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Category: SkyTrain

Track changes to SkyTrain’s Expo Line this weekend, Sept. 23–24

Crews install a 60-foot section of curved rail near Main Street–Science World Station back in May 2017.

Are you planning to take the SkyTrain’s Expo Line between 11:30 p.m.  10:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 23 through 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 24? Please plan for an additional 15–20 minutes of travel time as service will be modified for rail replacement work.

During these times, trains will use a single track in both directions near Commercial–Broadway and Main Street–Science World stations. As well, all Expo Line trains will operate between Waterfront and King George. If you are travelling to Production Way–University, Lougheed Town Centre, Braid or Sapperton, you’ll need transfer to the Special SkyTrain Service (see map) at New Westminster, Columbia or Commercial–Broadway stations.

Please watch for destination displays and listen for announcements. The Millennium Line will operate at normal frequency and the Canada Line is unaffected by this work. Read more »

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

9 and 99 bus stops at Commercial–Broadway Station temporarily relocate, Sept. 15 – Oct. 1

Structural steel trusses will be installed at this location and across Broadway at Commercial–Broadway SkyTrain Station for the new pedestrian walkway.

An exciting milestone for the Commercial–Broadway Station Upgrades! Starting on September 15, construction begins for the new overhead pedestrian walkway across Broadway.

During the construction period, from September 15 through October 1, access to the station and platforms will not change. However, the 9 and 99 bus stops will be temporarily relocated along Broadway. 

Be on the lookout for signs like these telling you where to board your bus! Passengers may be required to cross the street to catch their bus.

Signs like these will help you find the 99 B-Line during the construction period for the Commercial–Broadway Station overhead walkway.

This phase of work includes using two, 270-tonne cranes to lift and place 30,000-pound steel trusses into place to support the new overhead walkway – whoa!

There will be periodic westbound lane closures on Broadway to position cranes and stage vehicles, equipment and materials, resulting in minor detours for 9 and 99 and delays for vehicles using Broadway. As well, SkyTrain passengers can expect trains to use one track in both directions around the area where work is happening during key times.

A full road closure on Broadway is planned for Saturday, September 30 and Sunday, October 1. We encourage vehicle traffic to avoid this area as detours will be in effect and will result in delays.

We thank everyone for their patience as we complete these much-needed upgrades to Commercial–Broadway Station.

An update on construction in photos

Want to learn more about the Commercial–Broadway Station Upgrades? Visit translink.ca/commercialbroadway.

Author: Allen Tung

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 »

Metrotown bus stops on the move

Do you take the 49 or the 116 to or from Metrotown Station?

Good news! Starting September 4, the 49 Metrotown Station/Dunbar Loop/UBC and the 116 Edmonds Station/Metrotown Station will stop directly in front of Metrotown SkyTrain Station.

We’re introducing new eastbound stops along Central Boulevard to improve accessibility and make bus and SkyTrain transfers easier and more convenient. You’ll also notice two brand new bus shelters.

Temporary crosswalk changes

From August 30 to September 2, the south pedestrian path between the bus loop crosswalk and the centre stationhouse entrance at Metrotown will close, as we put the finishing touches on the new bus shelters for the 49 and the 116.

During this time, passengers exiting the station can travel east from the centre entrance to cross Central Boulevard at the mall parkade entrance to get to the bus loop. You can also exit the west stationhouse – where the new escalators are located – and head west to the McKay crosswalk.

Your safety is our top concern, so please – no jaywalking! Traffic flaggers and SkyTrain staff will be on site to direct you safely in and out of the station. Read more »

This is why there’s a third platform at Stadium – Chinatown SkyTrain station

The third platform at Stadium-Chinatown Station, in use during the 1980s! The third track is the one on the far left of the photo.

 

A SkyTrain sitting at the third track at Stadium-Chinatown Station.

