The ceremony was held at the Fairway Station in Kitchener, in the presence of Karen Redman, Chair of the Waterloo Region, as well as representatives of the provincial and federal governments.
This tram is electric and accessible to all. It is designed to reduce noise and improve air quality of the Region. It is a fast, safe public transportation solution for the expected population growth of the Region of Waterloo in the coming years. It will improve mobility for the entire community, providing multiple bus and public facility connections including the University of Waterloo and Grand River Hospital, among others.
This tramway is a concrete answer to the United Nation’s sustainable development objectives, particularly in the fight against climate change, the development of clean and sustainable infrastructure that promotes well-being, quality of life and economic development (UN Sustainable Development Goals 9 and 13).
The ION LRT consists of a new light rail line of approximately 19km which runs from Conestoga Mall in Waterloo to Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener. Meridiam with its GrandLinq partners including Keolis, as the operator, will be in charge of the operation and maintenance of the whole infrastructure. The maintenance of the infrastructure, systems and LRT vehicles will last a period of 30 years, and the operation of the LRT service has been contracted for an initial period of 10 years, which the Region has the option of extending in 5-year increments up to a total of 30 years.
In addition to the ION LRT, Meridiam’s light rail project portfolio also includes the Firenze Tramway, the Nottingham Express Transit with Keolis and Maryland’s Purple Line. Meridiam is developing with Keolis other projects in the field of clean and sustainable mobility, notably in Canada and Dakar, Senegal.
The regular service schedule will begin on Monday, June 24, 2019. Service across the entire system will be free to all through the end of June 2019. The ION Train fleet includes a total of 14 light rail vehicles, each of which can comfortably accommodate 200 people, including, 60 seated passengers and 4 priority seating areas.