was

That Council approve that the Rail technology for the City’s Rapid Transit Plan be Light Rail Transit (LRT).

Motion CARRIED with Councillors B. Monette and G. Hunter dissenting.

SIDEBAR 1: If you’re wondering what the difference between system types is, for a metro basically think subway cars, and for light rail / LRT basically think long streetcar.

A metro is always grade-separated (completely separated from car traffic), whereas an LRT may be surface rail sharing space on the street with cars (although in the end Ottawa decided to have an LRT that is completely grade-separated).

A metro has much higher capacity to move passengers per hour (on the order of up to five times the top LRT capacity).  A metro is high-floor (wheels are below the floor), while a modern LRT is typically low-floor (wheel bumps are inside the passenger space).  You can find a bit more info in my blog post Ottawa LRT design issues, low-floor versus high-floor.  END SIDEBAR

SIDEBAR 2: The analysis was informed to some extent by a Light Rail Transit (LRT) Technology Forum held in June 2009, however with the forum webpages gone, I have had to reconstruct some of the information that was presented. Of particular interest would have been the presentations by transit vehicle vendors but these aren’t online.  I did find a couple slides from the presentations that help explain more about the number of passengers a metro can carry versus an LRT.  END SIDEBAR

Transit Commission Rail System Selection Report – Discussion

QUOTE

DISCUSSION

The Delcan rail technology study compares the two rail technology options based on a set of criteria that reflected the above noted principles. The following table summarizes the comparison of the technology options:

Criteria Description Light Metro LRT Manual Driver Automated Driverless
Maximum passenger capacity in the core >20,000 pphpd Best Fair Poor Best
Low passenger capacity in the extensions >5,000 pphpd Good Best Good Poor
Ability to build a non-segregated system in low-density areas Poor Best Required N/A
Comparative total system capital cost All Phase 1 network, infrastructure and vehicle fleet Good Best Good Fair
Comparative life time operating and maintenance costs All Phase 1 network, infrastructure and vehicle fleet Best Good Poor Good
Proven in service At least 5 years in revenue service Good Good1 Good Good1
Suitable for the climate in Ottawa Operated in a climate similar to Ottawa Good Good Good Good

Footnote: 1 In order to meet the 2031 core capacity requirement, the vehicles associated with the LRT system will require operation with less distance between them. This requires a modern Automatic Train Control (ATC) system based on a Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) system.

The study reveals that the implementation of a high capacity Light Metro style system could, as LRT is implemented in suburban areas, divide Ottawa’s transportation network which would result in a fragmented network. This dual mode network is not desirable given the overall associated costs.

The choice of a Light Metro system would effectively increase overall lifecycle costs due to the higher capital costs of segregation in the western corridor, which would offset any operational efficiencies.

In contrast, an LRT system permits a more efficient capacity match for the ridership prediction throughout the main core and outlying regions maximizing the overall flexibility in continuing to grow the system up to and beyond 2031.

The LRT system provides capacity in the downtown core, but will necessitate the use of automatic operation to maintain operational efficiency with higher ridership in later years.

The rail systems technology recommendation also reflects Council’s direction in approving the North-South LRT EA and the Riverside South Community Design Plan (CDP). These documents identified the technology selection for the future North South Corridor as LRT. The integration of this technology to the Tunney’s Pasture to Baseline corridor was an important consideration in the development of a technology recommendation.

In conclusion, Light Rail (LRT) is recommended as the preferred technology choice for deployment in Ottawa as it:

  • Has less impact on the urban fabric and allows the ability to integrate both non-segregated and segregated systems,
  • Provides the necessary capacity for the ridership predictions in the main core,
  • Can accommodate low passenger capacity in the extensions outside of the main core,
  • Has lower total system capital costs than Light Metro,
  • Can accommodate Ottawa weather conditions

END QUOTE

Delcan Transit Technology Choice Report – Passenger Volumes and Predicted Ridership

QUOTE

The [2008 Transportation Master Plan] TMP planning process was supported by a regional transportation model that projected future (2031) transit ridership through the downtown of Ottawa would reach 14,400 persons per hour per direction (pphpd) between Bayview Station and the future Downtown West Station (to be constructed as a part of the Downtown Ottawa Transit Tunnel project).

Additional volumes of passengers emanating from the N-S Line and the STO routes from Gatineau could increase potential volumes to 20,000pphpd should any future interprovincial rapid transit link feed into the planned TMP network west of the downtown. Based on this, and to provide an adequate spare capacity to accommodate future growth beyond 2031 and for the purposes of the technology selection, the ultimate capacity is considered to be 24,000 pphpd. It should be noted that for reasons of development constraints, the core may not increase beyond this ridership capacity.

Based on the above a number of different technologies were evaluated for suitability. Some technology choices such as monorail and heavy rail were discounted based on the evaluation criteria.

To meet the predicted ridership two generic system technology choices were considered more suitable to the City of Ottawa and carried forward for further evaluation:

  • Light Metro (as in the Skytrain system used in Vancouver or the Mini-subway as used in Kobe Japan) is more operationally suited to development in the downtown core, and
  • Light Rail (LRT) (as used in Calgary or Minneapolis) is a better selection for urban planning and implementation outside of the main core, while also being able to operate in the main core.

The combination of Light Rail Vehicle with a CBTC system to provide 20,000 pphpd has not yet been proven in revenue service.

Editorial note: Delcan’s table is similar, but not identical, to the one in the City Rail Selection report.  Delcan’s third row “No more than one transfer and no in-line passenger transfers” is simply dropped.  Table embedded as an image below.

Delcan - Transit Technology Choice Report - metro vs LRT comparison table
Note 1: In order to meet the 2031 core capacity requirement, the vehicles associated with the LRT system will require operation with less distance between them. This requires a more modern Automatic Train Control (ATC) system such as the Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) system.

A key finding of the report is that the choice of technology determines the future flexibility of a transportation network within Ottawa. By developing a Light Metro style system, the core will meet its capacity prediction targets and have sufficient margin for growth beyond the prediction; but the report finds that the potential capacity within the core may not warrant such a system.

The implementation of a high capacity light metro style system may divide Ottawa’s transportation network into a set of fragmented, unconnected and disparate transportation modes, which will multiply staff costs, overheads, maintenance and spares and maintenance facilities. This fragmentation will also cause numerous onward transfers between transport modes for daily passengers moving into the core from the suburbs.

The choice of a Light Metro system will effectively increase transportation costs due to higher costs of segregation for the outlying suburbs, which may result in lower efficiencies of running and potentially higher ticket costs.

In contrast, the report assesses the corridor with an LRT system which permits a more efficient capacity match for the ridership prediction throughout the main core and outlying regions.

The LRT system provides capacity for the main core but will necessitate some development of automatic operation to maintain operational efficiency at the end of the planning period and beyond. With this automation there will be some consequential development risk of migration of technology to the Light Rail Vehicle (LRV), but this should be balanced with the fact that any technology implementation within Ottawa’s climate will carry some residual development risk for manufacturers and integrators. However with the additional implementation of an automated system, the initial capital costs for both LRT and metro may be offset with a reduction in long term operating costs.

A hybrid version of driver operated/automated LRT provides long term flexibility to transit network planning and the possibility of on-street running, a lower cost segregated corridor and the reduced complexity of driver operation in the suburbs. More importantly the passenger is provided with minimal onward transfers when commuting: a key element in attracting ridership.

Light Rail is recommended as the technology choice for deployment in Ottawa as it:

  • Provides the necessary capacity for the ridership predictions in the main core,
  • Can accommodate low passenger capacity in the extensions outside of the main core,
  • Results in less fragmentation of the network, reducing the need for onward transfers,
  • Has less impact on the urban fabric and allows the ability to build a non-segregated system in the Greenbelt,
  • Has comparative total system capital costs with Light Metro,
  • Has comparative life time operating and maintenance costs with Light Metro,
  • Allows better integration of technology for the Carling-Lincoln Field’s corridor.
  • Provides greater network flexibility and promotes development of the transportation network in the core,
  • Is a proven design, and
  • Is more suited for the climate in Ottawa.

END QUOTE

Three different transit systems – One vehicle to rule them all?

Continuing with extracts from the Delcan report (PDF), pp. 1-3.

QUOTE

For the purpose of this study, the ultimate rapid transit network has been divided into three categories:

  • Core Network – from Baseline to Blair Stations.
  • Extended Network – including future extensions to the rail network as well as the corridor south of Bayview (the O-Train line) and the future connection to Gatineau.
  • Secondary Network – including all remaining BRT Transitways, transit priority routes and surface-operating rail routes such as the proposed Carling and Rideau-Montreal Road corridors.

END QUOTE

Core Network
Delcan - Transit Technology Choice Report 2009 - Figure 1 Core Network
It’s hard to read the stations, the ones indicated from left to right are Baseline (end of line in the west), Lincoln Fields above it, Bayview at the intersection of the two lines, South Keys at the end of the central south line, Hurdman and then finally Blair at the end in the east.