What’s the third platform at Stadium-Chinatown? Well, if you go to the regular platform to board a SkyTrain, you’ll clearly see there’s ANOTHER platform across the SkyTrain tracks and behind the fence, sitting empty. Have a look at the photo on the right to see what I mean.

 

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

This lady is the voice of SkyTrain

Laureen Regan is the voice behind announcements on the SkyTrain system!

Hop on a SkyTrain and you’ll hear a woman’s voice on the public address system, telling you what line you’ve boarded and what station is coming up next.

Well, that voice belongs to Laureen Regan, president of Regan Productions, a video production company in Calgary, Alberta.

She’s been the voice of the SkyTrain since 2001, when the Millennium Line opened and new station announcements were required. We brought her back again when the Canada Line and Evergreen Extension opened to record additional announcements.

Laureen Regan

Regan heard her voice on the train system for the first time shortly after the Millennium Line began service.

“I took the train and I laughed,” she says. “It was so amazing to hear it—to sit there and go, ‘Oh my God, that’s my voice.’ You remembered when you recorded it. … And everybody has no idea, which makes you laugh.”

Regan came to be the voice of the SkyTrain through her connection to Interalia, another Calgary-based company.

Interalia makes automated voice systems, and knew Regan had done voice work for her own productions in the past. They asked her to do a demo voice for their system, which they were about to show to TransLink for the Millennium Line.

Then, when TransLink bought the Interalia system, Regan was asked to record the real announcements for the trains.

Recording wasn’t too tough.

“Millennium Line is hard to say, I’ve got to say,” she says. “But I don’t remember any of the names being particularly difficult. The challenge sometimes with recording for places you don’t know is that you may not know the proper pronunciation [of local names].”

It’s a challenge she’s faced again over the years.

Regan has also done voice work for the Salt Lake City train system and the BART trains in San Francisco, both through Interalia

The chance to do voice work like this has been a gift, she says.

“It’s not been something that I’ve planned—it just happened. I enjoy it every time I do voicing. I love it.”

Listen to the Podcast

Regan’s interview was conducted as part of the Buzzer blog podcast. Have a listen!

This post originally appeared in the October 10, 2008 issue of The Buzzer. 

I Love Transit week 2017 is coming!!

Our favourite week of the year is quickly approaching! I Love Transit Week! Since 2009, we have shared interesting stories celebrating our riders, transit enthusiasts and all the things we love about transit over the course of a special week dedicated to just that, our love of transit!

In the past, we’ve celebrated I Love Transit with a vintage bus, a marriage and so much more! This year, we have a bus load of more fun transit love, appreciation and stories to share with you.

 

I Love Transit Week will be taking place from October 2 to October 6, 2017 and this year we’re doing things a little differently.

First, we’ve added a theme: Beyond – the future of transportation in Metro Vancouver!

Second, I Love Transit week will provide students in kindergarten through grade 12 free bus travel on any and all bus routes during I Love Transit Week (October 2 to October 6, 2017), you may have taken advantage of this during iWALK in previous years. 

Third,  I Love Transit Camp is back for its fourth year – with a twist. I Love Transit Camp will be held on a soon to be announced weekday in October and we’re launching a fun grand prize contest open to Metro Vancouver classes between grades 3 and 12, along with their teachers/associated staff for a chance to attend this years I Love Transit Camp. We’re also giving the opportunity for 11 Metro Vancouver school classes to win free day passes for their entire class!

Stay tuned…

Make sure to stay tuned to the Buzzer blog and our other social channels in the coming weeks to learn more about I Love Transit Camp and how your class can enter for a chance to win this exciting opportunity!

For the latest info, be sure to check out our social media channels
Twitter – Instagram – Facebook – Buzzer blog

Author: Christina Jakopin 

Your Guide to B.C. Day Holiday Service, Pride, Celebration of Light and more!

B.C. day is August 7 and that means a long weekend packed with events and of course, holiday transit service!

What’s happening this BC Day long weekend?

