Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: SkyTrain

Train2Main Begins in 2 Days!

2014-03-12 Train2Main line diagram

Train2Main service

Hey buzzer readers!

This is a reminder that from March 30 (two days from now) until fall 2014, anyone travelling to or from Main Street-Science World Station will hop on the Train2Main, a special two-car SkyTrain – trains are normally four or six cars long.

Here’s a refresher on the details:

  • Train2Main will provide service to and from Main Street-Science World from Waterfront, Burrard, Granville, Stadium-Chinatown and Commercial-Broadway Stations.
  • Regular four and six car trains on the Expo Line and Millenium Line will operate as normal during this time, except they will not stop at Main Street–Science World Station.
  • Passengers travelling to Main Street-Science World from the east will transfer to Train2Main at Commercial-Braodway station.
  • Passengers travelling to Main Street-Science World from downtown Vancouver will use the Train2Main.
  • Passengers using Train2Main should plan 10 minutes of extra travel time.

Train2Main is necessary to keep Main Street-Science World open during construction as much needed upgrades are made to the station. To learn more, visit www.translink.ca/ontrack. Thanks for your patience!

Choosing the Happy City: People

Living in the #happycity means hopping on the train for an impromptu sunset seawall stroll after dinner.  Photo by Chris Bruntlett (@cbruntlett)

Living in the #happycity means hopping on the train for an impromptu sunset seawall stroll after dinner.
Photo by Chris Bruntlett (@cbruntlett)

 

 

The lecture Choosing the Happy City is just around the corner and it’s a good time to explore different perspectives on the connection between neighbourhoods and the happiness of people who reside in them. A few days ago, I posted the interview with Charles Montgomery – I hope you enjoyed it.

Today, I had a pleasure to speak with Chris  Bruntlett, a residential designer, writer, photographer, and bike enthusiast. During the day, Chris works as a residential designer, designing single family homes, duplexes and laneway houses in the City of Vancouver.

Outside of the office, he spends a great deal of his evenings and weekends encouraging people to get on a bicycle through writing, photography, public speaking, and filmmaking. If you read posts about city cycling in the Spacing, Vancouver Is Awesome, Vancity Buzz, Hush, or Momentum Magazine, the chances are that you came across Chris’ work.

 

What city in the Lower Mainland do you live in?

Our family of four lives in the Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhood of Vancouver, just a couple of blocks from the Commercial-Broadway Skytrain station, and have done so for five years now.

What makes you happy about where you live?

We love having the freedom to choose how we’re getting somewhere, dependent on the nature of the trip we’re taking. Sometimes it’s walking. Sometimes it’s cycling. Other times it’s by bus or Skytrain. And once in a while, we’ll borrow a car from Modo or Car2Go.

How do you usually travel around your neighbourhood?

More often than not, we get around Grandview-Woodlands by foot or bicycle. We are fortunate enough to have the traffic-calmed 10th Avenue, Lakewood, and Mosaic Bikeways at our disposal, although running errands along Commercial Drive can be problematic. We’re certainly hoping the long-term plan to create safe, comfortable space for cycling on The Drive happens sooner rather than later.

What’s your favourite thing about how you get around your neighbourhood?

Moving at a slower pace allows us to have an intimate, unfiltered, first-hand connection to our neighbourhood, its shopfronts, merchants, houses, parks, and neighbours we may run into along the way. Our kids know the people and places in their community like the backs of their hands.

How do you usually travel around your city?

When it comes to longer distances, we’ll usually take a combination of Skytrain and/or bus, although our kids have been known to amaze us with their ability to ride their bikes long distances. We absolutely love cycling on the seawall as a family, with its stunning views of the ocean, mountains, and glass towers; and can sometimes ride over 20 kilometres in a single day!

What do you like about travelling around your city?

Getting around without a car transforms all of our travel time into family time. Walking, cycling, or riding the bus provides ample opportunity to relax, hold hands, make eye contact, and chat about any number of topics, big or small.