Extended Network
Delcan - Transit Technology Choice Report 2009 - Figure 2 Extended Network
This is not a great diagram; they should have done the extended network in a different colour.  The core network in the centre is in pale red, the Extended Network is the dark red at the edges.  They have not really highlighted stations so much as indicated neighbourhoods – Terry Fox in Kanata in the west, Fallowfield (with possible VIA rail connection?) and Barrhaven Town Centre in the south west, Riverside South in the south centre, and Orleans Town Centre in the east.

So basically their thinking was that they needed high-capacity in the Core, and lower capacity in the Extended, but they didn’t want there to have to be a transfer to change between systems from extended in the suburbs to core in the central part of town.  Also they thought that they might use at-grade surface rail crossing the Greenbelt and possibly in some of the rest of the extended network rather than grade-separating it all.  So the decision was to use low-floor LRT for the entire thing.

Secondary Network (Carling)
Delcan - Transit Technology Choice Report 2009 - Figure 3 Secondary Network Carling purple
Secondary network (at-grade surface rail) in purple.

This is the last piece of the puzzle, which is that in addition to possibly running surface rail through the greenbelt or in the suburbs, they also envisioned running a secondary transit surface rail line along Carling.

Conclusion

The challenge in 2020 is that we ended up making different decisions than foreseen in 2009.  We’ve decided on a completely grade-separated network (which is the correct decision).

Core network – We built Tunney’s Pasture to Blair Station in Stage 1.  We will build Baseline to Tunney’s Pasture in Stage 2.

Extended network – Eastbound we are building Blair to Trim in Stage 2, but not Blair to Millennium.  Southbound we are building Line 2 to Riverside South and the Airport Link in Stage 2.  Westbound we are building as far as Moodie in Stage 2.  Only in the proposal stages are the full westbound extension to Kanata, and the full extension to Barrhaven, both in Stage 3.

Secondary network – There are zero plans on the books for a Secondary Network (surface rail at grade) on Carling.

So we procured for a mixed grade-separated and at-grade system, but that’s not what we’re building.  By the time, if ever, that we do put in surface rail, it will be time to select different vehicles anyway.

Avatar The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender is an animated TV series that aired in three seasons from 2005 to 2008.  Each season is titled as a book – Book 1: Water, Book 2: Earth, Book 3: Fire – with individual episodes as chapters.  There are 61 episodes in total.

It is very well done.  The world-building, the characters, the writing, the animation and the voice actors all work together to make a great story.  It is self-aware without being too self-aware.  Sincere, thoughtful and heartfelt but also with a great sense of humour.

The episodic and travel-quest nature of the story open up the possibilities of many different tales, and the show takes advantage of this freedom within the larger narrative arc.

It also does some clever things to subvert expectations.

It is amazing what they accomplished particularly considering they have about 22 minutes to tell each episode of the story.

It has fully-realised characters, with their own personalities and motivations.  General Iroh is a really interesting character, warm-hearted and strong, and gets an appropriately powerful Tale of Iroh in the anthology episode 2×15 The Tales of Ba Sing Se.

To the extent that it ever hit a false note, it is more in playful experimentation, in the teen episode 3×05 The Beach.

For me the play-within-a-play episode 3×17 The Ember Island Players didn’t work, but what they’re trying to do is both necessary and complex.  The purpose of the episode, as they come near the end of their story, is to give dedicated fans a reminder that this is in fact just a story, to give them a chance to get a bit of distance as the end of the three season arc approaches.  It’s a very hard balance to strike, because the play-within-a-play has to be self-reflective but also entertaining.  It’s made particularly hard because the show is already self-aware, so it’s hard to have an extra layer of awareness on top of that.  In animation, I thought Reboot did it well, revisiting their adventure as a musical, but they only spent five minutes on it, not an entire episode (in the last episode of Reboot season 3, “End Prog”).

Stargate SG-1 did play-within-a-play fairly successfully in 5×12 – Wormhole X-Treme!, and much less successfully in some other episodes.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is available on iTunes as three separate seasons, or as a single omnibus.  The downside to the omnibus is that it doesn’t separate out the episodes by book, it just lists them 1 through 61.

SIDEBAR: There are some issues with the iTunes versions and the Apple TV application.  The iTunes versions don’t do a good job of smoothing over the commercial breaks.  The screen just suddenly goes black, for a noticeable amount of time.  And the Apple TV application doesn’t have any concept of skipping intro and recap, which is not great because the first minute and a quarter or so of every episode is intro and recap.  Also the beginning of season 3 had some distracting digital artifacts, turning smooth animation into digital jaggedness.  END SIDEBAR

If you’re wondering why Katara is wearing a green Earth Kingdom dress at the end of 3×21, it’s because she (and the rest of Team Avatar) were about to attend an event hosted by Earth King Kuei. This only becomes clear in the first graphic novel, The Promise.

Books

There are five accompanying graphic novels, but they don’t retell the story, they extend it.  They’re basically an additional season of the show, added from 2012 to 2017.  Just as the TV series was about the events leading up to a battle to end a war, the books are about what happens as they try to put the world back together after the war.  The books are all by a single creative team, so they are unified in the storyline and style.  Each book of the graphic novels is available in three parts, or collected into a single omnibus edition.  The ending of the last book, North and South, is basically a second ending of the Avatar story arc.

  • The Promise – 2012 – hardcover “library edition” February 2013 – ISBN 978-1616550745 (hardcover no longer available) / paperback omnibus June 30, 2020 – ISBN 978-1506717845
  • The Search – 2013 – hardcover library edition February 2014 – ISBN 978-1616552268 (hardcover no longer available) / paperback omnibus October 27, 2020 – ISBN 978-1506721729
  • The Rift – 2014 – hardcover library edition February 2015 – ISBN 978-1616555504 (hardcover edition probably no longer available) / paperback omnibus February 23, 2021 – ISBN 978-1506721712
  • Smoke and Shadow – 2015-2016 – hardcover library edition October 2016 – ISBN 978-1506700137 (hardcover no longer available) / paperback omnibus not yet announced
  • North and South – 2016-2017 – hardcover library edition November 2017 – ISBN 978-1506701950 (hardcover still available at the time of this writing) / paperback omnibus not yet announced

If you want the sense of staying within the Avatar storyline, you really want to end with North and South.

SIDEBAR: Side stories – The Lost Adventures is set during the main run of seasons 1 through 3. Team Avatar Tales is set during and after this period.  Both Adventures and Tales have a wide variety of styles, some different from the regular Airbender style.  Katara and the Pirate’s Silver, with a title that sets it apart from most of the stories, is set during season 2. I would say you would have to be pretty superfan to read these. They are not part of the main storyline. END SIDEBAR

Beyond that there are new graphic novels but with a different creative team and a different focus.  The tale of the airbender is over.  The transition to the next story begins.

Bridge Book

Imbalance is basically a bridge book between Airbender and Korra.  It is scripted by Faith Erin Hicks, unlike the five main graphic novels.  It is available as three separate parts, or as a single omnibus edition.

  • Imbalance – 2018-2019 – hardcover library edition June 16, 2020 – ISBN 978-1506708126 (hardcover doesn’t seem to be available for purchase anywhere at the time of this writing)

The Legend of Korra

The sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender was The Legend of Korra.  It ran from 2012 to 2014.  It’s set 70 years after The Last Airbender; it’s a completely different storyline with different characters.  I haven’t watched all of it.  It also has accompanying graphic novels.

Books

There are currently two Legend of Korra graphic novels, again making an additional season of the show in book form.

  • Turf Wars – 2017-2018 – hardcover library edition March 26, 2019 – ISBN 978-1506702025 (hardcover edition no longer available)
  • Ruins of the Empire – 2019-2020 – hardcover library edition September 22, 2020 – ISBN 978-1506708935

I would say basically they did an amazing thing with The Last Airbender and accompanying graphic novels.  And that is always hard to follow up in a sequel.

Ottawa Line 1 LRT route comparisons

These are rough map route comparisons, at 10km scale from Google Maps, of Ottawa’s core transit Line 1 running the Citadis Spirit, with other jurisdictions that run the only comparable train, the Citadis Dualis.

Basically you can see the other cities are doing edge routes (suburban commuter routes).  Nantes and Lyon are basically running commuter trains to smaller communities.  Both of the Paris trams are outside the Boulevard Périphérique, the ring road that defines the traditional core of Paris.

As Ottawa’s Stage 2 is not running yet, don’t use the Ottawa transit times end-to-end as a comparison with other cities.  All of the map route in blue is currently run by buses.