Honda Celebration of Light

The Honda Celebration of Light is one of Vancouver’s largest and most well-known festivals, and is recognized as the longest-running offshore fireworks competitions in the world. You can watch Canada put on a magical display of light on Saturday, August 5. For everything you need to know about the Celebration of Light, take a look here and here.

Vancouver Pride Festival

Vancouver Pride Week is on to paint the city in rainbows and celebrate the LGBTQ2+ community.

The Davie Street Block Party takes place on Friday, August 4 from 6 p.m. until midnight along Davie Street, between Burrard Street and Jervis Street.

Starting at 11 a.m., the Sunset Beach Festival happens on Sunday, August 6 at Sunset Beach.

One of Vancouver’s most impressive parades, the Pride Parade, takes place on Sunday, August 6 at noon at the corner of Robson Street and Thurlow Street. It proceeds west along Robson Street, then south down Denman Street and finally along Beach Avenue before finishing at Sunset Beach.

Look out for us in this historical, 1937 Hayes Anderson in the Pride Parade!

Harmony Arts Festival

The Harmony Arts Festival is a ten day long arts festival that begins this August long weekend on Friday, August 4. The festival is free and takes place in West Vancouver, along the water between Ambleside and John Lawson Park. The festival features live music, free nightly movies and art displays. To learn more, check out the Harmony Arts Festival website.

White Rock Sea Festival

Complete with live music, a torchlight parade, beachside yoga and fireworks, White Rock’s free Sea Festival takes place from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 5 and Sunday, August 6. For a complete list of activities and more information, go to White Rock Sea Festival.

Service Information

Celebration of Light Service

There will be added service for the finale of the Celebration of Light on Saturday, August 5. For more information on service changes, take a look here and be sure to check out our Buzzer blog post here for everything you need to know to have a fun and safe time at the Celebration of Light!

Vancouver Pride Parade

On Sunday, August 6 SkyTrain will have increased midday service from 8:30 a.m. until approximately 3 p.m. and will then move to the Sunday/Holiday schedule.

The Seabus and the Canada Line will operate regular Sunday hours and service.

Busses will operate regular Sunday hours and service, however there will be route changes to the 5 Robson and the 6 Davie to accommodate the parade route.

B.C. Day 

On Monday, August 7, Bus, SkyTrain, Canada Line and SeaBus services will operate on a Sunday/Holiday schedule. The West Coast Express will not operate.

Transit Tip: Holiday fares will be in effect. You only need a one-zone fare to travel across all zones!

Know before you go! For full detours and maps, visit translink.ca/alerts.
Help us plan your transit trip by using Trip Planner.
Have questions on the go? Tweet @TransLink or call us at 604.953.3333.

Author: Christina Jakopin

What the heat wave means for SkyTrain

Orange is the new… blue? Hazy, smokey morning views over Stadium-Chinatown Station! ^cj

A post shared by TransLink (@translinkbc) on

It’s been hot this week, and we’re all doing what we can to keep functioning and stay cool.

But what about the SkyTrain system? Will it hold up in this heat?

Some rail systems, like TriMet in Portland, reduce speeds during spells of extreme heat. This is because the long sections of rail expand and can push the rail ties out in the process, leading to a “kink” in the rail.

Portland’s is a conventional rail system known as “tie and ballast.” Our SkyTrain is a little different – the rails are on rail pads directly mounted to the concrete guideway, making them less likely to kink. While it’s unlikely any “kinks” will occur, we’ve increased the system-wide inspections our maintenance staff do from once to twice a day, just in case.

Also vulnerable when it gets hot are the electrical substations we have at various locations along the 79-kilometre SkyTrain system.

If it gets hot enough that the air-conditioning can’t keep up, a temperature alarm will go off and we’ll shut down the transformer until things cool off. The good thing is, we have redundancy in the system, meaning we can shut down a substation for maintenance or repairs without impacting service to our customers.

