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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Expo Line

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.

Read more »

Once upon a chime

Have you ever wondered where the iconic SkyTrain chime came from? Well, today is your lucky day because we’ve got an answer for you!

Once upon a chime…

Our story dates back to 1984, a few years before SkyTrain was operational. As a driverless automated system with no train operator on-board to remind passengers that doors were about to close and the train was ready to depart, we realized the need for some kind of automated on-board message.

FYI: SkyTrain opened in January 1986, on schedule and on budget ($854 million) with an initial 21.4 kms (13.3 miles) of guideway, 15 stations and 114 SkyTrain cars!

Once the decision was made to create an automated message, the next step was to determine what the message would sound like. We tested out many different ideas and even experimented with real bells, but nothing seemed to sound just right.  Since SkyTrain is an automated, high-tech system, the feeling was that a reasonably conventional sounding chime was needed.

Fun fact! The SkyTrain chime isn’t just for SkyTrain! The same chime can also be heard on-board our buses!

We decided to test out some different versions of the chime using a digital synthesizer at Little Mountain Sound Studio. It took some time to come up with a tone that would be usable and would catch people’s attention. After many trials and errors, we decided that the chime would have three tones going up and would serve it’s purpose to draw passengers attention to the train departing and the doors closing.

Did you know that the SkyTrain chime was recorded in the same studio that AC/DC, Bryan Adams, Aerosmith and many other talented musicians recorded in?!

Listen to the SkyTrain chime

This post originally appeared as a podcast on The Buzzer Blog on December 1, 2008.

Author: Christina Jakopin

Rail replacement work moves to Main Street–Science World area

During rail replacement on select days, all Expo Line trains will operate between Waterfront and King George, and will use one track in both directions at Main Street–Science World and Commercial–Broadway stations.

As part of keeping our system in a state of good repair, we are replacing 5,000 linear metres of running rail at four main locations close to Metrotown, Main Street–Science World, Stadium–Chinatown and Waterfront stations.

Replacement work is currently taking place in the Main Street–Science World area, resulting in modified evening SkyTrain service. Read more »

Fun poll results: Your favourite summer spots to visit with transit

The results are in! We asked you what your favourite summer spot is to visit with transit and with 27 per cent of votes, Stanley Park is your favourite summer spot!

Coming in second and not too far behind with 20 per cent of votes is “Other”. Granville Island and New Westminster River Market both tied for third place with 14 per cent of votes each.

If you answered other, where do you love to go with transit in the summer? Summer isn’t over yet so comment below and let us know!

Following the top three summer destinations are White Pine Beach and Lonsdale Quay, each with eight per cent of votes, Queen Elizabeth Park with four per cent of votes, and Kitsilano Beach and Capilano Suspension Bridge coming in with three per cent of votes.

Thanks to everyone for voting!

If you have an idea for a poll, comment below or email thebuzzer@translink.ca!

Author: Christina Jakopin

Fun poll! What’s your favourite summer spot to visit with transit?

#DenisthePlanner talks about White Pine Beach and other fun places you can get to on transit.

The birds are singin’, the sun is shinin’ and it’s summertime!  Here in Metro Vancouver, that means getting out and enjoying all that the city has to offer – from a relaxing day at the beach to a summertime hike.

How lucky are we to have so many fun, beautiful places to pick from that are ALL accessible by transit!

Vote below and let us know what your favourite summertime destination! If you don’t see your favourite summer hot spot, leave us a comment and tell us where you love to go.

What is your favorite summer spot to visit on transit?

View Results

We did this poll last year with a few different summer destinations. Take a look here for more transit accessible summer fun spots!

Did you know? TransLink has seasonal service from Coquitlam Central Station to Buntzen Lake and White Pine Beach! Use our Trip Planner to plan your route.

Author: Christina Jakopin

Five tips and tricks to staying safe on the SkyTrain!

One of our top priorities is to make sure you get to and from your destination safely! Watch the video above to learn all of the best ways to stay safe while using the SkyTrain.

