There was a rather unusual SkyTrain disruption this morning, and I thought you might be curious about just what happened.
Essentially, 17 trains just stopped on the SkyTrain tracks at around 9 a.m., disrupting service for two hours.
Why? Because a problem with the electric motor on one train caused it to “time out,” or lose contact with the central computer.
When that happened, the computer erred on the side of safety and shut the train down. Due to the location of the train, the communication affected 16 other trains and they all timed out. To fix the problem, a SkyTrain attendant had to get on each train and re-enter it into the computer, re-establishing contact.
The initial problem train has now been taken out of service. Something like this happened once before, about 10 or 12 years ago, and our technicians are confident that a repeat is highly unlikely.
During the disruption, however, we were able to make use of the flexibility of the system to keep some service operating. For much of that two-hour period, the Millennium Line was “segregated,” or operating only between VCC Clark and Columbia Stations. For the last hour or so, service was restored between the Surrey stations and New Westminster Station, so that customers were able to complete trips by transferring between trains and/or buses.
So, there it is, just in case you were wondering!