In the case of elevators and escalators, we don’t always have that luxury. If they start to overheat, they’ll shut themselves down to protect their systems. If that happens, we get our “elevating devices” staff out as quickly as possible to ensure we don’t inconvenience people for long.

Remember to check out our 10 heat wave survival tips on transit!

Author: Chris Bryan

2016 Transit Service Performance Review: what are the top five routes in your area?

Last week, TransLink released the 2016 Transit Service Performance Review, a comprehensive look at ridership and service productivity for bus, SeaBus, SkyTrain and West Coast Express.

We know there’s tons of information in there to wade through so we’re back this week to share with you a couple more tidbits about boardings from the report!

What is a boarding?  A boarding is considered each time a passenger enters a fare paid zone using Compass fare media or any other proof of payment.

Read more »

Rogers LTE wireless service expands into New Westminster

Rogers LTE coverage is now live in Columbia Station and through the tunnels! (Photo: waferboard/Flickr)

In a continued partnership with Rogers, LTE wireless connectivity on the SkyTrain has expanded into New Westminster! Starting today, Rogers and Fido customers will now see extended LTE wireless connectivity at Columbia SkyTrain Station and through the tunnels between Columbia and Sapperton SkyTrain stations. This is an extension to the service that was added to the Dunsmuir and Edmonds tunnels last summer!

Enhancing cellular coverage across the Expo and Millennium Line network ­increases safety, security and convenience for customers and operators with the added bonus of no cost to taxpayers.

Customers have told us that connectivity on the system is important and our partnership with Rogers is one way we are working to have a reliable and sustainable network in place.

Stay tuned for more info about more LTE service coming to our Expo and Millennium lines.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Gearing up for a fun and safe Celebration of Light 2017 – Everything you need to know!

Each summer locals and tourists alike make their way to English Bay, the West End and Kits Point to be treated to the spectacular Honda Celebration of Light fireworks.

This year, starting at 10 p.m. each evening, the Celebration of Light will take place on:

  • Saturday, July 29 – Japan
  • Wednesday, August 2 – UK
  • Saturday, August 5 – Canada

More than 20,000 people take transit to and from the event each night, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Keep reading to familiarize yourself with everything you need to know to have a fun and safe evening at the Celebration of Light!

Increased Service

To get you to the fireworks in the safest and most convenient fashion, we have added additional bus and train service. For more information, take a look here.

TransLink Ambassadors

Do you have a question? Wondering which bus will get you to your destination or where the nearest SkyTrain station is? TransLink’s Ambassadors are here to help you! They have oodles of information to answer any questions that you have about the transit system. Word on the street is that they also come equipped with maps of the transit network.

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for our TransLink Ambassadors, dressed in blue TravelSmart golf shirts! They will be out and about, at the Community Engagement Bus and at SkyTrain stations such as Burrard, Waterfront and Granville from 3:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.

Community Engagement Bus

You’ll also want to take in TransLink’s community engagement bus – it’s bright, playful and definitely hard to miss! Outreach teams will be on and around the bus to answer any transit related questions you may have! You can find the community engagement bus at Second Beach from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. each night of the celebrations.

Transit Police

There will be additional Transit Police out and about to ensure everyone gets to and from their destinations safely! Our Transit Police have a mobile-friendly website to make it easy for you to say something, when you see something.

By visiting transitpolice.ca you are able to discreetly report a non-emergency police issue, contact us, download the SeeSay app or text 87-77-77.

 To stay up to date, you can follow along with a couple of our Transit Police for live tweets:

FYI: Since there will be an increase in riders on transit, take a look at our safety tips section to help keep yourself and your belongings safe while on transit.

Stay in the loop!

For more details, visit hondacelebrationoflight.com. For day-of information about the event, check Twitter at: @TransLink, @CityofVancouver, @VancouverPD, @VanFireRescue, @CelebOfLight. You can also follow along by using or searching the hashtag #CelebofLight.

Author: Christina Jakopin