You’re often involved in projects that focus on city cycling as part of everyday life. What are you currently working on?

I recently produced a series of six short films which intimately profile a number of Vancouverites who use a bicycle to get around. We just wrapped up the first series (http://www.youtube.com/vancyclechic), which were incredibly well received and publicized; and have started pre-production on a second series, to be shot and released in 2014.

You recently wrote a review of the book “Happy City” for Vancouver is Awesome. Anything you want to mention from the book?

As Charles Montgomery points out, the greener, happier and resilient city all occupy the same place. In my opinion, Vancouver should be aiming to be the “World’s Happiest City”, and framing the (sometimes heated) discussions around what we have to gain – rather than give up – in order to live sustainably.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget, there’s still time to enter the Happy City contest to win some great prizes.  Apart from the Buzzer, this contest is run by the Vancity Buzz, The Thirties Grind and Surrey604.  The lecture Choosing Happy City is sold out but you can watch it live via webcast; simply click on the webcast link here at 7 pm on March 26.

 

Going to Main Street-Science World? Look for the Train2Main

Train2Main

Train2Main service starts March 30

You’ve probably noticed that Main Street–Science World Stations is getting some much needed upgrades. Work is moving along at the east side of the station, and the second phase of construction is about to start.

To keep the station open during this phase of construction, SkyTrain will operate a special two-car train, Train2Main, to get customers to and from the station.

Do you travel to/from Main Street-Science World Station?

Train2Main service will start March 30 and operate for approximately six months. Here’s some helpful information:

  • Train2Main will provide service to and from Main Street-Science World from Waterfront, Burrard, Granville, Stadium-Chinatown and Commercial-Broadway Stations.
  • Regular four and six car trains on the Expo Line and Millenium Line will operate as normal during this time, except they will not stop at Main Street–Science World Station.
  • Passengers travelling to Main Street-Science World from the east will transfer to Train2Main at Commercial-Braodway station.
  • Passengers travelling to Main Street-Science World from downtown Vancouver will use the Train2Main.
  • Passengers using Train2Main should plan 10 minutes of extra travel time.

Thanks for your patience as we make these much-needed improvements at Main Street-Science World Station. When complete in winter 2014/15, the upgraded station will improve the overall customer experience at one of the busiest stations in the SkyTrain system. To learn more, visit www.translink.ca/ontrack.

Expo Line Power Rail Replacement work – late-night shuttle service begins Feb.16

SkyTrain in action!

Hey buzzer readers!

As you may already know, we’re replacing 34 km of original power rail on the Expo Line. The power rail supplies SkyTrain vehicles with power, approximately 650 volts DC.

Work is moving to the area between Waterfront and Stadium–Chinatown and there will be service impacts for people travelling to or from those stations during late-night service.

Beginning Feb. 16, passengers travelling through all stations between Waterfront and Stadium-Chinatown will commute using a shuttle train Sundays through Thursdays after 8 p.m.

  • Passengers travelling west of Stadium-Chinatown must hop off and transfer to a shuttle train. Service east of Stadium-Chinatown will operate normally.
  • Passengers are encouraged to plan for an extra 10 minutes of travel time.
  • SkyTrain services will run as normal during the day, peak times and major downtown events.

SkyTrain staff will be on hand at affected stations to provide directions and assistance. We thank you for your patience and cooperation as we keep our system in good repair for your overall service.

A few words from Fred Cummings about last week’s SkyTrain service disruption

If you were on the Expo SkyTrain Line last Wednesday afternoon (February 5) like I was, you might have experienced some delay in service.

Although my trip was only a few minutes longer than normal, for two and a half hours, the disruption of regular service caused varying levels of delays to our riders’ estimated trip times.

Disruptions in service are something TransLink and our operating companies actively try to avoid and we are sorry it happened.

“I want to apologize to our SkyTrain customers who were affected by this unusual incident,” says Fred Cummings, President and General Manager of BC Rapid Transit Company (BCRTC).

