Finally, I’m able to share info about the improved interiors for our new SkyTrain cars!
If you don’t know about it, the train pictured above is one of the 48 new Mark II 1300 and 1400 series SkyTrain cars. These 48 cars will be in service by the end of 2009, boosting capacity on the Expo and Millennium Lines by 30%. (Most of these cars are still being built by Bombardier – we only have 6 cars (3 two-car trains) on hand right now.)
We debuted the interiors with a little media event at Stadium Station this morning (a few friends of the Buzzer blog were also able to attend :)
Just as a side note, this new SkyTrain car will be on Stadium Station’s side track for the next while, so attendants can be trained on its new features. So if you’re rolling through the station, you’ll definitely catch a glimpse of it!
But enough dillydallying – on to the interiors! Remember to click on all the photos for much larger versions!
New stanchion arrangement
First, if you’re hungry for an overview, here’s a PDF that lists all of the new features with a diagram. I’ll review them all below with photographic evidence though!
The new cars feature a new stanchion arrangement. (Stanchions are the poles you hang on to.) In this picture you can see that there is a stanchion now running down the centre of the ceiling, providing many more handholds! They can also double as a guide to the exits for those with sight impairments.
As well, the floors of the cars are lower, providing a platform-friendly entrance.
The new SkyTrain also has new seat material, which you may have seen on some buses already. It’s a type of vinyl that’s also quite cushy and padded. Since it’s vinyl, it’s easy to clean – in comparison, cloth seats cost roughly an extra $100,000 to clean over a year’s time.
Here’s a closeup shot of the vinyl. It took a long time to find this material and we are very proud of it!
New door indicators
There are now visual door close indicators (lights) located inside each set of doors. They flash when the doors are about to close, and light up when they are open.
Four CCTV cameras in each car
Every new SkyTrain car has four CCTV cameras inside. The cameras provide a recording of what is happening inside the car, and tape can be pulled if an incident occurs onboard a vehicle. They’re not monitored live though, although SkyTrain control does monitor the outdoor platform cameras.
New seating arrangement
There’s a new seating arrangement in the cars: rows of single seats across from rows of double seats. The wider aisles let roughly 10% more people on board, and provide more room for wheelchairs, strollers, and bicycles.
The new cars also have new flooring with anti-slip properties – some kind of rough grippy traction, as far as I could tell. (They’re shiny in this photo because they’ve just been cleaned – usually they’re matte.)
This video clip that might show the seating arrangements and stanchions better.
New light-up SkyTrain maps!
There are also new
electronic maps that light up as you go from station to station – probably my favourite feature of the bunch. Clarification: The map is actually an overlay, which goes on over the LED light display underneath—so, it’s not exactly electronic. (Hey, you can see the door lights in the bottom right of this photo!)
Here’s another video clip demonstrating the light-up functionality of the maps. Ron, the SkyTrain attendant on hand, cycled the announcements through all its pre-recorded messages too – I’ve never heard the ones at the end!
Better articulated joint design
The articulated joint is also better designed, to make sure people don’t fall into the gap while next to the platform.
And here’s an inside look at the articulated joint. That floor is pretty great – kind of looks like a Star Trek transporter, no?
So that’s it! There are a few more items – improved heating, ventilation, and air conditioning – but those are sort of hard to show on a blog :)
When will the cars go into service?
SkyTrain CEO Doug Kelsey was on board and he said the first new SkyTrain would go into service in about a month.
As well, when the new train goes into service, it’s actually not considered officially in service yet. It needs to be on the system for 2000
hours kilometres without any problems to be considered fully in service. So it’s sort of a beta test when the car appears on the system — bugs are still being worked out!
Just one two-car train pair will go into service first, and then the rest will be added after that first train has been thoroughly run through its paces. (That way we can identify and correct any issues with the first train, and fix them all ahead of time on the rest of the cars.)
I can’t wait to see them on the system!