Here are our top five tips and tricks to a smooth journey:

Slow and steady

Don’t run for the train. Trains come quite frequently and there will be another one along in just a few minutes!

On the platform

Always stand behind the yellow line on platforms and wait at the Designated Waiting Areas as they are designed to provide added safety and security. Safety features you can find at Designated Waiting Areas are: enhanced lighting, a red emergency telephone that will connect you directly to the SkyTrain Control Centre, a bench and they are monitored by closed-circuit television.

Hold on!

SkyTrains are moving vehicles!  Make sure you hold on to a yellow marked handrail or bar to keep yourself steady.

Know where to find help

In the case of an emergency, you can contact the SkyTrain Control Centre by pressing on the silent passenger alarm. This is a yellow strip located on every window on board the SkyTrain. Triggering this alarm means that help will be on board as soon as possible. You can also use the on board speakerphone that is located on each car near the doors. By pressing the red button you can speak directly to SkyTrain control operators.

FYI: when in doubt, don`t be scared to ask a SkyTrain attendant for help!

Stay onboard!

Trains will stop between stations if something falls onto the track so make sure to stay on board the train and do not exit between stations. The safest place to be in the case of a stoppage is on the train!

Take a look here for more information on the cool safety features that you can find on board the SkyTrain!

Author: Christina Jakopin

New escalators at Metrotown SkyTrain station are now in service!

At a height of 13 metres (43 feet), the new escalators at Metrotown Station are the second highest in the SkyTrain system, surpassed only by the escalators at Granville Station at 14 metres (46 feet).

Exciting news for our customers who use Metrotown Station: the first four of eight new escalators—two up and two down—entered service on Monday, July 24!

These escalators at the newly opened west stationhouse will significantly improve passenger flow and access for our customers who can now enter and exit the platform via two escalators, two elevators, or one of two staircases from Central Boulevard.

Compass fare gates and vending machines have been installed at the west stationhouse and are operational. Customers are reminded to continue to tap in and out.

What’s next?

This is a major milestone for the station. Although both the centre and west stationhouses are now open, upgrades continue at Metrotown Station. We thank everyone for their patience while we complete this essential work.

In summer 2018, two more pairs of escalators will go into service when the rebuilt east stationhouse opens. When fully complete, the upgraded station will include:

  • Rebuilt east stationhouse and addition of new centre and west stationhouses
  • New stairs and escalators
  • Replacement of the original elevator with three new elevators accessible via a new central entry
  • An upgraded bus exchange on Central Boulevard
  • New secure parking area for bicycles

We’ll make sure to keep you updated on all the upgrades as they are completed.

Explore inside the west stationhouse

Visit our website for more information on the upgrades at Metrotown Station.

Author: Jessica Hewitt

Upcoming rail replacement work on the Expo Line

Running rail replacement will mean modified late evening service between Stadium–Chinatown and Waterfront stations.

As part of keeping our system in a state of good repair, we are replacing 5,000 linear metres of running rail at four main locations close to Metrotown, Main Street–Science World, Stadium–Chinatown and Waterfront stations.

Replacement work is currently taking place in the Stadium–Chinatown area, resulting in modified evening SkyTrain service in downtown Vancouver. The affected dates and times are:

  • Monday, July 17; Wednesday, July 19; Thursday, July 20 and Sunday, July 23 (from 9:30 p.m. until the end of service)
  • Monday, July 24 through Thursday, July 27 (from 11:59 p.m. until the end of service)
  • Sunday, July 30; Monday, July 31 and Thursday, August 3 (from 9:30 p.m. until the end of service)
  • Monday, August 7 through Thursday, August 10 (from 9:30 p.m. until the end of service)
  • Sunday, August 13; Tuesday, August 15 and Wednesday, August 16 (from 9:30 p.m. until the end of service)
  • Sunday, August 20 and Tuesday, August 22 (from 9:30 p.m. until the end of service); Wednesday, August 23 (from 10:30 p.m. until the end of service); and Thursday, August 24 (from 9:30 p.m. until the end of service)
  • Sunday, August 27 through Thursday, August 31 (from 9:30 p.m. until the end of service)
  • Monday, September 4 through Thursday, September 7 (from 9:30 p.m. until the end of service)
  • Sunday September 10 and Monday, September 11 (from 9:30 p.m. until the end of service)
  • Tuesday, October 10 (from 10:30 p.m. until the end of service)

(Author’s Note: Due to the rescheduling of the J. Cole concert at Rogers Arena from Tuesday, July 18 to Wednesday, July 19, rail replacement work is cancelled on July 19.) 