Details about the disruption

Starting at around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, an eastbound train encountered a mechanical issue and stopped outside Main Street-Science World Station. BCRTC investigated the incident and found that a part used to connect the problem train to the power supply in the SkyTrain guideway (the tracks), failed, broke off and got lodged between the two power rails that supply the Skytrain with 650 volts DC of power. This prevented the train from continuing on its normal route. A failure such as this can occur if a train encounters a stray object in the guideway, but this particular incident was determined to be the result of a part that was defective or fatigued.

“The recovery from this event was complicated by the equipment that failed being lodged in-between the power rails. I want to assure everyone that the personnel deployed worked extremely hard and as fast as they could to get service back before the evening peak service,” says Fred.

To help alleviate the situation, Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) supplemented service with a bus bridge, and SkyTrain Staff and Transit Police were deployed to help manage the crowds forming at SkyTrain stations.

Despite our best efforts, many of our riders were left frustrated and late for appointments by the delay.

Upgrading SkyTrain

As regular readers of the Buzzer know, SkyTrain is over 25 years old! A number of upgrades to the Expo Line are being carried out as part of OnTrack to keep the system in good repair.

We are always looking for ways to improve our service and making sure our SkyTrain system runs smoothly and on time is a priority.

SkyTrain Station Upgrades Project

2014-01-10 SkyTrain Station Upgrades Buzzer Post

Click the picture for a full infographic!

Wondering why Main Street–Science World Station and Scott Road Station are under construction right now? Well, TransLink is upgrading seven key SkyTrain stations and exchanges to ensure the rapid transit system will meet the needs of passengers and the region for years to come.

The upgrades are happening at stations along the Expo Line, and while the stations were considered state of the art when the system officially launched in January 1986 (and subsequent extensions in 1987/88 and 1995/1996), the time has come for necessary upgrades. These upgrades will allow for enhanced accessibility including new or improved escalators and elevators, increased safety and security measures, and greater platform capacity.

What stations are being upgraded? 

The following seven SkyTrain stations along the Expo Line will be upgraded:

  • Main Street–Science World
  • Commercial–Broadway (Phase 2 Upgrades)
  • Joyce–Collingwood
  • Metrotown
  • New Westminster
  • Scott Road
  • Surrey Central and Bus Exchange

What to expect 

TransLink’s number one priority is the safety of the public, passengers, employees, and contractors and we’ll do everything we can to minimize the impact of construction to passengers.

Construction work is underway at Main Street–Science World and almost complete at Scott Road Station. SkyTrain service will operate normally during construction at Main Street–Science World with the exception of early 2014 to summer 2014 when SkyTrain will operate shuttle train service to Main Street–Science World Station. During this time, two–car trains will provide service to/ from Main Street–Science World Station via Waterfront and Commercial–Broadway Stations.

Construction is expected to begin at New Westminster Station, Commercial–Broadway Station and Metrotown Station later on this year. Work at Joyce–Collingwood stations is scheduled to begin in 2015 and Surrey–Central is still in the planning phase. Work will be complete at all seven stations by the end of 2016.

More information about the upgrades to all seven stations is available in the project backgrounder.

Stay in the loop!

We’ll be updating www.translink.ca/ontrack with information about construction and potential service impacts, and we’ll also share updates here at the Buzzer blog! More details on the Main Street shuttle train will be available later this winter.

Thanks for your patience as we make these much-needed station improvements!

Information sessions for Commercial–Broadway Station begin December 5

2013-11-29 Commercial-Broadaway Buzzer(2)

Hear what’s happening at Commercial–Broadway station


Are you one of the 150,000 people who use Commercial–Broadway Station every day? Information sessions for the second phase of upgrades at the station will take place in early December and we want your input!

