Ottawa Airport Trains (YOW)

Ottawa International Airport is a large establishment south of downtown Ottawa, handling over four million passengers per annum. It is recognised by its official airport code of YOW, and also by the name of the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, in honour of Sirs John A. Macdonald and George-Etienne Cartier. Ottawa is a focus city for the airline companies of WestJet, Air Canada and Air Canada Express, although the airport is not a hub for any airline carrier. There is no Ottawa International Airport train station, but there are airport buses for connections to the city’s light rail system. An airport train station is, at this point, not part of the plans for the facility’s expansion.

Ottawa Airport is located approximately 10.2km, or 6.3 miles from downtown Ottawa, and is one of the most important airports in the Ontario region, along with Montreal Airport and Toronto Airport. It is rated as the sixth largest airport in Canada, and has also won several awards for its customer services, including the ‘Best North American Airport’ award in 2011. The airport consists of a single terminal building, containing a wide variety of facilities, and from outside the arrival area, a few ground transport options are available. There is a taxi rank and a bus stop, but there is no airport train station. Vancouver International Airport is the only airport in Canada that has direct rail connections for its passengers. All other airports are served by buses, but the main cities of the country, including Ottawa, have light rail transit systems, which provide a convenient and cost effective form of urban transport.

The airport bus for passengers is known as the Route 97, and is operated by OC Transpo, the transport company of Ottawa city. It runs frequently from the airport’s arrival area to downtown Ottawa, providing connections to the light rail transit system of the city, referred to as the O-Train. Bus tickets are available in various combinations, and can be purchased from the Ground Transport Desk on Level 1 of the terminal. The bus is a quick connection to downtown Ottawa as it uses the dedicated Transitway of the city, which cannot be used by other vehicles. This is currently the only airport bus that is available for arriving and departing passengers.

In the city of Ottawa, residents and visitors can travel by way of the O-Train, which is the light rail system available. The O-Train currently runs on a track of eight kilometres, and from the Greenboro Station in the south to the Bayview Transitway station just west of downtown Ottawa. The trains in service are Bombardier Talent BR643 DMU diesel-powered vehicles, with room for 135 passengers seated, and a further 150 passengers standing. The Greenboro Station has park and ride facilities, with space for six hundred vehicles.

Since that the O-Train is the preferred means of transport in the city, it is nearing its capacity, and further extensions to Ottawa’s LRT system is inevitable. There are plans to build a new light rail system from Tunney’s Pasture in the west to Blair Station in the east. The new rail system will also serve the downtown area of Ottawa. It will include a tunnel of 2.5 kilometres, which will be referred to as the Downtown Ottawa Transit Tunnel, with entrances between LeBreton Station and Bronson Avenue, and between Laurier Avenue and Campus Station. The new designs for the tunnel allow it to be built closer to the surface than previously expected, which will improve its accessibility and will not cost as much to implement.

The total O-Train transit system of Ottawa city is expected to reduce fuel consumption by 10 million litres every year, remove over 50% of the OC Transpo buses currently in the downtown core, to save up to fifteen minutes from a typical commuter’s daily travels and will generally make Ottawa a more efficient and attractive city. The new stations on the line will include Tunney’s Pasture Station, Bayview Station, LeBreton Station, Downtown West Station, Downtown East Station, Rideau Station, Campus Station, Lees Station, Hurdman Station, the Train Station, St. Laurent Station, Cyrville Station and Blair Station.

Keep in mind that bus tickets are not accepted on O-Trains, however, transfers can be requested when moving from the O-Train to the bus. Bus tickets cost $1.30, and O-Train tickets cost $2.85. The O-Train tickets are available for purchase from vending machines nearby the entrances of each O-Train station platform. The machines are able to take coins (but not pennies), as well as credit cards, such as Mastercard, Visa and American Express. No change is available from the machines. Passengers will need to keep their ticket as proof of payment for the duration of their journey. All O-Trains are low-floored vehicles, accessible to disabled passengers.

Travellers who need a connection to the main railway services of Canada will need to reach the Ottawa Train Station, located at 200 Temblay Road. The station is nearby to the Queensway (417) road, the Cecil Morrison Park, Eastway Gardens, Coventry Road and the Promenade Vanier. It is a manned station, with WiFi internet connections and various other facilities, including the Panorama Lounge. However, there are no baggage storage facilities available. The ticket counter is open on weekdays from 05:00 to 20:45, on Saturdays from 07:30 to 19:00 and on Sundays from 07:30 to 20:45. Self-service ticket kiosks are also available.

Canada’s trains are operated by VIA Rail Canada, and regular train connections are available between Ottawa and Montreal and Ottawa and Toronto, with stops at a variety of stations en route. On the way to Ottawa, trains stop at the Kingston Train Station. Further details are available at http://www.viarail.ca.

Although there are no Ottawa International Airport trains, passengers will find the buses to the O-Train light rail system very convenient. Taxis are also available for transport to any location in the city, including the Ottawa Train Station.