Wow — I got to ride the Canada Line today!
We’ve only just recently been able to arrange a tour, so here I am with lots of photo and video to give you a great preview of the line. For example, watch the video above to see the Canada Line train pull into Waterfront Station!
Quick overview: we hopped on and rode south to Richmond-Brighouse. Then we went back up, transferred at Bridgeport to ride to YVR, then went back to Waterfront again. The Canada Line is currently testing its cars on the real schedule, so trains arrived fairly frequently. Today it apparently had a higher than 99% on-time rate, and yesterday it was 99.8%!
Let’s back up a bit so I can show you some of Canada Line’s Waterfront Station. Above is where one of its entrances is located, in the southwest corner of the current Waterfront Station. The other entrance is on Granville Street.
Remember, click all the pictures to see a larger version!
Here’s a panoramic photo of the concourse level of the station, where you buy your tickets. Basically, once you go down the escalator into the station, you reach the concourse level.
Here are the ticket vending machines — they’re slightly different than the ones at our current stations.
Ignore the disappearing guy on the left — here’s a panoramic of Waterfront Station! Our train, which you saw in the first video, arrived on the right hand side of this photo.
Now here’s where the fun begins: Canada Line video! Check out this video of our train heading southbound in the tunnel—it’s so sci-fi.
I have to say the ride is very smooth, and much smoother in comparison to our current SkyTrain line. That’s because the current SkyTrain uses linear induction motors, a form of technology requiring the trains to sit quite low and stay in contact with the rails, generating power and a bit of vibration. The Canada Line trains ride higher and are powered by conventional electric motors, allowing the cars to feel less of the vibration from the tracks.
Oh also, sorry that you can see us in all of the video — it’s dark down there, so the window reflects our tour group in all our safety gear.
Here’s another, longer view of the tunnel, between Yaletown and Olympic Village Stations. This is the deepest part of the Canada Line, 30 metres below the surface, running under False Creek! (The voice talking about the depth of the tunnel in the video is Alan Dever from Canada Line, who gave us the tour.)
Now here’s a video of the tunnel between Olympic Village and Broadway-City Hall Stations. Do you notice how it’s square instead of round now? That’s because cut-and-cover was used to build this part of the tunnel. The part under downtown Vancouver was built by a boring machine tunneling through the ground, which created a round tunnel.
Here’s a video of the curvy tunnel between Broadway-City Hall and Oakridge-41st Avenue Stations. Check out the LED indicator above the front window, showing the next station and the last station!
And here’s the train coming out of the ground, heading away from Langara-49th Station toward Marine Drive Station. It’s a bit freaky! And as you ride the train, you realize just how much of the tunnel is actually underground — basically half our full journey was completely below the surface.
Now we’re approaching Marine Drive Station. It’s so nice to be above ground!
And here we are passing another train as we leave Marine Drive Station.
And finally we reached the terminus at Richmond-Brighouse, as you can see above.
We got out at Richmond-Brighouse to get a feel for the station. I took a photo of the end of the line, which sort of juts out into nowhere. I don’t think you can really do anything too fancy with the end of a train track though :)
Richmond-Brighouse just has a single track, to make less impact on the streetscape below and to save on costs.
Richmond-Brighouse also has an insanely long escalator! Granville Station’s escalator is probably longer but this one is still quite epic.
So, we had to catch another train to go back to Bridgeport Station and switch to the YVR line. That’s how you access the airport if you’re starting in Richmond. Here’s our train pulling into Richmond-Brighouse — it just changes direction and takes you back up to Bridgeport!
While at Bridgeport Station, we saw the ticket vending machines appeared to be online — so one of the tour members plugged in some cash and got a ticket! We’re calling this the very first purchased ticket on the Canada Line. (I’m not sure if they will all be printed like that, which is different from our current ticket machines — but I’ll check with someone on Monday!)
We hopped this train to YVR. It was still all wrapped up in protective plastic and cardboard! There were two Canada Line attendants who were already onboard, riding the train during its test period.
Here we are heading toward Templeton Station, where YVR’s employee parking and long-term parking will be built. You can hear Alan Dever from Canada Line explain how this is the biggest station on the entire line.
Here we are heading into Sea Island Centre! Listen to the audio on this one — Alan Dever from Canada Line explains why it was built at-grade (at street level) instead of elevated.
And here we are going into YVR-Airport Station!
Oh, I really should mention that the voice for all of the Canada Line announcements IS Laureen Regan, the voice of our current SkyTrain announcements! Here’s my podcast interview with Laureen, if you haven’t heard it.
After YVR, we took the ride all the way back to Waterfront. (The train just changes direction and heads back to downtown Vancouver.) On the way back to Waterfront, we crossed the North Arm Bridge and I caught this shot. It’s so pretty when you ride over it!
As well, I must mention how captivating that gigantic front window is. We all basically gazed at it like it was a movie screen. It’s even set up sort of like a little theatre :)
Also, when we rode through the tunnelled part of the Canada Line, everybody was able to use their BlackBerrys and cell phones for voice calls and data! We did know the tunnel allowed for cell phone access, but it’s quite another thing to see it actually working in reality. I even tweeted from the tunnel!
And here’s the end of the Canada Line in Waterfront Station. Back to where we started :)
And whoo—that’s it for this post! Have a great weekend everybody!