Visit us in the community

We’ll be out in the community to share information about the station upgrades with our neighbours and passengers who use the busiest station on the network. Join us at one of the three information sessions:

Information Session #1
Date: December 5, 2013
Time: 3 – 6 p.m.
Location: Commercial–Broadway Station, North Station House street level

Information Session #2
Date: December 10, 2013
Time: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Location: University of British Columbia, Student Union Building

Information Session #3
Date: December 11, 2013
Time: 4 – 8 p.m.
Location: Trout Lake Community Centre, 3360 Victoria Drive

Get involved online

Can’t make it to one of the sessions? No problem! We will also have information and a feedback survey posted at translink.ca/commercialbroadway December 2 until December 16.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Preparing transit for winter conditions

I doubt we’ll get this much snow, but you never know!

I doubt we’ll get this much snow, but you never know!

We’ve had a mild Fall in Metro Vancouver and so far the Winter has been the same. However, according to Environment Canada, as of Friday, November 29, Monday could see rain and flurries and Tuesday could bring temperatures as low as minus six.

In anticipation of these adverse weather conditions, TransLink and its operating companies have plans to maintain service as best as possible for the residents of Metro Vancouver.

Employees will be working to maintain expeditious service wherever possible – snow or shine.

As everyone knows,  despite our best efforts snowy weather in Metro Vancouver can create traffic snarls resulting in delays that could spread across the region.

Here are just a few of the efforts we’re taking to help people get to where they are going:

Buses

  • Switching out articulated buses for traditional buses. Although articulated buses are great for turning and maneuvering throughout our streets in Metro Vancouver and allow for quick movement of large numbers of passengers, when traveling up hills or on streets that have poor conditions, the back havles are heavy which can create some traction problems. Potential Jack knifing may occur.

 

  • In the evening, three Trolley deicer trucks will spray the entire trolley overhead system if there is a forecast risk of frost or ice.

 

SkyTrain 

  • The power rail is de-iced in the winter as well as the collector shoes on the trains. If it snows overnight, Skytrain will run trains throughout the night to keep tracks clear

 

  • De-icing stations will be set up in covered areas and tunnels to prevent ice and snow compacts on the trains. Measures are also taken to make sure switches are protected from freezing

 

  •  Staff will be monitoring the guideway for any large snow fall or drop-offs from the Skytrain cars in order to keep the tracks clear.

SkyTrain (Canada Line)

  • Winter weather forecast monitoring means more staff can be quickly deployed and more trains can be added to service so riders can get on their way.

 

  • Anti-icing and sanding measures are used to ensure the power rail and tracks are clears of ice. In fact, three vehicles have modifications to provide ice-slicing, de-icing and sanding. And there are special trains that can keep running on the system which further prevents ice-build up.

 

  •  New breaking modes for train cars – kind of like ABS on vehicles – to provide traction.

What should customers consider when challenging weather hits the transit system?:

  • Riders need to ensure that they give themselves extra time when heading out on the transit system when weather is nasty. Adverse weather means the entire transit system will be much slower as staff will use extra caution.

 

  • Buses endure the same road conditions as other vehicles. As a result, they too are not immune to the accompanying perils caused by bad weather.

 

  • Please be patient with our Operators: they are trying hard to provide efficient and timely service. Schedules will be affected when it snows despite our best efforts.

 

  • TransLink’s operating companies work closely with each municipality and city to help ensure streets or areas are addressed with snow clearing, salting or sanding.

 

  • We live in a region with several micro climates which makes it difficult to clear all areas simultaneously. It is possible that some bus routes will have gaps in service – but it could also mean that some areas are aokay.

 

Together we can help each other get ready for this possible winter wallop! And if you need help navigating your winter commute, remember our Customer Information team is at the ready through @translink and (604) 953-3333. Sign up for transit alerts, plan ahead with m.translink.ca and Trip Planner and give yourself extra time on your commute.

 

 

Learn about station upgrades for Metrotown Station today and tomorrow – June 4 and 5, 2013

Come see what we have planned for upgrades to Metrotown Station

Come see what we have planned for upgrades to Metrotown Station

Following our consultation and now upgrades of Main Street-Science World Station, the first of two open houses starts today on upgrades to Metrotown Station.

