Translink Buzzer Blog

Improved interiors for the new SkyTrain cars!

The new SkyTrain car, sitting on the Stadium Station side track.

The new SkyTrain car, sitting on the Stadium Station side track.

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!

New stanchion arrangement on the new SkyTrain cars.

New stanchion arrangement on the new SkyTrain cars.

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.

New seats

New chair designs!

New chair designs!

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.

Closeup of the new vinyl seat material.

Closeup of the new vinyl seat material.

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

New lights show when the doors are opening and closing!

New lights show when the doors are opening and closing!

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

Four CCTV cameras are in each SkyTrain car.

Four CCTV cameras are in each SkyTrain 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

New seating arrangement!

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!

New light-up electronic maps!

New light-up electronic 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 now closer to the platform.

The articulated joint is now closer to the platform.

The articulated joint is also better designed, to make sure people don’t fall into the gap while next to the platform.

The interior of the articulated joint.

The interior of the articulated joint.

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.

SkyTrain CEO Doug Kelsey.

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!


70 Comments

  • By Cow, May 6, 2009 @ 11:58 am

    Ha, so that’s what was going on! I live near Stadium, and had seen that train sitting there for a couple of days…and then while I was waiting for the trains, I heard it making announcements and chimes.

    Very cool!

    (Strange that the map doesn’t have any Canada Line transfers noted…:) )

  • By Tim, May 6, 2009 @ 12:31 pm

    I hate CCTV cameras. The government always want to “watch” our lives. (no matter if it is live or not)

  • By C.Cassidy, May 6, 2009 @ 2:23 pm

    The new maps don’t have Canada Line transfers on them because the two systems actually never meet.

  • By Trevor Harrison, May 6, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

    I love the lighted map and the recordings drool. is there anyway you can get the actual full recording direct source and make it a wave file (full quality) and make it available for download. I would love to use it in skytrain videos I make. Same with the door chime and any other skytrain recorded stuff? Yes I am a true geek and this train is drool worthy.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 6, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

    Trevor: I’m not sure we can make those directly available! But you can probably grab the SkyTrain chime out of the podcast I did.

  • By Graham Ballantyne, May 6, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

    Did I hear an station announcement for “Woodlands”?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 6, 2009 @ 3:20 pm

    Good ear, Graham Ballantyne :) Woodlands was an anticipated future station on the Millennium Line, to be built between Columbia and Sapperton. (It’s on the Millennium Line promotional map over at SkyTrain’s operations and maintenance centre.) Anyway, I’m not sure why it wasn’t built — this webpage indicates that a nearby residential project fell through and so the station didn’t materialize. I’ll see if I can confirm that though.

    (Incidentally, Woodlands was one of the highest-level trivia questions I asked at I Love Transit Night :)

  • By ???, May 6, 2009 @ 3:20 pm

    If you have the Seabus, why not indicate the Waterfront and Granville Transfer points?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 6, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

    ???:
    I’ve asked and the map shown in the photographs is actually incomplete. A final version showing the Canada Line transfer at Waterfront will eventually be produced and installed (but not Granville, because the Canada Line station is outside and down the street almost a block away).

  • By Sungsu, May 6, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

    Actually, you can get from Granville Station to City Centre Station without going outside, but you’d have to go through the Bay and either Vancouver Centre or Pacific Centre Mall. I wouldn’t call it a transfer point, though, unless the access between the stations were open at all hours the stations are open.

  • By Vitus, May 6, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

    Tim, CCTV cameras won’t prodcast live, they’ll keep and eye out for vandals, and if you or anyone else ever get assaulted or harmed, there will be video footage to help convict those that have offended others.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 6, 2009 @ 4:07 pm

    PS: About the map — the map is actually an overlay, which goes on over the LED light display underneath. So, not exactly electronic. I’ll update the post to reflect this info.

  • By Ron C., May 6, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

    To be geographically correct, the line on the map for the Canada Line (unlit, since the MKII train will never traverse that line) would have to arc from Waterfront above Burrard Station and then down just to the left of Granville Station.

  • By daniel, May 6, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

    can u get a video or an image up of the new LED screens?
    one question for the articulated joint: does the articulation joint hold the 2 cars together or is there a coupler system. cuz on the other m2’s all i see is the articulation joint and no coupler.