Ottawa – Line 1 Stage 1 (in red) and Stage 2 (roughly, in blue)

Ottawa Line 1 LRT Stage 1 and approximate Stage 2

Tram-train de Nantes à Châteaubriant (in blue) – 1h 7min station to station

Tram-train de Nantes à Châteaubriant

Tram-train de Nantes à Clisson (in blue) – 29 min station to station

Tram-train de Nantes à Clisson

Tram-train de l’Ouest lyonnais (in blue) – 25 min station to station

Tram-train de l'Ouest lyonnais

Ligne 4 du tramway d’Île-de-France – Bondy to Arboretum (in yellow) – 29 min station to station

Ligne 4 du tramway d'Île-de-France

Ligne 11 Express du tramway d’Île-de-France (in black) – 14 min station to station

Ligne 11 Express du tramway d'Île-de-France
For more information, see previous blog posts Ottawa Line 1 LRT train passenger number comparisons and Citadis Dualis and Citadis Spirit tram-train.

Ottawa Line 1 LRT train passenger number comparisons

Ottawa’s Citadis Spirit is not being used the same way as comparable vehicles.  Ottawa’s Line 1 LRT, at the core of our transit network, is supposed to carry over a hundred thousand passengers per day, millions of passengers per month, tens of millions per year.

For direct comparisons, there are none, as no other city yet uses the Spirit.

Ottawa Citizen – October 20, 2019 – ‘A significant milestone’: LRT network hits 3 million rides

Ottawa’s Confederation LRT line has surpassed three million individual rides after just over one month in service, according the city’s general manager of transportation.

Ottawa’s Line 1 Citadis Spirit train is based on the Citadis Dualis tram-train, which is used in only three cities: Nantes, Lyon and Paris.  The Dualis is used as a lower tier lower-volume commuter transit system, not as a primary transit system.  What do I mean by this?

Almost every use of the Dualis carries fewer passengers per year than Ottawa’s Line 1 LRT was intended to carry per month.

Nantes-Châteaubriant (723,700 passengers in 2018) and Nantes-Clisson (664,851 passengers in 2016) both carry fewer passengers per year than Ottawa’s Line 1 is supposed to carry in a month.

Lyon-Brignais passenger numbers were hard to find, but according to Wikipedia the train carries about 8000 passengers per day.  This means that it also carries fewer passengers per year than Ottawa’s Line 1 LRT is supposed to carry in a month.

Both of the Paris trams are outside the Boulevard Périphérique, the ring road that defines the traditional core of Paris.

Paris tram T4 (which uses a mix of Siemens S70 Avanto vehicles and Citadis Dualis vehicles) carried 8 million passengers in 2018, with a drop to 3 million passengers in 2019.  Paris tram T11 Express had 5 million in 2018 and 6 million in 2019.  So you can do the math – at best the T4 and T11 Express each carry in a year what Ottawa carries in roughly two months.

If you want to see maps of how the different routes compare, see my next blog post Ottawa Line 1 LRT route comparisons.

Switching back to the Citadis Spirit, and looking at projected use, even Toronto’s Finch West LRT is only supposed to move 46,000 passengers per weekday, less than half the volume of Ottawa’s Line 1 LRT.

See my previous blog post Citadis Dualis and Citadis Spirit tram-train for a lot more comparison information.

Data Sources

Citadis Dualis and Citadis Spirit tram-train

to create the Spirit, [Alstom] had adapted the Citadis Dualis vehicle, then in service in Nantes and Lyons. He said changes had been made to the propulsion system in order to accommodate different braking and acceleration “parameters.” Crucially, the vehicle’s systems had been “winterized” to accommodate temperatures as low as -40 C. … “This is not a huge redesign” – Ottawa Citizen – March 2020 – Inside the slow-rolling disaster of Ottawa’s $9-billion LRT project – above information based on a 2013 International Railway Journal article

So Ottawa has the Citadis Spirit vehicle, which is based on the Citadis Dualis tram-train.

Proposed Actions

So what can we do now?  I suggest the following, and given the issues with secrecy and lack of information related to current project, I would encourage that all information sharing and any decisions made should be public, open and transparent.

  1. The City of Ottawa should partner with all cities that currently use or are planning to use the Citadis Spirit or the Citadis Dualis.  These are the most closely related train models.  This may sound daunting but it’s pretty simple since the total number of cities is three for the Spirit (Ottawa, Toronto and possibly Cali) and three for the Dualis (Nantes, Lyon and Paris), for a total of six.  We should use this partnership to pool expertise about maintaining and running the Spirit and Dualis (keeping in mind we are using these trains in different ways, with different passenger volumes).  This should include conversations in all cities not just with maintenance employees and managers, but with train drivers and passengers.
  2. The City of Ottawa should partner with Gatineau (who are planning to get a tram) to see if it is possible to test train models other than the Citadis Spirit on Ottawa’s tracks.  In particular it would be very interesting to see if a Citadis 405 tram, or some sort of winterized version of the 405, is more reliable than the Spirit.
  3. Could OC Transpo eventually run a mix of Spirit and 405 trams on Ottawa’s tracks when we get to Stage 3?  Would it introduce more maintenance and operations problems to have two different kinds of trains?  (Keeping in mind we’re already going to be running two different kinds of diesel trains on Line 2, the Trillium Line.)

I know this post arrives in an environment where people are already stressed by Ottawa transit and the many ways in which so many parts of the transit system are having problems, from switches to in-station arrival displays and many more.  There are many complex factors involved with Ottawa’s Line 1 issues; there isn’t any one single cause of the problems.

I recognize that it will be easy to characterize this post as “Ottawa bought a lemon”, which is not the intent.

The City of Ottawa has bought 34+38 = 72 Citadis Spirit tram-trains, and our stations are all designed for low-floor vehicles.  We can’t switch now to high-floor metro cars.  (For some discussion of low-floor vs. high floor vehicles see a previous blog post.)  And we can’t replace 72 trains with new vehicles.

If you want to skip ahead to the problems reported with the Dualis, the section is
History of Technical Issues, however almost all of the articles are in French.

Summary

The Citadis Spirit (used only in Ottawa to date) is based on the Citadis Dualis tram-train.  There are only approximately 100 Citadis Dualis trains, used in three cities in France (Nantes, Lyon and Paris). There are news reports (in French) of the Citadis Dualis having problems in all three cities.

The initial use of the Dualis was for rural/suburban commuter rail.  Nantes and Lyon rural/suburban lines using the Dualis carry fewer passengers per day than Ottawa carries per hour at rush hour.1

In Paris, the Dualis is used in the T4 tram line (along with the Siemens S70 Avanto tram) and the T11 Express tram line. Both lines are unusual in that they are run by the national rail company, SNCF, rather than the Paris transit organisation, RATP.  They are also the lowest passenger volume Paris tram lines, sometimes by a wide margin (e.g. in 2018 the T1 line carried over eight times the passengers of the T4, and over ten times the passengers of the T11 Express).

Both of the Paris trams that use the Dualis are outside the Boulevard Périphérique, the ring road that defines the traditional core of Paris.

The T4 and the T11 Express lines also carry dramatically fewer passengers than Ottawa’s LRT Line 1 was projected to carry; the T4 carried as many passengers in all of 2019 as Ottawa’s Line 1 carried in a month and an entire year of T11 Express passengers in 2019 would only be two months of Ottawa Line 1 passenger volume.

Also, the T11 Express is the second worst tram line for reliability.  (The T4 line is the worst, but the data are from before the Spirit was added to the line in September 2019.)2

There is at present no other use of either the Dualis or the Spirit anywhere in the world.

Wikipedia reports 24 Dualis trains for Nantes, 24 for Lyon, 15 for the T4 and 15 for the T11 Express.

Two additional tram-train lines using the Citadis Dualis are planned for Paris:

In terms of the Citadis Spirit, the next city will be Toronto, with trains on the Finch West line (estimated to be ready in 2023) and trains on the Hurontario line (estimated to be ready in 2024).3

The only other potential customer that I am aware of is Cali, a city of over two million people in Columbia, which is planning for Citadis Spirits for two suburban commuter lines, starting in 2025.4

So basically, we should partner with Nantes, Lyon, Paris, Toronto and Cali.

And I mean seriously partner, with a coordination office and a kickoff public conference hosted by Ottawa.

Details

The Citadis Dualis is a tram-train (hence the “dual” moniker) announced by Alstom in 2007.

its tram build enabling it to run through the city, while its performance as a train allows it to transport passengers at 100km/h once on the outskirts of town
– Alstom – 25 April 2007 – Alstom to deliver 31 trainsets of its new Citadis Dualis model to SNCF / Alstom va livrer à la SNCF 31 rames de son nouveau Citadis Dualis

If you’re unfamiliar with the terminology, a tram / streetcar / trolley is a surface rail system that runs in the shared street space of a city.  In the US and Canada they’re often sharing the street with cars.  Toronto still has streetcars.  Ottawa’s last streetcar ran in 1959.  Trams, like buses, typically have stops at the edge of the sidewalk.  A tram-train is a tram that can switch from being a surface rail tram in a city centre, to running on a suburban “main” railway line (including the ability to switch between lower voltage overhead lines to higher voltage lines).  The Citadis Dualis is a tram-train, although it appears it is mostly used as either a tram or a train, not usually switching from one to the other on a route.