Expo Line trains will terminate at Stadium-Chinatown Station, operating with a normal 5 minute frequency. A shuttle train will operate every 10 minutes between Waterfront, Burrard, Granville and Stadium-Chinatown stations. Expo Line passengers connecting at Stadium–Chinatown should allow for 5-10 minutes extra travel time.

Normal 10 minute service frequency is provided on the Millennium Line, and on the Expo Line to both King George and Production Way–University.  The Canada Line will also operate normally.

Customers are advised to watch destination displays and listen for train destination announcements. We thank you for your patience as we complete this essential work.

How does this affect your commute? Check out our Alerts Page for pattern changes and upcoming work.
Find more information on the entire project, visit translink.ca/railreplacement.

Running Rail Replacement work June 12-14, 2017

Modified service route 1 NW to VC_17x11-01
TransLink keeps chugging along with our Running Rail Replacement Project. Starting back in February, we’ve been replacing 7,000 aging rail pads and 5,000 linear metres of running rail on the Expo Line.

Here are the details: Read more »

Running Rail Replacement work May 25–May 30, 2017

Modified service route 1 NW to VC_17x11-01
We are continuing with our work to replace 7,000 aging rail pads and 5,000 linear metres of running rail on the Expo Line.

This phase of the Running Rail Replacement Project began this February and will continue through summer 2017.

This batch of work will include single tracking later in some evenings as well as some morning and afternoon work on the weekend.

On May 27 and May 28, two sections of track west of Main Street–Science World Station will require extended times to accommodate the necessary special treatment to pre-bend the 60 foot rail sections before installation.

Please take note of the schedules below and know before you go!

Thursday May 25 & Friday May 26

  • From 9:30 pm until the end of service

Saturday May 27

  • From start of service until 2:00 pm AND
  • From 11:30 pm until the end of service.

Sunday May 28

  • From start of service until 3:00 pm.
  • There will be no single tracking Sunday evening.

Monday May 29 & Tuesday May 30

  • From 9:30 pm until the end of service.

For all affected service days:

  • Expo Line trains will use one track in both directions at Main Street–Science World and Commercial–Broadway stations.
  • Expo Line passengers should allow for 15-20 minutes extra travel time.
  • All Expo Line trains will operate between Waterfront and King George stations.
  • Expo service to Sapperton, Braid, Lougheed Town Centre and Production Way–University will be replaced with trains operating between New Westminster and VCC–Clark. Passengers from other stations on the Expo Line can change trains to this service at Commercial–Broadway, New Westminster and Columbia stations.
  • Millennium Line and Canada Line will operate normally.

This work schedule is subject to change.

Learn more about our Running Rail Replacement Project!

Have questions about this project or single tracking? Ask away!
Tweet @TransLink or call 604-953-3333.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Experience your own ‘art on transit’ Jane’s Walk

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The festivities and walking tours associated with the worldwide Jane’s Walk are over for another year, but that doesn’t mean we should stop discovering our communities!

With that in mind, we’d like to share the walk and talk that TransLink’s Debra Rolfe lead during the festival.

Below is a step-by-step guide to art found on and around the Expo Line with a few stops in Vancouver and New Westminster.

Enjoy!