  • By David, May 6, 2009 @ 4:52 pm

    Jhenifer – another question. What’s the difference between the 1300 and 1400 model of SkyTrain cars? Why two models?

  • By Alex, May 6, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

    I wonder if there is any chance the current Mark II cars can be retrofitted to have the interior seating layout and stanchions similar to the new Mark II cars. On the current Mark II cars, there isn’t enough stanchions to hold on to, the overhead bars are completely absent, and the 2×2 seating layout makes the aisle too narrow for standees. Hopefully such a retrofit program on the Mark II cars wouldn’t be too costly.

  • By Henry, May 6, 2009 @ 6:18 pm

    Jhenifer, you were saying that the final version of the map will include the transfer point to Skytrain Canada Line Waterfront Station. Now, will that final map include all the C-Line stations too? It should because it promotes a sense of unity of Metro Vancouver’s rail transit system. Also, it gives riders important info, esp for passengers heading for YVR from Burnaby, New West etc. Even though the C-Line runs north-south, I believe there’s room to include them on the map.

    Conversely, will maps on the C-Line trains themselves include E and M-Line stations?

  • By Daniel, May 6, 2009 @ 8:17 pm

    Hi Jhenifer, that’s interesting. Has the wider aisle resulted in less seats overall?

    In Melbourne (Australia) we’re facing problems with train crowding, and one outcome (apart from the government ordering more trains) is that the train operator is testing a new interior layout, which increases standing room at the expense of some seats — which has caused some controversy.

    Pics and video here.

  • By Dan B, May 6, 2009 @ 9:05 pm

    @ daniel:

    The two-car Mark II consists (both old and new) are fixed consist trainsets. The two vehicles which are connected by the articulation joint cannot be uncoupled in the way that standard railway carriages can. (Compare these cars to the ICE trainsets in Germany, the Talgo trains in the US and Spain, the Acela trainsets in the US, or the Japanese bullet-trains). The two cars can be taken apart for maintenance, but they could not operate apart form one another. However, two or more train sets can be coupled together. In theory, passenger trains can have up to 32 cars which are 85 feet long as part of a single trainset without accumulating too much slack. (I’ve ridden on a 30-car VIA Rail train.) SkyTrain is only capable of operating four Mark II cars because of platform lengths and track design configurations, though I believe they can run six-car Mark II trains if they needed to move several empty cars.
    This fixed-consist style design allows the trains to move more quickly with minimal discomfort and tilting.

  • By Phyzz, May 6, 2009 @ 11:10 pm

    also @daniel

    There’s a coupler under the joint, not a full one more just a bar I believe. The joint itself isn’t really meant to take that force if you look at it since it’s (somewhat) flexible.

  • By Tsushima Masaki, May 7, 2009 @ 2:22 am

    I knew I wasn’t crazy when I saw a dark Mark II when I was heading Eastbound past Edmonds. And then I saw it at Stadium-Chinatown. I’m glad there are more places to hang onto. I’m also liking the LED maps.

    @ Jhenifer: Do you know if the Canada Line trains will also use light-up maps?

    @ Henry: The maps in the Canada Line trains on display at Lansdowne Station in April showed the downtown SkyTrain stations.

  • By Dave Hughes, May 7, 2009 @ 3:44 am

    I know it won’t do a whole lot of good, beyond personal satisfaction, but I’m going to throw in my two cents here, regarding the new cars:

    -The new stanchion arrangement. It’s great to finally see a bar down the centre of the train. It’s often uncomfortable for both people sitting down, and those standing up, if a standing passenger has to hold onto a bar above a seated passenger’s head.

    -So far, I am impressed by the new seat material. While I recognize that the dimpled design may be uncomfortable if wearing shorts, they are more cushy, cleaner/more hygienic, and less slippery than most other fabricates that have been used on SkyTrains and buses in Vancouver.

    -The door lights. I’m not a fan of the colour, and I believe that it may actually be painful for weary-eyed riders to have to look at, but the concept is good. I would rather see a darker cover for these lights though, such as a blue, so it is still visible, but less bright and eye-straining. (Though the picture could be misleading.)

    -CCTV cameras. Finally. I’ve noticed these appearing on some buses and existing SkyTrain cars over the past couple months, and I don’t feel as though it is an invasion of privacy. It helps to protect riders both by acting as a scare tactic, and by providing a way to convict those who victimize riders or vehicles.

