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Where do our transit vehicles sleep at night?

Buses all settled and snuggled in for the night!

Our transit vehicles spend their days moving many people around Metro Vancouver, but have you ever wondered what happens to them after a long day of work? Each night, our SkyTrain vehicles, SeaBus vessels, buses and West Coast Express trains return to their homes for a well-deserved rest before they gear up for another busy day.

SkyTrain

From 2009: two generations of SkyTrain car inside our operations and maintenance centre near Edmonds.

For our Expo and Millennium Line vehicles, the end of the day means heading over to our Operations and Maintenance Centre (OMC) near Edmonds SkyTrain station. Eighteen vehicles stay on the line overnight, some along the Millennium Line and near King George Station.

With the opening of the Evergreen Extension, we now have a new OMC located between Inlet Centre and Coquitlam Central stations where we store and clean an additional 15 trains every night! As for our Canada Line vehicles, they return to the OMC near Bridgeport Station.

Trains start coming off the line in the evening reduced service times so cleaning can start at 7:30 p.m. and finish by 4 a.m. Crews work through the night cleaning, changing light bulbs, replacing seat covers and doing other maintenance as needed.

And, depending on the temperatures outside, some of the SkyTrains might even head over to our automated train wash (how fun is that?!?). It’s just like a car wash, but for SkyTrains!

Buses

A bus in the car wash at Surrey Transit Centre.

There are also washing stations for the buses in our transit centres across the region, where our buses go home at night. There are seven bus transit centres all over the region: one in Burnaby, West Vancouver, Vancouver, Surrey and Port Coquitlam, and two in Richmond.

Wim Beuk, maintenance director, says that the length of the nightly routine varies at locations, depending number of buses. “Surrey, for example, with 197 buses, will have approximately 13 service people each work night that work from 8 p.m. through to 5:30 a.m., fueling and cleaning the buses,” he says. “Maintenance trades staff for afternoons and night shifts will average approximately 18 people.”

West Coast Express

From 2010: the 6 a.m. West Coast Express train parked at Mission City Station.

Kyla Daman-Willems, Marketing and Customer Service Supervisor at West Coast Express, says their trains retire in Mission for the evening. There is a full yard there and a crew works on the trains over night. “They have them all clean and fueled up for 5 a.m.!” she says.

SeaBus

From 2010: the Burrard Pacific Breeze, sitting in one of the maintenance docks in Lonsdale Quay.

As for the SeaBuses, they head over to a couple of docks next to the Lonsdale Quay terminal for their nightly TLC.

One of the boats takes off early at 9:30 p.m. when the evening rush is over and gets a head start on maintenance and cleaning. Chris Bhardwaj, Supervisor, SeaBus Operations, says that head start also lets crews do major work if needed.

“Many times they even do an engine change over night,” he says, explaining that when needed, crews will take the whole engine out, replace it with a new one, and have the boat ready to go the next day.

All this means that by the time morning comes around, our vehicles are well-rested, fixed up, and ready to head out on the system to get back to work!

Have a question? Make sure to leave a comment below!

Author: Christina Jakopin


5 Comments

  • By Sean, September 18, 2017 @ 3:19 pm

    Any news about the new depot planned for the city diesels? I believe planned for Cambie Street near Kent in south Vancouver?

  • By transit_around_metro_vancouver, September 18, 2017 @ 7:19 pm

    do bus drivers need to do a pre-trip before starting their shift? how does a pre-trip work (if applicable)?
    also what is a day in the life of a cmbc bus driver?

  • By Ric, September 18, 2017 @ 10:33 pm

    Do the westcoast express trains and SeaBuses go into a specially designed wash?

  • By Graham, September 20, 2017 @ 12:55 am

    Thank you for this post. It’s always nice to also get tidbits of operational information instead of just news through The Buzzer Blog.

    Just a couple of heads up for the sake of accuracy:
    – West Vancouver’s Transit Centre, oddly enough, is in the District of North Vancouver; so far, in fact, that it’s only about a block away from the actual City of North Vancouver (across McKay Creek).
    – When SeaBus isn’t in operation, one of the currently three vessels is required to overnight in one of the two berths at the Lonsdale Quay terminal as there are only two maintenance berths next door.

  • By ;-), September 23, 2017 @ 11:53 pm

    So when buses go to sleep… do they dream to become big articulated buses when they grow up?

    As the buses sleep so close together…. do they make baby buses in the morning?

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