Stadium–Chinatown

Alinka Echeverría’s Precession of the Feminine

2017-03-31_Stadium-Chinatown_Artwork_Panorama
Located on the unused platform at the station, and visible from the main platform or from eastbound trains, temporary project 2017-18

This artwork is part of the Capture Photography Festival, a non-profit annual festival devoted to exhibiting local and international photography. Alinka Echeverría’s Precession of the Feminine is a series of three-dimensional simulations of ceramic vases fused with archival photographs of women and presented against vibrantly coloured backdrops. Echeverría shows her viewers the process behind the creation of these images in order to invite them to look at the unconscious beliefs we bring to viewing photographs, particularly of women. Within the transit context, this project demonstrates one of the goals of TransLink’s public art program to surprise and delight customers, with the layers of meaning in this artwork manifesting differently whether customers pass through the station only once or whether they pass through the station daily.

Main Street–Science World

Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky’s Watch Seller

Watchseller
Artwork is on the plaza outside the Thornton Park entrance to the east stationhouse, permanent project installed 2015

The Watch Seller is a bronze sculpture of a watch seller that functions like a deconstructed public clock. Covered in 720 watch faces, the Watch Seller has every possible minute of a 12-hour analogue clock visible on his figure. He is always out of time, but he also always shows the correct time. These aspects of the artwork reference the shared history of train travel and standardized time, which were invented together in the 19th century. Indeed, standardized time was once called ‘railway time’ and public clocks are a ubiquitous feature of old railway stations. Set at the pedestrian level right outside the station entrance and across Thornton Park from Pacific Central Station, the Watch Seller is the size of a real person. It invites interaction and engagement with the station and the history of rail travel.

Commercial–Broadway

Richard Tetrault Cole Bazin, Karen Chan, Emily Gray, Rachel Stableford and Jerry Whitehead mural

Intersections mural on Broadway and inside the south stationhouse, temporary project 2015-18

This series of murals was commissioned in order to improve the experience of the station during renovation and reduce graffiti on the construction hoardings. It was a partnership with the City of Vancouver’s Integrated Graffiti Management Program. Due to the complex nature of the construction process at this station and the expectation that we would have to move the construction hoarding around over time, we asked the artists to create a series of small murals that could be displayed together or separately. Although the artists all worked together and worked with a shared theme and colour palate, they each led on a 12×8 foot section of the mural. The mural’s name and the motif of the SkyTrain windows repeating throughout remind us of the nature of Commercial-Broadway Station as a place of meeting and of departure.

Joyce–Collingwood

Kim Villagante and aly de la cruz yip’s Home mural

JC mural
Found on Vanness Avenue, outside the east station house, temporary project 2016-17

This project was a partnership with the City of Vancouver’s Integrated Graffiti Management Program and the Collingwood Neighbourhood House. The artists worked with youth who are newcomers to Canada, including Syrian refugee youth, to develop designs related to the concept of home. Individual children produced drawings that the artists then integrated into the overall design. The word ‘home’ in blue, like a river, binds the entire mural together.

New Westminster Station

Sean Alward’s New Westminster Glass Mural

Located along the staircase leading to the westbound platform, permanent project installed 2016

The mural at New Westminster Station is a collage of archival photographs of New Westminster and elsewhere in BC overlaid with brightly coloured shapes. The flow of images in the artwork references the nearby Fraser River and, as the artist has described it, ‘the simple paradox that [the river] is an ever-changing yet constant presence’. The artwork examines the history of New Westminster and British Columbia as one in which ‘nature’ is transformed into ‘resources’ and how an economy, political power and culture develops from that process. It also brings a beautiful stream of multi-coloured light and images into the station, whereas before the view from this staircase was of the concrete wall next door.

Now you’ve got the tools and the information for your own mini-tour of art on transit. Print this out or save it to your phone, grab your Compass Card and get exploring!

Author: Adrienne Coling

More station upgrade progress at Joyce–Collingwood!

Outside shot

View from east station house down Vanness Avenue

Joyce–Collingwood Station is looking more refreshed by the day as work continues on upgrading our fourth busiest Expo Line station outside of downtown Vancouver.

These upgrades seek to improve safety and security for riders as well as accessibility to the station.

Completed work

  • Escalator installation work is complete.
  • Timber ceiling installation in the new east stationhouse is now complete.
  • New lighting on the platform improves safety and security.
  • Bus shelter footings are now installed. Look for two new bus shelters at the station later this summer!
  • Newly installed glass panels improve visibility on the platform.