    -Seating arrangement. While I don’t agree that the current Mark II arrangements limits the standing room in the aisles (and I’m not exactly a small man), I do like the new layout. It reduces the number of vacant seats caused by people who place their bags on the seat next to them, and those who feel awkward sharing a two-seat bench with a stranger.

    -Lighted maps. I love the LED concept, hate the map. Not only should the final map show the Canada-Line transfer point at Waterfront (as well as the stations that fit on the map, ie, City Center), it should also include the B-Line and 145 points, and show the curves like the current maps. They may not be to scale, but they give a sense of perspective, rather than a map that makes Waterfront appear to be directly west of Burrard. Hopefully they’ve used individual LEDs, rather than a set arrangement.

    -The wider joint. I like it, except that it seems wider inside as well, which could cause a problem when joining with old cars that have more narrow passages. (I couldn’t size it up very well from the pictures though, so it could very well be the same diameter.)

    So there’s my rant on the new design.

  • By Phyzz, May 7, 2009 @ 9:01 am

    New and old cars aren’t designed to join at the articulated joints, just at the end couplers. Even the Mark I’s are in married pairs. That’s why two cars in a row are (with a few exceptions) always consecutively numbered.

  • By Phil, May 7, 2009 @ 11:53 am

    I was kind of hoping at the end of the video the voice would start singing “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do…” That’s a good programmers joke.

    Do you think the new dark colours will help keep the trains looking cleaner for longer? The problem with the white Mk II cars was they always looked a bit dirty to me. Same with the buses, the new dark buses always look cleaner on the outside than the old light coloured ones.

    As for the comment about the joints, Phyzz is right, the cars are married pairs so there won’t be a mix of 1 old and 1 new car.

    But this brings up an interesting thought. Why doesn’t Translink contract bombardier to build some special intermediate cars that can fit between the two ends? That way we can have good looking 4 or even 6 (with extended platforms) car trains where you can walk end to end. It would add more room for passengers over the current 2 train setup.

    I had a friend visit from Toronto once, and when she saw a Mark II train she started laughing with the comments, “It’s so small, it’s cute.” I guess when you are used to the Toronto Subway or the London underground, the skytrain does look a bit like amateur hour. I like the frequency that many small trains allow, but public perception does count for something. And is it just me, or in a 2 train set up is one train is always more full than the other?

    P.S. I like the single seats on one side, double on the other. I hope people who don’t like sitting with others keep to the single seats. Even though it looks like less seats overall, I bet if you compared usage on both MK II types, they will have the same number of people actually seated.

  • By JC, May 7, 2009 @ 12:49 pm

    LED display? The new trains are already outdated. Other cities have trains with LCD display that show the name of the upcoming station, cycling to the overall map view. Advertisments and other useful info. We are so behind!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 7, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

    Tsushima:
    Well, judging from this photo of the interior Canada Line car map, they don’t light up when you reach the right station. But the Canada Line cars do have big LED text screens in the front and mid-sections, so you’ll probably be notified of your station that way. (Here’s a picture of the LED screen from reader CJ Stebbing.)

  • By David, May 7, 2009 @ 3:03 pm

    Jhenifer, I’m still wondering about the whole series 1300 and 1400 thing. Aren’t they all going to be identical?

    Phil, you’re not imagining it. In the Vancouver section of the Expo line (where I ride) the west end of the train is always more crowded than the east end regardless of which direction it’s going. The exception, of course, is Waterfront because the trains do a U-turn on the way in.

    This happens because entrances and exits are more frequently located near the west end of stations and is made worse by the fact that we have variable length trains. If you watch people on the platforms they rarely venture beyond the section of the platform where the shortest trains stop.

    Even if all the trains were the same length the location of the exits would still result in more passengers on the western end of trains.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 7, 2009 @ 3:09 pm

    Hang on David, I’m still getting some answers from the SkyTrain folks! I have put together everyone’s questions into one email so it might take a bit to get all the responses. They’re coming soon though — I’ll start prodding people if I don’t hear from them by tomorrow morning :)

  • By amc, May 8, 2009 @ 9:59 am

    The new cars look good. I like how the new colour system matches that of the buses.
    Anyone else notice that the old Translink website address is shown?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 8, 2009 @ 10:20 am

    amc:
    The old TransLink website address does redirect to the new one, so I guess it’s ok for now. I should see if the future trains will have the updated website.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 8, 2009 @ 10:33 am

    I also have some tentative answers to some of the questions you guys have posed — we may get some updated info and answers to the rest of the questions early next week.