We apologize for not updating our readers earlier. These latest open houses, which are part of the Expo Line Upgrade Strategy, start today. Here’s the open house info:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 – 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.- Metrotown SkyTrain Station East ground-level entrance

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 – 2:30pm – 5:30 p.m. – Metrotown SkyTrain Station East Ground-level entrance

For a complete list of what the planned upgrades are and other info, you’ll want to go to the TransLink website. Here’s a quick list:

  • Up and down escalators from grade level to the platform at both ends
  • Replacing the existing elevator and adding a second one
  • An improved bus exchange with faster connections between SkyTrain and buses
  • Better integration with the surrounding neighbourhood.
  • Faregates and associated equipment
  • Other station features under consideration include: expanded bike storage including a secure bike parking area, upgraded wayfinding and lighting and other customer amenities.

We hope you’re able to get to the station to see what is being planned. If not, I’ll make sure that any questions you have about the upgrades get answered a.s.a.p!

 

Evergreen Line extension station names announced

Evergreen Line map

Have you been wondering what the new station names along the Evergreen Line extension project are going to be called? Well, we’re excited to tell you the names were just released this weekend and they are:

  • Lougheed Town Centre Station
  • Burquitlam Station
  • Moody Centre Station
  • Inlet Centre Station
  • Coquitlam Central Station
  • Lincoln Station
  • Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station

The line will provide a valuable transit link for Metro Vancouver residents when it opens in summer 2016. As TransLink’s CEO, Ian Jarvis said, “The Evergreen Line SkyTrain extension is a much needed link in the region’s transportation network and will be part of our communities for generations.”

To find out more, including a construction schedule for the next twelve months, check out the full news release, the Province’s Evergreen Line site or TransLink’s Evergreen Line page. There’s also a photo gallery from the announcement on Facebook!

Funding for the project is a partnership between the Government of Canada, the government of British Columbia and TransLink. TransLink will be responsible for operation and asset management of the Evergreen extension when it opens.

TransLink 101: Why can’t SkyTrain run 24 hours?

TransLink 101 blog feature series banner

For February 2013, we’re going back to basics with TransLink 101—explaining TransLink and its work!

SkyTrain at night. Photo by kennymatic from Flickr. (Click the image to go to the original!)

As we’re nearing the end of the TransLink 101 series, we thought we’d talk about something that we get asked quite often: why can’t SkyTrain run 24/7?

We often get this question as SkyTrain is an automated, driverless, light rapid transit system, which provides a lot of flexibility in how we can run our trains.

But even without drivers, there are other key factors that affect how long SkyTrain can run every day. Here’s a quick FAQ!

Read more »

TransLink 101: Where do our transit vehicles sleep at night?

TransLink 101 blog feature series banner

For February 2013, we’re going back to basics with TransLink 101—explaining TransLink and its work!

Buses settled in for the night.

Buses settled in for the night, in a photo from about 2006.

You ride our buses and trains during the day, but what happens when they go home at night?

Well, just like the rest of us, our vehicles need some downtime and TLC at the end of a long day of work. Each night, our SkyTrains, buses, SeaBuses and West Coast Express trains retire to their own resting places for a well-deserved break. Read on to find out just what happens!

SkyTrain

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

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

For most of our SkyTrains, the end of the day means heading over to our Maintenance and Storage Facility near Edmonds SkyTrain station (15 stay on the line overnight, some along the Millennium Line and near King George Station).

George Booth, vehicle supervisor, says 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!

Read more »

Temporary closure of the east side of Main Street-Science World Station

The east side entrance/exit of Main Street-Science World Station is temporary closed

The east side of Main Street-Science World Station is temporary closed

This is a quick update of the Phase 1 of the Main Street-Science World Station upgrades. The east side of station (park side) will be temporarily closed. Passengers are being re-directed to the west side of the station (Science World side) via a covered walkway and temporary fencing.