What’s next?

  • Elevator testing and commissioning
  • Public art installation
  • Ceiling panel installation on the platform
  • Installation of glass walls for the east stationhouse
  • Bike Parkade work is ongoing and when complete, customers can access the parkade using their Compass Card.

Thank you for your patience as we complete these much-needed upgrades to the Joyce–Collingwood Station and stay tuned for additional updates throughout the project.

Get in touch!

Customer Information: 604.953.3333
Monday to Friday: 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Overnight Station Upgrade Customer Service: 1.866.979.0930
Monday to Friday: 12:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

For more information on this project visit translink.ca/joyce.
For up-to-date construction info, visit translink.ca/ontrack.

Author: Jessica Hewitt

Running Rail work resumes May 22, 2017

Modified service route 1 NW to VC_17x11-01

**UPDATE May 8** – Work has been postponed until May 22, 2017. Continue to check translink.ca/alerts for the latest updates.

The Running Rail Replacement Project continues with work that started on Sunday, April 30.

Fun fact!

As part of this project we have already replaced 6851 rail pads, and expect to install a total of almost 7000 rail pads by the end of the project.

May 7 to May 9 May 22 to May 24

Single tracking – when trains travel on the same track in alternating directions – will happen at Royal Oak and Edmonds stations from 9:30 p.m. until the end of service.

  • Expo Line trains will operate between Waterfront and King George stations, with additional trains until midnight between Waterfront and Metrotown
  • Expo service to Sapperton, Braid, Lougheed Town Centre and Production Way–University will be replaced with trains operating between New Westminster and VCC–Clark. Passengers from other stations on the Expo Line can change trains to this service at Commercial – Broadway, New Westminster and Columbia stations.
  • Expo Line passengers should allow for 15-20 minutes extra travel time.
  • Millennium Line and Canada Line will operate normally.

Learn more about the 2017 Running Rail project

Know before you go!
For more information on what this means for your commute, visit translink.ca/alerts.
Find details on the Rail Replacement Project at translink.ca/rail replacement.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Take the SkyTrain survey, April 24–May 21, 2017

cropped-CoMET-and-Nova-Banner-for-New-Website-v4

BCRTC (SkyTrain) has joined the Nova benchmarking group that is operated by the Imperial College in London.

This group is sister to the benchmarking bus group (IBBG) of which CMBC is a member. The purpose of these groups is to share experiences, compare performance, identify best practices and learn from one another in order to improve performance.

Much like the IBBG survey, this survey looks at overall customer satisfaction, service quality, performance and more!

Members of the Nova benchmarking group:

Your feedback is very important and this is a perfect opportunity to weigh in on the SkyTrain service.

The survey will be available from April 24 until May 21, 2017.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY!

Author: Adrienne Coling

2017 Vancouver Sun Run

sun run colour graphic
3, 2, 1, GOOOOOOO!!!!!!

On Sunday, April 23, over 40,000 people will lace up their runners to take part in Canada’s largest 10k road race, the Vancouver Sun Run.

Considering the size and scope of this race, lots of bus routes will be affected to clear the way for runners. This may affect your transit trip on Sunday, so make sure you know before you go!

Our alerts page has the full list of detours and route changes.

For runners and cheering squads, the Expo and Millennium lines will start service a half an hour earlier. Canada Line will run at its usual time at 5:02 a.m.

West Coast Express will run a special Sun Run train arriving at Waterfront Station at approximately 8:15 a.m. This train is expected to be quite busy, so please arrive at your station at least 20 minutes before your departure time. After the race, the train will leave Vancouver at 2:30 p.m.

SeaBus will begin running at 7 am running every 15 minutes until 6:30 pm, when it will return to a regular Sunday schedule.

2017 Sun Run course

2017 Sun Run course

To prevent long line ups afterwards, be sure to pre-purchase return Compass Tickets at a CVM prior to the race, or load up your Compass Card and tap away!

For more information on the race head to the Sun Run event page.
For a map of affected routes, check out the TransLink events calendar.

Author: Jessica Hewitt