    Daniel:
    Yes, the wider aisle has reduced seat numbers from 43 to 33 (including the flip-down hostler seat that faces the end windscreen). But again, it does allow for 10% more people to get in the cars now, and we do know people want more capacity on SkyTrain.

    Phil:
    To your question about middle cars for SkyTrain. It is something we’re well aware of! There are some challenges though — using longer train units would require major changes to the SkyTrain maintenance facility such that a full train could be accommodated within the maintenance building. They would also increase the number of cars removed from service in the event of a defect on a single car. That said, a current TransLink study is looking at the best ways to increase capacity on SkyTrain, including 3-car units that could be joined to 2-car units to create 5-car trains. Not sure when that completes, but I’ll keep you all posted :)

  • By Gordon, May 8, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

    The mark 1 cars are going to be re-furbished- when they are would it be posible to include stantion that hangs down fron the roof in the middle of the car where the inward facing seats are?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 8, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

    Hmmm… I haven’t heard anything about the Mk I cars being refurbished, but let me see what I can find out.

  • By John, May 9, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

    I know the new skytrains increase capacity by reducing seats but why couldn’t translink do both by increase seats and capacity by adding transverse seats (bench style side facing seats)at least on one side instead of one seaters?

  • By Eugene Wong, May 9, 2009 @ 8:54 pm

    Hi Jhenifer. I’m glad to hear that Translink is open to the idea of 3-car trains. I appreciate them being open minded about it.

    Why do they need to change the facilities? Why can’t they just move the train, when they need to fix the “other end”? Do you know what I mean?

  • By Dan B, May 9, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

    @ JC – I heard that! I’d have been much more impressed if we had LED displays like the ones that were installed on the buses. Blind people won’t be able to see the miniature Christmas lights above the doors any more then I can, unless they’re standing directly beneath them. The LCD map would be fine if it were a supplement to an LED display with the written station name instead of the main wayfinding mechanism. A reintroduction of the next-stop chime and line identification chime would have been welcome, too. That feature of the Mark Is alerted passengers that something important was about to be said. After all, that’s why PA systems have an all-call alert tone.

    But anyways, I’m glad that there’s a long and drawn-out technical discussion on here. I knew I couldn’t be the only one who was interested in debating how seemingly innocuous minutiae could be improved.

    I only wish TransLink would seek input on more things of this nature. Forego the abstract polls (would you rate “service” on SkyTrain as a 1 or 10) for something more concrete (1 by 2 seats across the car width or laterally placed seats?). Those things are actually more likely within TransLink’s control than, say, what type of transport system will be used on a new rapid-transit line between X and Y.

  • By Alex, May 10, 2009 @ 9:52 pm

    is it still Laureen Regan doing the announcements?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 11, 2009 @ 8:57 am

    Yep, that’s still Laureen Regan’s voice on the SkyTrain.

  • By Cree, May 11, 2009 @ 9:16 am

    How fast do you think someone will put stickers and “hello! my name is” tags over the CCTV cams? Seriously, having CCTV on trains? In comparison, I have yet to see CCTV cams inside on ANY of the Tokyo Metro, JR lines, private-owned lines, and the like, and Tokyo metropolis population is more than 6x the amount compared to Metro Vancouver

    While the seating arrangements are a far better than the original MKII cars, there’s still room for improvement overall. It should’ve been bench seating (a la MK I) where the 2 seat rows are, again, allows for more standees — crucial during rush hour. And while they shouldn’t make this standard across the board, certain trains should be equipped w/ less seats, or at least a different arrangement altogether. Why didn’t they add a 3rd door per car like the Canada Line trains? (don’t think they’re off the hook either.)

    by JC:
    “LED display? The new trains are already outdated. Other cities have trains with LCD display that show the name of the upcoming station, cycling to the overall map view. Advertisments and other useful info. We are so behind!”