When the very first Dualis vehicle was presented in Nantes in 2010, SNCF described the tram-train (PDF, Internet Archive) as follows:

Avec le Tram – Train, la SNCF propose une solution de mobilité nouvelle pour répondre à un besoin croissant des Collectivités de développer les transports en commun du centre vers la périphérie. A la fois tramway et train, il pénètre au cœur des villes à la manière d’un tramway et circule sur le réseau ferré régional.

The Citadis Spirit is basically a winterized, North American version of the Dualis.  The Spirit was announced in 2013.  Ottawa uses it solely as a train: LRT Line 1 is completely grade-separated (it is always separated from car traffic; it never intersects with any streets, always going either over or under them).

Alstoms Citadis-Dualis tram-train with a configuration similar to that of Ottawa has been operating for nearly two years in the Nantes suburbs and more recently in the city of Lyon at a speed of up to 100 km/h.
– Alstom – 13 February 2013 – Alstom to provide 34 light rail vehicles and maintenance services for Ottawa

With a similar configuration to Citadis Dualis tram-trains used in the French cities of Nantes and Lyon, the version of the Citadis Spirit for Ottawa will be a 100% low-floor LRV with a top speed of 100 km/h and space for bicycles. It will be equipped to operate in ‘extreme’ winter conditions.
– Railway Gazette – 14 February 2013 – Alstom launches North American light rail vehicle with Ottawa contract (presumably based on Alstom PR)

La configuration du Citadis Spirit est similaire à celle du Citadis-Dualis qui circule depuis près de deux ans dans la Région pays de Loire à Nantes et plus récemment dans la Région Rhône Alpes à Lyon
– Alstom – 15 mars 2013 – Spirit, le tram-train choisi par la ville d’Ottawa au Canada

the Confederation Line will be more like a light metro with underground stations in the city centre, 100-second headways and CBTC train control. Citadis Spirit is based on Alstom’s Dualis tram-train but will be adapted to meet North American requirements such as load levelling for step-free boarding at stations, and changes to the propulsion system to adhere to braking and acceleration parameters.

It will also be winterised to cope with temperatures as low as -40°C. “This is not a huge redesign” – International Railway Journal – 25 September 2013 – Canada and USA are poles apart on transit funding

In Europe, more than 200 Alstom tram-trains (Citadis Dualis and Regio Citadis) have already been sold and have travelled more than 50 million kilometres. This Alstom technology is also being exported with the Citadis Spirit, adapted to the North American market and adopted by the cities of Ottawa and Toronto in Canada in 2013 and 2017.
– Alstom – 14 December 2019 – Alstom’s Citadis Dualis tram-trains begin commercial service on the Tram 4 extension between Clichy and Montfermeil

It’s important to understand the Citadis tram product line is not the same as the Citadis tram-train product line.  The Dualis and Spirit tram-trains are very much a niche within Alstom’s much larger (20 times larger) tram business.  The Dualis has only been deployed in 3 cities.  The Spirit in one.

So it’s very misleading when news reports jumble the much larger tram business together with the niche tram-train business.

So the question to ask is not “How reliable is the Citadis?”.  The question to ask is “How reliable is the Citadis Dualis?” as that’s the closest to Ottawa’s Spirit.  And the answer, available pretty much exclusively in French, is that there are news reports of reliability issues.

If you want to skip ahead to the problems reported with the Dualis, the section is
History of Technical Issues, however almost all of the articles are in French.

Why did we choose Light Rail instead of a Metro?

You can read Ottawa 2009 Rail System Selection to get the details of why Ottawa City Council chose a low-floor LRT rather than a high-floor metro.  The summary is that they thought we would have a very mixed system, with a high-passenger-volume grade-separated core and a low-passenger-volume at-grade surface rail extended network running through the Greenbelt into the suburbs.  They wanted to use the same technology throughout, so they choose low-floor light rail.

Here’s some info from a question in the FAQ on the original Ottawa Light Rail website.

Q: What is the difference between LRT and Light Metro?

A: The principle difference between LRT and Light Metro is that Light Metro requires a fully segregated system, while LRT can function on both segregated track and track run on roadways shared with other vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This added flexibility to LRT is well suited to Ottawa’s need for a system that can accommodate both high volume in the core and significantly lower volume further out.

from Ottawa Light Rail » FAQ » What is the difference between LRT and Light Metro? (Internet Archive, May 12, 2011)

Why did we choose the Citadis Spirit?

The short answer is I don’t know.  You’d have to ask the people who wrote the specifications and procured it.  You’d also have to look at exactly what other vehicle options were available at the time of procurement.

I could speculate that they wanted the high speed (100km/h) to cross the Greenbelt, and that the distances that the LRT will traverse made it look like an urban-suburban tram-train model.  They may not have known early enough that LRT Line 1 would be completely grade-separated.  And there may have been some thought they we might actually use it as an actual surface rail tram eventually e.g. on Carling.  They also may not have understood how high the transit passenger peak demand was during Ottawa’s weekday rush hours (before the era where many people were required to work from home).

One would hope they understood the Citadis Spirit was a new niche model of a train that was based on an already niche model (Dualis) in very limited use in France.  And that they realised the Dualis only started service in 2011.  And that they knew the Dualis was being used as a low volume suburban commuter train, not an urban core transit system.  One would hope.

Choosing the Spirit should have been flagged as a high risk given that the Spirit would be deployed in a fully-operating, high volume existing transit system, not as a brand new low volume transit system that would slowly grow.

In any case, there is zero chance of revisiting low-floor trams versus high-floor metro now.  To change to high-floor metro we’d have to rebuild literally every single station.

In theory we could use a different model of low-floor vehicle though, if it is compatible with all the other technology we’re using, including the signalling and control systems.

Why do we use two Citadis Spirit trains stuck together?

The two trains together (which is train terminology is called a consist) have become our standard vehicle.  You’d have to ask OC Transpo for the full answer, but my understanding is the plan was that they would run single trains during low volume periods such as weekends, but the overhead (and associated component failure risk) of coupling and decoupling the trains wasn’t worth it.

A second question would be, now that we’ve decided to have double trains, why don’t we just buy (or create) one long train?  And the answer as far as I know is basically that Alstom doesn’t make or support a model of the Spirit that is that long.  We use two 48m trains with 300 passenger capacity coupled together, making a single 96m train (a consist) with 600 passenger capacity.  The longest Spirit configuration Alstom has described online is a 50m train with 370 passenger capacity.

It is unfortunate that the coupled design we’re using to get the desired capacity means that a big chunk in the middle of our consist is two complete unused train cabs.

UPDATE 2020-08-02: A good question is whether any of the cities using the Dualis run it coupled.  I haven’t researched it, but it seems from Google Images that some do.  It looks like Nantes-Clisson and maybe the Tram T11 Express both use coupled trains.  END UPDATE

Passenger Volumes and Usage

Nantes and Lyon Passengers

The initial deployment of the Dualis was as a commuter train, with much lower passenger volumes than in Ottawa.  The Dualis was used for what the French call small lines – “petites lignes“; low-passenger-volume lines running from a city to a small town or village (these types of lines have been pretty much closed in Canada for decades).

  • Nantes
    • Nantes – Châteaubriant: 8 trips per day (in 2020); 3,650 passengers per day (in 2015); 721,000 passengers per year (in 2017) – duration 1 hour 7 minutes for 64 km
    • Nantes – Clisson: 19 trips per day (in 2016); 458,175 passengers per year (in 2015?) – this line runs a mix of direct express trains and tram-trains – Monday through Thursday 19 tram-train trips, and Friday 23 tram-train trips
  • Lyon (Tram-train de l’Ouest lyonnais, Lyon – Brignais) ~8000 per day (« le trafic est d’environ 8 000 voyageurs par jour en 2017 », according to Wikipedia)

It’s hard to get a lot of detail about the actual Lyon line usage.  If you want 152 pages of a Master’s thesis on the background of the Lyon line though, you can read:

Éric Fauconnet. Mise en œuvre de l’offre de service tram-train de l’Ouest Lyonnais. Enjeux pour la SNCF et défis organisationnels. Gestion et management. 2012. (PDF) HAL Id: dumas-01896797  https://dumas.ccsd.cnrs.fr/dumas-01896797 (landing page)

Note: Nantes – Châteaubriant daily trips from Tram-train Châteaubriant-Nantes and verified against TER train booking schedule online – Horaires & Trafic – Nantes (Toutes gares) à Châteaubriant Tram Train.  Clisson tram-train (“TT”) trips were from Horaires Ligne T2 Nantes – Vertou – Clisson (PDF link no longer available).

Nantes’ population is 309,346.  Châteaubriant’s population is 11,974.  Clisson’s population is 7,187.

So basically Ottawa has a niche train that is currently unique in the world, based on a niche train (approximately 100 vehicles) used in three cities in France.

What do I mean by much lower passenger volumes?  Nantes and Lyon trains carry fewer passengers per year than Ottawa Line 1 LRT is intended to carry in a month.

For more detail on passenger numbers, see next blog post Ottawa Line 1 LRT train passenger number comparisons, and for more detail on how the maps of the routes compare, see Ottawa Line 1 LRT route comparisons.

