Edmonton’s Commute Transformed: Valley Line Southeast LRT Hits the Tracks

November 8, 2023
2 mins read
Valley Line Southeast is a new low-floor transit system designed to fit into neighbourhoods.

Edmonton’s new Valley Line Southeast LRT is like a fresh trail through the urban wilderness, connecting the Mill Woods neighbourhood to the heart of downtown. This 13-kilometre track is a new path for commuters, with 11 stops like watering holes along the way. It’s a low-floor system, meaning no steep climbs to board—just a smooth step from platform to train.

Joey Comeau from EllisDon Capital puts it plainly: “This project epitomizes dedication, vision, and collaborative effort and is set to redefine the city’s transportation landscape.” It’s clear this isn’t just a new set of tracks; it’s a new way to move through the city.

Brian Connolly of EllisDon Civil adds, “Together, with our partners, we have delivered an exceptional project that has transformed the landscape in Edmonton.” The trains and stations are designed to fit right into the city’s existing scenery, like a firebreak designed to blend with the forest.

Jody Becker of EllisDon speaks to the team’s commitment: “Our team is deeply committed to delivering world-class transit operations that all Edmontonians can enjoy.” It’s about keeping the service running smoothly, like a well-maintained fire line.

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The LRT is a green machine, part of Edmonton’s plan to cut down on carbon emissions, with Mayor Amarjeet Sohi noting it’s an “affordable and climate-friendly choice.” It’s a new route that’s expected to carry up to 30,000 riders daily, like a fire crew ready to tackle the day’s challenges.

Before dawn on November 4, 2023, the first trains rolled out, marking the end of a long wait. The project, which cost $1.8 billion and was a partnership with TransEd, was supposed to be ready in December 2020. Now, it’s finally up and running, and the city is adjusting to the rhythm of its new transit line.

The LRT starts early, with the first train from the 102 Street stop at 05:15 every morning. The Mill Woods stop sees its first train at 05:00 on weekdays. They keep running until 01:00, like a night watch that’s always on the lookout.

Tickets are simple: the same prices and passes as the rest of Edmonton’s transit system, with Arc cards and tickets available at all stops. It’s about making the ride as easy as picking the right tool for the job.

This LRT was built with the community’s voice. Since 2009, Edmontonians have been part of the conversation, shaping the LRT’s path like a fire crew planning their line of attack.

On opening day, folks like Joshua Stubbard celebrated the first ride, and long-time residents like Joan and Len Huculak looked forward to using the train to visit downtown. It’s a new chapter for the city, with a train that promises to make getting around as straightforward as following a well-marked trail.

For now, trains run every 10 minutes until 9:30 p.m., then every 15 minutes until the end of service. It’s a steady pace, like a controlled burn, ensuring everything runs without a hitch.

The Valley Line Southeast LRT is here, not just as a new set of wheels, but as a promise for a cleaner, more connected Edmonton. It’s a commitment to a future where getting around doesn’t have to mean adding to the smoke. This is Edmonton’s new line through the urban forest, ready for everyone to explore.

Sunita Somvanshi

With over two decades of dedicated service in the state environmental ministry, this seasoned professional has cultivated a discerning perspective on the intricate interplay between environmental considerations and diverse industries. Sunita is armed with a keen eye for pivotal details, her extensive experience uniquely positions her to offer insightful commentary on topics ranging from business sustainability and global trade's environmental impact to fostering partnerships, optimizing freight and transport for ecological efficiency, and delving into the realms of thermal management, logistics, carbon credits, and energy transition. Through her writing, she not only imparts valuable knowledge but also provides a nuanced understanding of how businesses can harmonize with environmental imperatives, making her a crucial voice in the discourse on sustainable practices and the future of industry.

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