Finch West LRT light rail vehicle testing now underway

After successful preliminary tests, will now be moving down the middle of Finch Avenue West on a daily basis, marking a major step forward for the project. Let’s dive deeper into the testing phase.

Testing is ramping up as trains start to cruise along Finch Avenue West.  

This marks the beginning of dynamic testing, a phase in which each light rail vehicles (LRVs) will be tested for 600 km on the “burn-in” section of the track, currently comprised of a 1.8 km stretch between Pelican Gate and Sentinel Road. 

In addition to vehicle movement, crews are actively assessing a wide variety of systems and functions including communications, doors, overhead electrical connectivity and power transfers, as well as seeing how the vehicles perform while accelerating and braking to ensure that future commuters enjoy a smooth and safe ride. 

During this time, LRVs will appear to be operating normally as their doors will be opening and closing, and they will make regular stops.  

This is all part of the testing process. Metrolinx and Mosaic Transit Group are asking people not to enter the tracks and stops, and do not attempt to approach or board an LRV during the testing period. 

First date on Finch West 

Following initial clearance testing on May 20, the test LRVs were back out the following week.  

During these tests, LRVs reached speeds of 40 km/h and will eventually ramp up to 60 km/h.  

The initial test on involved exiting the maintenance and storage facility (MSF) yard, then journeying west down Finch Avenue to Sentinel Road. Once there, the operator switched to the control panel on the opposite end of the train and completed the journey back to the MSF.  

The LRV had a successful first test run, and will now be moving along Finch Avenue West daily. (Metrolinx photo)

During this first test run, the LRV featured an additional safety measure – styrofoam bumpers held on with green tape.  

Although low-tech, these bumpers play a crucial precautionary role, as they validate clearance for the LRV as it travels down the line and passes newly installed equipment such as overhead catenary system poles, cables and signs. 

Testing, testing, testing 

LRVs will be out on Finch Avenue West frequently, and the community will be able to see them running between Pelican Gate and Sentinel Road on a regular basis.  

The overhead catenary system, which provides electricity to the LRVs, is electrified in this section; anyone travelling in the area is urged to use caution and follow safety sign instructions. 

During testing, LRVs obey normal traffic signals. When crossing a street with an LRV at a red light, make eye contact with the operator before crossing in front of it. 

In this test run, the LRVs reached up to 40 km/h. (Metrolinx photo)

Regular testing will continue through 2023, on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  

Please remember, entering the area in the middle of the road with the tracks is prohibited at all times, whether by foot, vehicle, or bicycle. Stay alert and be safe around the new LRVs on Finch Avenue West.  

Story by Alex Iantorno, Metrolinx communications senior advisor