In retrospect, we might have been better with a winterized Citadis X05 tram, e.g. a Citadis 405, rather than a tram-train.  Presumably the Spirit was chosen in part because it can go 100km/h versus the 80km/h max of the 405.  But the 405 is a much more mature technology.  (That being said, I don’t know if a winterized 405 exists, but presumably the 405 could be modified in the same way that the Dualis was modified.  What we would lose in the theoretical reduction in max speed we might gain back in reliability.)

(If someone has a detailed technical comparison of the Dualis versus the Spirit, and the Spirit versus the 405, I would be happy to add more information to this post.)

Is a tram-train a tram?

Alstom has two product lines in this area, very clearly separated.  Here’s their own categorization from their Rolling Stock Solutions:

This is two different kinds of vehicles under one brand umbrella, which makes it confusing to distinguish between them.  But notice how they are described separately.  They have different histories, with different numbers of trains deployed.  The purpose of the tram-train is to go faster than the tram, to serve suburban commute distances, while also being able continue on into cities that have existing tram lines in their cores.

Here’s what Alstom says about the Citadis Dualis tram-train:

Designed to bridge city center and its suburb, Citadis Dualis is able to penetrate the city core as a tram and travel along regional railway tracks, thanks to special features involving power, safety and comfort.
– Alstom PR – 7 December 2012 – Alstoms Citadis Dualis tram-train now in service on Western Lyons second line

So let’s compare the two offerings.

Citadis trams

  • Current generation: 5th generation (X05 series, e.g. Citadis 405)
  • First launched: 1999 AD?
  • Type of vehicle: tram (travels on urban streets, sometimes with fully or partially dedicated lanes)
  • Maximum speed (5th generation): 80km/h
  • Number of trains: over 2000 in service
  • Number of cities: over 50

Citadis tram-trains

  • Current generation: effectively the first generation (Citadis Dualis and Citadis Spirit)
  • First launched: first train shown in Nantes in December 2010?
  • Type of vehicle: tram-train (suburban train in Nantes and Lyon, tram in Paris)
  • Maximum speed: 100km/h
  • Number of trains ordered: ~100
  • Number of cities: 3 (Dualis), 1 (Spirit)
  • Future cities: +2 (Spirit in Toronto and possibly Cali, Columbia)

Comparison

  • tram has been around a decade longer than tram-train
  • tram has ~20 times the number of vehicles compared to tram-train
  • tram has ~10 times the number of cities compared to tram-train

Report after report, including from both Ottawa and Toronto, characterizes the Spirit as part of the larger Citadis family.  But without a component-by-component technical comparison, there’s no way to know if this is meaningfully true.  Given that there are many more trams deployed than tram-trains, with many fewer reports of problems for trams that I’m aware of, it seems like they are not comparable technologies.

Here is how the Spirit gets framed as part of the larger deployment of Citadis trams, even though it is not a tram:

Ottawa

Used in 40 cities around the world, the Alstom Citadis currently moves more than 2 million travellers per day. / Chaque jour, ce véhicule transporte plus de deux millions de passagers dans 40 villes dans le monde. – Ottawa Confederation Line – Vehicle (Internet Archive) / Ligne de la Confédération – Véhicules (Internet Archive)

Toronto

Over 2,300 Citadis vehicles sold to 55 cities around the world, the Alstom LRV can handle the toughest winter and hottest summer. / Avec plus de 2300 véhicules Citadis vendus dans 55 villes dans le monde, le VLR d’Alstom résiste aux hivers les plus rudes et aux étés les plus chauds. – Metrolinx – Citadis Spirit Light Rail Vehicle / Metrolinx – Le véhicule léger sur rail Alstom Citidis Spirit 

I’m not going to claim every government website and news report has space to go into technical detail about how one vehicle compares to others, but nevertheless, instead of the broad statements from Ottawa and Toronto above I would go with something more like “the Citadis Spirit, based on a deployment of approximately 100 Citadis Dualis trains used in three cities in France”.

This business of “used in more than 50 cities around the world” – it’s not just a nuance.  Those 50 cities are using Citadis trams.  It makes it sound like we must be an outlier if everyone else can run these vehicles.  How do those over 50 cities manage?  They manage because they’re using different vehicles with a much longer history of development, operations and maintenance.  Citadis series trams are not Dualis or Spirit tram-trains.

More than 2,300 Citadis range cars sold to 50 cities, including Barcelona, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, Dubai and Ottawa. – Toronto Star – How do Toronto’s light rail vehicles compare? It’s Bombardier versus Alstom

This just seems a mismatched comparison to me.  To make an inexact analogy, if you’re writing about Brand X sedan cars, do you talk about the fact that a million Brand X trucks have been sold?  Just because they have the same brand name in front of them doesn’t make them the same vehicle.

Images

Citadis Spirit (Ottawa LRT Line 1)
OC Transpo O Train LRV 1107
Youngjin / CC BY-SA

Citadis Dualis (Paris Tramway T4)
Citadis Dualis Arboretum Tramway T4 2019 02
Idris2000 / CC BY-SA
You can be sure the above vehicle is a tram-train because if you look very closely, it says TT 407 on the end.  All the SNCF tram-trains have TT numbers.

History of Technical Issues

Nantes

Nantes – Châteaubriant

Including many issues caused by frost (givre) on the overhead catenary power line.  SNCF came up with a catenary heater in 2019 to address frost problems, but apparently they didn’t install them on enough of the line, as they’re still having the problem in 2020.

NOTE: The Nantes-Châteaubriant catenary is at 750 volts. Ottawa’s is at 1500V.  At higher voltages frost on the catenary is less likely.

2015

« Le temps perdu ne se rattrape pas »
la ligne a, l’automne et l’hiver 2014, été polluée par des problèmes techniques, informatiques et organisationnels à répétion et des supressions de trains par paquets.
– ouest france – 25 novembre 2015 – Tram-train Nantes – Châteaubriant : la fréquentation en hausse

2017

Ras-le-bol des retards et dysfonctionnements dans la circulation des tram-trains sur la ligne Nantes-Châteaubriant : le vice-président du Conseil Régional Roch Brancour se fâche contre la SNCF et suspend un versement de huit millions d’euros. Ce vendredi, le gel a de nouveau provoqué des retards.
– Info France Bleu – 1 décembre 2017 – Problèmes sur le tram-train Nantes-Châteaubriant : la Région tape la SNCF au portefeuille

Par ailleurs, le courant utilisé sur la ligne est d’une tension similaire à celle employée en zones urbaines, soit du 750 volts. « Avec des lignes sous cette tension, le givre peut se former, ce qui n’est pas le cas avec du 25 000 volts, généralement utilisé sur des réseaux situés en rase campagne », notait Dominique Gehl, responsable du pôle ingénierie Bretagne – Pays de la Loire de la SNCF, à l’occasion de l’interruption du 1er décembre.
– ouest france – 5 décembre 2017 – Pourquoi, avec le givre, le tram-train entre Nantes et Châteaubriant reste à quai

2018

Comme l’an dernier à la même époque, la ligne de tram-train Nantes-Châteaubriant ne peut circuler ce mercredi matin en raison du givre. Une fine couche de glace s’est déposée sur les caténaires qui fournissent en électricité les trains. Et cela suffit à paralyser le trafic. Du produit anti-gel a été appliqué, sans succès. La circulation n’a repris que vers midi, à la faveur du redoux.
– 20 minutes – 21 novembre 2018 – Nantes-Châteaubriant: Le tram-train bloqué par le givre ce mercredi, les habitués en ont marre

Le scénario du 1er décembre 2017 se répète. Le givre a raison de la circulation des trams-trains entre Nantes et Châteaubriant. « Aucune circulation n’est possible à cause du givre qui s’est déposé sur les caténaires », indique les services de la SNCF.
– ouest france – 21 novembre 2018 – Le givre bloque le tram-train entre Nantes et Châteaubriant

2019

Le recours à un tram-train plutôt qu’à un classique TER avait également été salué comme une innovation pleine de promesses. Cinq ans plus tard, le bilan n’a pourtant rien de fantastique. Certes, la ligne de 64 km a permis à bon nombre d’habitants d’abandonner la voiture pour aller travailler à Nantes. Elle a aussi favorisé le développement urbain de plusieurs communes au nord de la Loire-Atlantique (Nort-sur-Erdre, Sucé, Abbaretz, Issé…). Mais les motifs de déception ne manquent pas.

Pannes trop fréquentes
La fiabilité du tram-train est, elle aussi, pointée du doigt. Retards « fréquents », « absence de trains » pour cause de panne, « gel des caténaires le matin » sont des critiques régulièrement citées par les usagers.