    @JC, very true. each new version of the fleet are simply re-hashed with a tiny tweak to seperate from each other. How about using LCDs to replace the bland maps? here’s an example of the JR Kyoto Line:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/yamagatacamille/3521795887/

    save for the transfer points for Milennium line, Canada Line, and Seabus the LCD would display transfers for Bus Loops depending on station. and as you mentioned, changing back and forth to the overall map and the next station.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 11, 2009 @ 10:27 am

    Minor update: I’m still getting all these answers for you. Staff at TransLink & SkyTrain are working on it. The answers are coming!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 11, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

    Henry:
    About the map. I’m told there is not enough room to put all the station information for all three lines in the interior route map and have it be readable. However, all the stations will have a Rapid Transit Network Map that shows the integration of the system. These maps will located on the ticket vending level at each entrance and at larger stations, there will be additional signs placed near the platforms.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 12, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

    Answers are in from SkyTrain & TransLink! (Watch out, this is going to be a long one.)

    David on May 6, 2009 @ 4:52 pm:
    Jhenifer – another question. What’s the difference between the 1300 and 1400 model of SkyTrain cars? Why two models?

    In order for each MK II car to operate, it must be connected to another car forming a “married pair”. Although both vehicles are very similar in look, there are some equipment and system differences in them that, when combined, result in a functioning MK II train. The latest generation of these MK II vehicles are called the 1300 / 1400 series. Each MK II train is comprised of one series 1300 vehicle (an odd-numbered car e.g. car 301) and one series 1400 vehicle (an even- numbered car e.g. car 302). In this example, car 301 has the common Health Monitor, whereas car 302 has the train radio. With both cars forming a married pair, they operate as a cohesive system sharing and exchanging information.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 12, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

    Alex, May 6, 2009 @ 5:14 pm
    I wonder if there is any chance the current Mark II cars can be retrofitted to have the interior seating layout and stanchions similar to the new Mark II cars. On the current Mark II cars, there isn’t enough stanchions to hold on to, the overhead bars are completely absent, and the 2×2 seating layout makes the aisle too narrow for standees. Hopefully such a retrofit program on the Mark II cars wouldn’t be too costly.

    There is no plan currently to change the existing MK II seating layout. TransLink would have to decide this is financially justified. In addition, strong support from future passengers on the new fleet would be needed. We are pleased to hear your positive comments on the new interior.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 12, 2009 @ 1:25 pm

    John, May 9, 2009 @ 2:40 pm
    I know the new skytrains increase capacity by reducing seats but why couldn’t translink do both by increase seats and capacity by adding transverse seats (bench style side facing seats)at least on one side instead of one seaters?

    Transverse seats have proven unpopular with passengers on the older MK I trains, for reasons of privacy (e.g. passengers staring at each other) and tripping over feet. There is little real capacity gained by bench longitudinal seats. The other problem, experienced in other cities, is passengers slipping along the bench into each other when the train suddenly brakes.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 12, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

    Cree, May 11, 2009 @ 9:16 am
    While the seating arrangements are a far better than the original MKII cars, there’s still room for improvement overall. It should’ve been bench seating (a la MK I) where the 2 seat rows are, again, allows for more standees — crucial during rush hour. And while they shouldn’t make this standard across the board, certain trains should be equipped w/ less seats, or at least a different arrangement altogether. Why didn’t they add a 3rd door per car like the Canada Line trains? (don’t think they’re off the hook either.)

    For the first part of your question about bench seating, see the previous answer above.

    For the second part of your question – actually both the old and the new MK IIs have 3 sets of doors per side, similar to the Canada Line cars. The only difference is that the MK II doors are wider and outside hung, to maximize interior space and speed up loading.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 12, 2009 @ 1:39 pm

    By Eugene Wong, May 9, 2009 @ 8:54 pm

    Hi Jhenifer. I’m glad to hear that Translink is open to the idea of 3-car trains. I appreciate them being open minded about it.

    Why do they need to change the facilities? Why can’t they just move the train, when they need to fix the “other end”? Do you know what I mean?

    The SkyTrain maintenance facilities in Burnaby are currently being expanded because the fleet is increasing in size by 30%, regardless of train consist size. Moving different length trains within these facilities would not pose insuperable difficulties, as the correspondent points out.

  • By Dan B, May 12, 2009 @ 9:59 pm

    Thanks for that information on the rationale behind the seating layouts, Jhenifer. For some reason, I figured that a longitudinal seating arrangement would provide more seats. I should know better, as I’d wondered about this when it came to buses, only to find out that it makes no difference after seeing two different arrangements for rear seats on the low floor buses.