A permanent extension to the east side platform and new east side station house featuring a new elevator, escalators and bike storage will be built. Of note, some of the work will be done at night due to safety concerns and traffic regulations.

SkyTrain service will remain normal during this time. For more info on the upgrades, please check the Main Street-Science World Station upgrades page on the TransLink website.

Slight delays between Lougheed Town Centre and Sapperton Stations on Sunday, Jan 27, 2013

We will be single-tracking the SkyTrain between these two stations on the Millennium Line for a short period of time on Sunday, June 27, 2013

We’ve been doing some upgrades to our SkyTrain fibre optic network of late.

Why replace these fibre optic cables? Well, new fibre optic cables will provide a more efficient communications network across the entire SkyTrain system, keeping it safe and reliable for passengers.

As Fred Cummings, president of British Columbia Rapid Transit Company, which operates the SkyTrain Expo and Millennium lines puts it,

“[Fibre optics run the communications among staff, operate ticketing and security systems, and — perhaps most important — are the vital lifeline between our trains and the control centre, helping maintain the trains’ on-time reliability of greater than 95 per cent”. So, keeping them in good working order and serving the entire SkyTrain network, including the forthcoming Evergreen Line, is a good idea.

This latest upgrade will require that we single-track (when SkyTrains travel on the same track in alternating directions) between Lougheed town Centre and Sapperton Stations this Sunday from start of service until approximately 2 pm. Passengers may have to switch trains at Braid Station and are being encouraged to allow for up to five minutes extra travel time. SkyTrain staff will be on hand to assist passengers during the single-tracking. The Expo Line (Waterfront to King George Stations) will operate normally.

We’ll try our best to keep you all informed of future delays due to fibre optic upgrades moving forward. For day of updates on Sunday’s and future upgrades, you’ll want to follow our Twitter handle @TransLink.

 

Phase 1 of the Main Street-Science World Station upgrades

A rendering of the upgraded Main Street-Science World Station

It’s the oldest SkyTrain station and is in need of an upgrade. Originally built in 1982, Main Street-Science World Station was a demonstration station of the future Expo Line during Expo ’86. Now, the over 30-year-old station has become one of our busiest.

Why we need to upgrade the station

There are a few reasons why the station needs to be upgraded. In short, we need to prepare for the growing number of people who use the Expo Line (more than 200 000 currently use the line each weekday), improve accessibility and get the station ready for faregates. There’s a dedicated page for the Main Street-Science World Station upgrade you’ll want to read for specifics about the upgrade and the reasons for it.

What upgrades mean for riders

Phase 1 of the upgrades starts now (winter) and runs until fall 2013. During this time you’ll see some construction that will reroute some pedestrian walkways and temporarily the East side of station (park side) will be temporarily closed close the park and ride. SkyTrain will run on normal schedule during this phase. Again, check  the Main Street-Science World Station upgrade page for specifics.

During the roughly four month Phase 2 period between fall 2013 and winter 2014, work will be done on the station platforms one at a time. As each station platform will be a construction zone during this time, only two-car shuttle trains will be stopping at Main Street to ensure passenger safety. For all other trains, Main Street-Science World Station will become a “skip stop” – i.e. trains will move through the station without stopping. For example, if you get on a four-car or six-car train at Metrotown heading toward downtown Vancouver, that train WILL NOT stop at Main Street Station.

So, if you want to get off at Main Street Station, you will need to transfer to the special two-car shuttle train at Commercial-Broadway Station. The two-car train will stop at Main Street and every stop between Commercial-Broadway and Waterfront. Passengers traveling to/from Main Street-Science World Station should plan for up to 10 minutes of extra travel time.

This upgrade is part of the Expo Line Upgrade Strategy, which provides some great detail about the Expo Line, “the backbone of Metro Vancouver’s rapid transit network”. We’ll be updating the blog with any new info about this upgrade over the next two years. As usual, we’ll try our best to answer any of your questions about it!

An old rendering of the original Main Street-Science World Station