Confort insuffisant pour les longs trajets

Le confort du tram-train est également sujet aux critiques. Aux heures de pointe, certaines rames sont bondées, en raison des problèmes de disponibilité des trains citées précédemment.
– 20 minutes – 4 mars 2019 – Nantes-Châteaubriant: Pourquoi la ligne de tram-train déçoit

un tram-train qui circulait vers le nord du département est tombé en panne …

L’origine de la panne serait liée à un « dysfonctionnement électrique ».
– ouest france – 26 octobre 2019 – Tram-train en panne : 176 passagers doivent regagner la gare en marchant sur les voies

2020

la liaison tram-train entre Nantes et Châteaubriant est momentanément interrompue sur une partie de son tracé.

En cause, la météo de ce lundi matin qui sans être extrême a tout de même provoqué une panne d’alimentation par la présence de givre sur une caténaire, du côté de Doulon.
– france 3 – 6 janvier 2020 – SNCF : la ligne Nantes-Châteaubriant perturbée par le givre

Nantes – Clisson

2013

Un incident technique sérieux sur le TramTrain de l’Ouest Lyonnais le 3 décembre a conduit la SNCF a retirer l’ensemble de ses rames pour une expertise, depuis le service est particulièrement perturbé entre Nantes et Clisson où circulent des matériels identiques
– franceinfo 3 pays de la loire – 6 décembre 2013 – Nantes Clisson : TramTrain, toutes les rames rentrent au garage

Pourquoi sont-ils arrêtés ?
Un incident est survenu mardi 3 décembre, vers 21 h 30, en Rhône-Alpes, sur une rame Citadis-Dualis identique à celles qui roulent entre Nantes et Clisson. Une roue s’est bloquée. Le train, qui quittait une gare, a dû être stoppé et ses quinze passagers évacués : il n’y a pas eu de blessé. La circulation de tous les Citadis-Dualis a été interrompue, le temps de trouver l’origine de la panne et de la solutionner.

« Il n’est pas acceptable qu’un matériel neuf connaisse de telles avaries. L’urgence est aux solutions, mais, ensuite, toutes les responsabilités devront être établies », écrit le président de la Région
– ouest france – 12 décembre 2013 – Nantes-Clisson : le tram-train durablement à l’arrêt ?

Lyon

2013

Après l’incident survenu sur le réseau de l’Ouest Lyonnais (rupture d’essieu et blocage de roue), la SNCF a décidé de suspendre jusqu’à nouvel avis l’exploitation de l’intégralité des trams-trains Dualis d’Alstom.
transportrail canalblog – 14 décembre 2013 – Dualis : c’est plus grave que prévu

2014

La société doit d’ici là faire changer sur le matériel une pièce maîtresse du système de roulement, apparue défectueuse lors des différentes expertises menées après l’incident survenu vers l’Arbresle. «Les rames seront remises en circulation au fur et à mesure que cette pièce aura été changée», indique-t-on chez Alstom, sans détailler le calendrier de reprise.
– 20 minutes – 13 janvier 2014 – Le tram-train reste à quai

Depuis le 05 décembre dernier, les trams-trains de l’ouest lyonnais sont à l’arrêt. En cause : le déraillement d’une rame et le constat d’un défaut technique sur une pièce maîtresse.

Le choix de la SNCF et l’investissement de la Région sur ce matériel innovant font polémique. Pour les syndicats de cheminots, le matériel est inadapté.
– franceinfo 3 – 9 janvier 2014 – Tram-train de l’ouest lyonnais à l’arrêt : une reprise progressive est annoncée

[Suite à un incident technique sur l'Ouest Lyonnais un plan de transport est adapté]© France 3 RA

A 2018 article in Mobilités Magazine summarizes some of the issues and fixes:

  • Changement de boîtes d’essieux
  • blocage intempestif des portes
  • Changement de pantographes

Le nombre de pannes a fini par provoquer une réunion de crise à la Région des Pays de la Loire le 13 avril dernier.

Les équipes du service après-vente d’Alstom et de la SNCF ont, aux dires de la Région des Pays de la Loire, jusqu’à la fin de l’année pour « réduire de la moitié » les incidents sur les trams-trains de la région. Dans le concret, passer de 120 à 60 pannes donnant lieu à un retard de plus de 5 minutes par million de kilomètres (définition du taux d’incidents). Ce qui permettrait à la SNCF de respecter enfin son plan de transport de 35 aller-retours par jour vers Châteaubriant et 23 vers Clisson en rames doubles.

– 25 avril 2018 – Les déboires du tram-train d’Alstom (Internet Archive):

Paris

T11 Express

2017

A cause d’une « avarie de matériel », la toute nouvelle ligne reliant Epinay au Bourget (Seine-Saint-Denis) ne fonctionnera pas jusqu’à lundi.
Le Parisien – 1 septembre 2017 – Le couac : le Tram 11 Express à l’arrêt tout le week-end

Une élue de Seine-Saint-Denis a écrit à la SNCF et à Ile-de-France Mobilités pour s’inquiéter des dysfonctionnements fréquents de la toute nouvelle ligne de tram-train reliant Epinay-sur-Seine au Bourget.

« Je m’inquiète des pannes récurrentes sur la ligne, et de la qualité dégradée du service rendu aux usagers », indique l’élue du canton d’Epinay-Pierrefitte-Villetaneuse, trois communes traversées par la nouvelle ligne. Nadège Abomangoli exprime aussi « de fortes inquiétudes concernant la sécurité des voyageurs ».
Le Parisien – 8 septembre 2017 – Des inquiétudes sur le nouveau T11 Express

Studies and Reports

In 2014, as part of the planning for the T12 Express line (Tram-Train Massy-Évry) in Paris, a report was produced: Le projet de Tram-Train de Massy Evry : enjeux et problématiques du point de vue des représentants du personnel (PDF)

Of note is section III.2.1. Dualis : des problèmes de fiabilité and all sections under III.2 (slides 25 through 29).  Unfortunately the text is all trapped in the PDF format.  Here is my hand transcription of part of slide 25, which may have errors.  Note the phrase “We propose here to revisit the assessments collected from the train conductors [not sure if this is conductors or drivers], which evoke the multiple recurrent malfunctions that are mainly linked to the trains [the equipment].” (my translation)

Les rames tram-train Dualis circulaient déjà dans l’Ouest Lyonnais et sur le réseau TER de Nantes pour la liaison Nantes – Clisson ; elles viennent d’être déployées sur la liaison Nantes-Châteaubriant.

Nous proposons ici de revenir sur les appréciations recueillies par les conducteurs de ces rames qui évoquent de multiples dysfonctionnements récurrents et principalement liés au matériel :

    • des problèmes d’accouplement en UM et de liaison électronique ou informatique en cabine,
    • des avaries lors des changements de bout,
    • des avaries liées à la présence d’humidité en cabine,
    • des dysfonctionnements liés aux portes, [yes, this translates as “malfunctions related to the doors” or simply “door malfunctions”]
    • et plus généralement, des pannes furtives, difficiles à catégoriser et tracer, comme nous l’ont expliqué plusiers agents de conduite : « parfois on n’a même pas le temps de retranscrire les défauts dans le carnet de bord, ils disparaissent et puis après ça revient. C’est déprimant » ; « On nous dit souvent d’attendre avant d’appliquer les procédures, les défauts partent d’eux-mêmes ».

Annexes

Annex 1. Reference Documents

As you can see above, Alstom provides not just the trains, but is subcontracted to provide 30 years of maintenance for them.

SIDEBAR: The Regio-Citadis tram-train pre-dates the Dualis, and is a hybrid (diesel or electric) train, unlike the Dualis and Spirit which are electric only.  END SIDEBAR

Annex 2. Toronto Citadis Spirit

Toronto/Metrolinx likes to use the terminology Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) sometimes.

I can’t tell how many vehicles have been ordered for the Finch West LRT.  I’ve seen 19, 18, and 17.  The FAQ says 18, which means they would have three backups as they’re planning to run 15 vehicles in regular service.  Also, bizarrely, they never say “Spirit” in their documentation.  Always Alstom train/LRV/LRT.

I’m also not clear on the total Metrolinx order.  Up to 46?  61?  62?  Alstom said 61 in 2017.

Alstom – 12 May 2017 – Alstom receives order for 61 Citadis Spirit light rail vehicles for Greater Toronto and Hamilton area / Alstom remporte une commande de 61 véhicules légers sur rail Citadis Spirit pour la région du Grand Toronto et de Hamilton

Alstom will supply Metrolinx a 48-metre Citadis Spirit, which has a passenger capacity of 321.

Metrolinx – Finch West LRT and Finch West LRT Project FAQs (PDF)

  • Expected Completion: 2023
  • trains that will run on a dedicated track (a dedicated lane in the centre of the roadway, separate from regular traffic)
  • will run every 5-7 minutes during peak hours
  • (estimated) 46,000 passengers per weekday
    • estimated that the Finch West LRV will carry approximately 2250 passengers per direction per hour during the peak period by 2031; the capacity of the Finch West LRT is up to 6,300 passengers per hour per direction
  • A total of 15 Light Rail Vehicles (LRV) will be operating during both morning and afternoon peak hours, with 5 minutes in between trains (also known as “5- minute headway”). During off-peak hours, there will be 8 to 10 trains in operation with 7 to 10 minutes between trains.
  • 18 Alstom vehicles will be used for the Finch West LRT
  • The Alstom LRT vehicle is 48 metres in length. The vehicles can carry up to 336 passengers (120 seats + a capacity of 216 people standing).

