News / Calgary

Calgary councillors dreaming of wireless LRT trains

City looks at preliminary design options for Green Line

Options are being discussed for Green Line designs - including the possibility of having a system with no overhead wires.

Jennifer Friesen / For Metro

Options are being discussed for Green Line designs - including the possibility of having a system with no overhead wires.

Calgary's Transit system could look a lot prettier without all those pesky wires – and with the Green Line on its way, some city councillors are seeing opportunities to test out Catenary-free trains.

In April, the city will begin to look at preliminary design options for LRT systems to install for the Green Line. It's a lengthy process and we're just at the beginning of it – but it presents many options for what the city's transit system could look like in the future.

"That will involve all of them, whether it's battery powered trains, ones without overhead Catenary, whatever," said Russell Davies, fleet manager for Calgary Transit. He wouldn't say what his preferred system is, but noted it's an opportunity to look at something different.

"There are advantages and disadvantages to all the systems, to be honest," Davies said. "Familiarity with what we have is a benefit."

Coun. Shane Keating, chair of the Transportation and Transit committee said the city needs to be building for the future, and the future is wireless.

"We have to move forward in some way, and I'd like to see no wires," said Keating. "I'm not sure if they'll go that route this time, but we certainly should investigate."

But going to new technology has its limits. Keating said the city has to strike a balance and find something reliable – stranding passengers with new technology wouldn't be ideal.

"The technology is out there to have those lines buried," said Coun. Andre Chabot. His dream is a train that pulls into the station, charges up and goes. "The lines are kind of visually not the best option."

To overhaul the whole LRT system would be too costly, but Chabot said he doesn't care if the Green Line, a standalone network, uses these upgraded technologies.

"It's 40 kilometres long, do you know how many trains we're going to need for that?" he said.

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