Metrolinx – Hurontario LRT

  • Expected Completion: fall 2024
  • 292 passengers (according to their Twitter)
  • will run every 7.5 minutes during peak hours (according to their Twitter)

You can see a rendering of the train with Hurontario livery in a 2017 tweet.

In general I found it difficult to find much detail at all about the Hurontario vehicles.  They really need an FAQ.  Seems like it will probably have 44 vehicles available?  Seems like it will operate at-grade but with some kind of partial separation?

If you’re really ambitious you can try reading the 1838 page Hurontario LRT Project Agreement (PDF).

Metrolinx – The Alstom Citadis Spirit Light Rail Vehicle

  • Alstom will build vehicles for the Finch West LRT and Hurontario LRT projects.

Metrolinx – August 2, 2019 – Sophisticated mock-up of a light rail transit vehicle [Citadis Spirit] becomes Ontario festival star

Toronto Star – October 12, 2019 – Metrolinx not concerned about Ottawa LRT issues, despite having order in for the same vehicles by Ben Spurr

Annex 3. Cali Citadis Spirit

Santiago de Cali, Columbia is proposing a commuter train (Tren de Cercanías) service that would use the Citadis Spirit.  Timeline appears to be 2025.

Gobernación del Valle del Cauca – Santiago de Cali, December 12, 2019 – Gobernadora entregará estudios de prefactibilidad avanzada para el tren de cercanías siga su curso / [Request for] advanced prefeasibility studies for the commuter train (modified Google translation)

The above page is the most detailed, with substantial info on the choice of the Citadis Spirit, including the diagram which also shows up at the end of this section in a tweet.

They propose a Citadis Spirit train, which corresponds to one of the systems that can be adapted.

These are the different trains and it was defined at this stage that the most appropriate to the characteristics of the system is the 42-meter long one with 3 wagons, bidirectional so it has a driver’s cabin at both ends, and they will be used according to the direction of the route. (Google Translate)

[Image 3. Length and capacity (at 4 people per square metre) of Alstom Dualis / Citadis Spirit (approximate translation)]

El País – December 12, 2019 – Primer tramo del tren de cercanías en el Valle estaría listo en el 2025 / First section of the commuter train in the Valley would be ready in 2025 (Google Translate)

El País – December 13, 2019 – Los otros datos de los estudios del tren de cercanías que tendría el Valle / The other data from the studies of the Valley commuter train (modified Google translation)

El Pais - Cali - train - infogram - map - large
Infogram map from above article.

Systra presented a pre-feasibility study on May 19, 2020.

City Hall of Santiago de Cali – Entregan proyecto de prefactibilidad del Tren de Cercanías / Suburban train prefeasibility project delivered (Google Translate)

City Hall of Santiago de Cali – Los estudios de prefactibilidad del Sistema Férreo del Sur del Valle avanzan: la tecnología sugerida es un Tren-Tranvía / Prefeasibility studies of the South Valley Rail System advance: the suggested technology is a Train-Tram [tram-train] (Google Translate)

Gobernación del Valle del Cauca – El Tren de Cercanías del Valle superó la fase de prefactibilidad / The Valley Commuter Train passed the prefeasibility phase (Google Translate)

El País – May 19, 2020 – Obras del tren de cercanías en el Valle iniciarían en el primer semestre de 2023 / Works on the commuter train in the Valley would begin in the first half of 2023 (Google Translate)

It should be remembered that the proposal will have two independent rail lines, but that will connect to a central station located on Carrera 7 with Calle 25, in the center of Cali.

While the first line begins in Yumbo, crosses the Valle del Cauca capital and ends in Jamundí with a length of 38.2 kilometers, over which there will be 31 stations, the second line covers the section from the Cali power station to Palmira with a length of 30.5 kilometers on which 16 stations would be located. In addition, there would be two branches that would detach towards the Alfonso Bonilla Aragón Airport and the center of Cali. In other words, the commuter train would have a total of 74.2 kilometers of railroad. (Google Translate)

The Twitter account Cali Projects @ProyectosCali says

In the pre-feasibility studies, a Citadis Spirit train is proposed, this train has 3 variables and for Cali, a 42-meter, 3-car train with a capacity of 346 passengers is being designed with the possibility of linking trains to increase their capacity to almost 700. (Google Translate)

I would note that the above image considers the Dualis and the Spirit basically interchangeably.

There’s also a video in a tweet from February 2020. I can’t embed the video but you can click the “video tweet” link below.

Annex 4. Paris tram reliability

This is about the end of my Spirit rabbit hole, looking at spreadsheets of Paris tram usage and reliability.

You can find the necessary data at Observatoire de la mobilité en Île-de-France (OMNIL) – Chiffres détaillés > Transports en commun en chiffres > Trafic annuel et journalier and Chiffres détaillés > Transports en commun en chiffres > Qualité de service.  Note: none of the quality of service PDF links on the OMNIL website work, use the directory link below instead.  The last PDF files are from June and July of 2019.

It’s basically open data for Paris transit.

All you need to do is pull the graph from the Quality of Service spreadsheet to see that Tram T11 Express (which is entirely Citadis Dualis) is the second worst.  Tram T4 is the worst, but the data are from before the Spirit was added to the line in September 2019.

Paris - OMNIL - Attente sur le réseau tramways - 2019

In terms of passenger volume, basically the takeaway is that the T4 and the T11 Express are the lowest volume lines, in general by a fairly wide margin.

T4 had 8 million passengers in 2018, with a drop to 3 million passengers in 2019, T11 Express had 5 million in 2018 and 6 million in 2019.  This compares with the highest-volume tram line, the T3a with 68 million passengers in 2019.  It’s hard to do exact comparisons because the T11 Express just started in mid-2017, and I don’t know why the T4’s traffic is dramatically lower in 2019.  (From the annual traffic Excel spreadsheet, tab 3 “Voyages annuels Tram et Bus”.)

For comparison, Ottawa’s Line 1 LRT would have been expected to have over 2 million passengers per month outside of vacation periods, or in other words, considerably higher passenger volumes than either of the Paris trams.  It had already hit 3 million passengers a month after its launch date.

Bank Street and Somerset Street West weekend open streets

Somerset Street West from Bank Street to O’Connor Street (Somerset Village) will be open for pedestrians and cyclists and patios:

  • Fridays 5pm to 11pm
  • Saturday & Sunday 12 noon to 11pm

Bank Street from Queen Street to Catherine Street will be open for pedestrians and cyclists and patios:

  • Saturdays from 9am to midnight

The Saturday walking street will remain in place from July 11th – August 8th [2020], at which time we will reevaluate the program to ensure that our businesses and community are well served. – Bank Street B.I.A.

Open Bank Street and Somerset Street
Green line showing Bank Street open from Queen Street to Catherine Street, and Somerset Street West open from Bank Street to O’Connor Street. Map data ©2020 Google.

So I guess it is possible to open streets in the arterial city.

Opening Streets in the Arterial City

This is the city that was

Greber Plan 1945 Population Ottawa-Hull plate_3
1945 Population, Ottawa-Hull and vicinity, from the 1950 Plan for the National Capital (Gréber Plan) – Plate III. Distribution of Population – captioned: “1945 Population, 1 dot represents 20 persons”

And this is the city they made

DSC07529 - edit - crop

Every red line.  Every red line is an arterial highway.  An arterial highway whose wide, high-speed road surface has a status near sacred.  Want cars to go slower?  Sorry that’s not possible, that’s an Arterial.  In the heart of the downtown.  Effectively, once the “Queensway” highway was built (replacing the rail line that had been there), the entire downtown became an on/off ramp for the highway.

Wikipedia – Ontario Highway 417Queensway

Within Ottawa, the Queensway was built as part of a grand plan for the city [the 1950 Gréber Plan] between 1957 and 1966

This 1960s era highway planning was based on many assumptions, but the foremost amongst them was that city cores were blank slates that should be restructured with highways as the primary design element.  Think I’m exaggerating?  Here’s a screenshot from Form, Design and the City (1962):

Form Design and the City

You see all that blank space?  That’s where people actually lived.  But in this worldview, those people don’t exist.

The detour it would take to describe this “urban renewal” planning would be long, but basically the vision was that all the wealthy people would move to the suburbs, and the city core would be nothing but poor people and office towers for the wealthy men who would commute to work every workday.  And the priority would thus obviously be to make the commute as fast as possible for the commuters.  The local residents, as is evident from the image above, basically might as well not exist.

Think this doesn’t apply to Ottawa?  Here’s the great man Gréber himself pointing from the sky at a resident-free Ottawa.

658380-rapport-greber-amenagement-ottawa-menera

This was never a good idea.

By 1988, as William H. Whyte documents extensively with evidence in City: Rediscovering the Center, it was already obvious that this didn’t work and didn’t make any sense.  32 years later, with residential towers rising in city centres all over the world, it is even more evident it doesn’t make any sense.  In 2020, with remote working virtually eliminating the commute for almost anyone who can work with a computer and a telephone, it makes even less sense.

And yet we still prioritize the car commuters, going much much faster than the 30km/h that should apply anywhere downtown, or the 10km/h that should apply for residential streets.  And driving on every street, rather than having some streets reserved exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists.

And this prioritization of car commuters is embedded in decisionmaking which locks in this priority at multiple levels.  Not least of which, wards don’t control their own roads.  Why don’t wards (and their residents) get to control the roads where they live?  Well, no reason from a democratic perspective.  But mostly so that wards don’t get to make roads slower.

The evidence about speeding is abundant.

Excess speed and inappropriate speed are very common

Speed limits provide information to the drivers about the safe speed to travel in average conditions. Exceeding the speed limits is very common. Typically, 40 to 50% of the drivers travel faster than the speed limit. Typically, 10 to 20% exceed the speed limit by more than 10 km/h. In addition, drivers adapt their speed insufficiently to local and temporary conditions related to traffic and weather. They often choose a speed that is inappropriate for the prevailing conditions. Speed choice is related to the drivers’ motives, attitudes, risk perception and risk acceptance. Furthermore, speed choice is affected by characteristics of the road and the road environment and by characteristics of the vehicle.

The above quote is from 11 years ago, from 2009 SafetyNet Speeding (PDF).  If you prefer a more recent version, see European Road Safety Observatory (ERSO) Speed and Speed Management 2018 (PDF).

Or for that matter, read Ottawa’s own 2013 Transportation Master Plan, which says all the right things, not that that seems to make much difference in how some of the staff plans or the majority of Councillors vote.

2013 Transportation Master Plan – Chapter 3 – Create a Supportive Built Environment (PDF)

Section 3.1 Use planning processes to support sustainable choices

  • Action 3-1 Enable walking, cycling and transit through community design plans and development review
  • Action 3-2 Reduce the impacts of surface parking

If you want to know why our actions don’t match our words, I recommend Jeffrey Tumlin speaking on What has prevented Walkable Urbanism, and how to fix our cities and in particular his observation that most cities have great plans that describe a walkable city, but budgets for a car commuter city.

UPDATE 2020-07-10: The problem with this kind of red line vital arteries depiction of the city’s streets is it makes it feel like those arterials are the literal lifeblood of the city, and opening them to other uses would kill the downtown.  In reality it is quite the opposite.  Those red lines are not life.  Those red lines are emptiness and cars and danger.  END UPDATE

Bank Street BIA Street Opening Proposal 2020

The Bank Street BIA has proposed

1/3 Downtown Bank has put together a proposal to close Bank Street (Queen – Flora) to motor vehicles to provide greater access for cyclists and pedestrians. This would take place Saturdays (9am – 11:59pm) from July – September [2020]

2/3 Following feedback that insufficient time to vote was provided, the closure of Bank Street (Queen – Flora) has been postponed for one week to allow for more time for businesses to submit their vote

3/3 The City of Ottawa requires a 2/3 approval from businesses for each block impacted by the closure.
We hope to update everyone on the status of this vote by Wednesday, July 8th. We welcome feedback from our community on social media, or via email at info@bankstreet.ca

If you’re wondering why it requires a 2/3 approval from businesses for each block impacted by the [opening to pedestrians and cyclists], it’s because the Mayor just conjured this requirement up out of thin air, in an unannounced motion that crushed a planned Glebe Bank Street opening.

(One might also ask a larger question of why the BIA members get a larger voice than the actual residents, but anyway.)

UPDATE 2020-07-10: The Bank Street BIA has been successful and thanks to extra work with the city, the street will be opened from Queen Street to Catherine Street.  END UPDATE

geoOttawa beta

geoOttawa is a mapping site from the City of Ottawa that has an incredible wealth of info and overlays about Ottawa.  The main version requires Flash, but Flash technology has basically become obsolete and is disabled on many computers.  The beta works in any browser.

https://maps.ottawa.ca/geoOttawaBeta/

Two items of note are the Ottawa LRT layers, and the aerial layers.

To access the Ottawa LRT layers, select Layer List

geoOttawa beta - Layer List

and then scroll down to (or search for) Rail Implementation Office. There are layers for the completed Stage 1 and the under-construction Stage 2.

geoOttawa beta - Rail Implementation Office

Here’s a view showing Ottawa LRT Line 1 (Confederation Line) Stage 1 with pale green overlay for the Greenbelt (visible to the east).

geoOttawa beta - Ottawa LRT Line 1 Stage 1

Here’s a view adding on to Line 1 Stage 1 (in red) with Line 1 and Line 2 Stage 2 in blue, extending to the east, west and south.  Greenbelt overlay in pale green.

geoOttawa beta - Ottawa LRT Lines 1 and 2 Stage 2

You can see that Line 1 Stage 2 crosses the Greenbelt in the east, and is basically inside the Greenbelt on the west.  Line 2 Stage 2 also crosses the Greenbelt to the south.

Space Battleship Yamato 2199

There have been two anime versions of Space Battleship Yamato.

Star Blazers (released in 1974)

The first in 1974 was called Space Battleship Yamato 宇宙戦艦ヤマト in Japanese and Star Blazers in the US and Canada.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Battleship_Yamato

It was the first Japanese anime of its type to make its way to Canadian television, with a complex multi-part story, each episode following on from the last.  It was light-years beyond the usual American and Canadian animated kids shows that were available.

You can get it e.g. on iTunes as six episodes of about 1.5 hours each.

UPDATE 2020-07-12: For some reason Star Blazers is no longer available in the Canadian iTunes Store.  END UPDATE

Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (released in 2012)

There was a remake in 2012 called Space Battleship Yamato 2199 宇宙戦艦ヤマト2199 or Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Blazers:_Space_Battleship_Yamato_2199

The remake has dramatically higher quality animation and although it starts out almost identically to the original, it begins to diverge episode by episode from the original story.  It is much better from basically every perspective.

You can get it e.g. on iTunes, in two different versions: the Japanese version with subtitles, or a dubbed version.  I’ve only watched the Japanese subtitled one.  Season 1 is split into two parts of 13 episodes each.  You want either Pt. 1 & Pt. 2 (Original Japanese) or the dubbed Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 (they are all separate purchases).

Also, in the Japanese version of the new series at least and I would expect in the dubbed version as well, aspects of the 1974 series that were bowdlerized for the US and Canadian audience, such as Dr. Sakezo Sado’s fondness for drinking sake, are now shown in full.

Space Battleship Yamato 2199 is very good.  I would skip episode 1×07 Farewell to the Solar System as it has a drunken party including Makoto Harada (the chief nurse) in an inappropriate outfit.  All the other episodes are good.

Particularly notable is episode 1×09 Clockwork Prisoner, which I think is the best episode of season 1 and is the first episode where you can really see they are making a very different show than the original.

Space Battleship Yamato 2202 (released in 2017)

Season 2 of the new series is called Space Battleship Yamato 2202: Warriors of Love 宇宙戦艦ヤマト2202 愛の戦士たち. I haven’t watched it.

Books

There are accompanying books that are very confusingly named.

The book of the 1974 series is inexplicably called Space Battleship Yamato: The Classic Collection (it really should be called Star Blazers). ISBN13: 9781626929128.

My review of Space Battleship Yamato: The Classic Collection

This is the black and white graphic novel of the 1974 Space Battleship Yamato animated TV series, called Star Blazers in Canada. It’s basically a version of the TV series although without the edits that were made for Canada. Dr. Sakezo Sado for example is a veterinarian, and drunk a lot of the time. Kodai Susumu (Derek Wildstar) and Shima Daisuke (Mark Venture) look very young (much younger than in the TV series).

The story begins to diverge from the TV series fairly quickly, after Jupiter. Star Blazers (TV series) spends much longer within the Solar System, while the graphic novel has them out in the galaxy much quicker. Once they diverge, there are many events in the graphic novel that don’t show up at all in the 1974 TV series.

The graphic novel zooms through the story. The entire first season takes place in 243 pages. If you’re looking for a detailed retelling of the TV series, you won’t find it here. It’s more like a highly modified and abridged version of the TV show.

There are four books for the 2012 series, all with the title Star Blazers 2199 (they really should be called Space Battleship Yamato 2199).

  • Star Blazers 2199 Omnibus Volume 1.  ISBN13: 9781506712208
  • Star Blazers 2199 Omnibus Volume 2.  ISBN13: 9781506712215
  • Star Blazers 2199 Omnibus Volume 3.  Not yet released.  Estimated date December 28, 2021. Provisional ISBN13: 9781506712222
  • Star Blazers 2199 Omnibus Volume 4.  Not yet released.  Estimated date December 28, 2021.  Provisional ISBN13: 9781506712239