    I’m also glad to hear that it might be possible to add a “middle” car to the MK II consists at some point in the future. Of course the 4-car MK II consists already use up most of the platform as it is (like you already said). It would be interesting to see 5 car consists (2 x 3 sets). The two car units would sit out of service except for rush hour when they’d be attached to a 3 car unit to make a 5 car trainset, mus as the 4 car trainsets work now (since they don’t break trainsets apart mid-day during normal service).

  • By Ian S., May 13, 2009 @ 1:30 am

    If the new cars are designated Series 1300/1400, what is the designation for the original 60 Mark II cars?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 13, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

    Ian: The original order of sixty MK II cars was the 1100/1200 Series.

  • By Snoopy, May 18, 2009 @ 4:39 pm

    I had a look at the floor plan of the new Skytrain cars and I like it now that are fewer
    seats which increases accessiblity for passengers in wheelchairs like myself. There is
    a slight problem with the stanchion in the cars
    which would be awkward for wheelchairs and bicycles providing less room in the doorway for
    everyone especially during rush-hour! As a full-time transit user; the Mark I’s are easier for wheelchair access because there’s no bar in the middle of doorway so the Mark II’s should have the bar removed to improve access!

  • By Jayden, May 26, 2009 @ 8:39 am

    “Transverse seats have proven unpopular with passengers on the older MK I trains, for reasons of privacy (e.g. passengers staring at each other) and tripping over feet. There is little real capacity gained by bench longitudinal seats. The other problem, experienced in other cities, is passengers slipping along the bench into each other when the train suddenly brakes.” You have got to be kiddig me about the privacy part, your in PUBLIC how do you expect privacy in a PUBLIC area? This only encourages more mobile phone talkers to talk so loud on their phones when they feel like their in a private place, and tripping over feet? those people have to be increadably drunk or clumsy, as for sudden breaking and people slipping there could be an arm rest added in between the seats like the one seen at movie theathers…. I feel like translink is just making poor excuses for their lack of effor on their part or trying to accoimadte to people with social behavioural problems.

  • By Kewl, May 27, 2009 @ 9:05 am

    Well said Jayden. If no one wanted bench seats, they would go empty. That is not the case. For those of who don’t care or have plus sized figures, the double seats are just not practical.

    The pleasure of the Mark 1’s is there is standing room down the aisle where one can pass one another, especially with luggage or backpacks.

    Canadian Tire does sell optional safety toes for $49 (they do work!).

  • By John, May 31, 2009 @ 11:36 am

    I have to agree with Jayden and Kewl I can see why sideways arrangement working for dC metro because their cars are longer and wider(23m length by 3.0M wide), we should use or lack of spacing more efficiently (18m length by 2.4M width) by opting for bench style more like London underground with the arm rest in between the seats so people don’t slide over to the next person from sudden breaking. And the only reason bench style was not popular in the expo line was because the seats were too small and too close to other people and plus that stupid handle bar right in between people made it uncomfortable. The problem was not the bench style. But rather the style of the bench. Translink should research other more comfortable bench styles that could work effectively, by going to other countries and checking out how their system works and implementing and modifying it to work for our system.

  • By Elfren Ordanza, June 13, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

    Wow, the new light-up maps is pretty good. It actually helps deaf people to know what station are they at, its pretty awsome. Oh and talking about the door lights it is great to have those to let deaf people know that the doors are about to close. And for the destination sign, it is good for the deaf people to know which line this train is going through. There are some pretty cool features in the new Mark II trains. The design looks cool, which matches the buses but not all of it.

  • By Kin L., July 4, 2009 @ 6:49 pm

    I think the MK I and II can be coupled.
    I see trains all the time and the connectors are the same.
    But since the MK I and MK II were produced at different times, they still may differ.

  • By Jackdaniels, January 14, 2010 @ 5:21 am

    a good example of an effective space saving seating.
    http://static.flickr.com/77/198656181_dfa95bab48.jpg

  • By Jackdaniels, January 14, 2010 @ 5:22 am

    plus a place to put things above. link above.

  • By skytrainboy22, January 18, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

    Do you know which website to download the skytrain announcements? Cause there was a podcast about the voice of the skytrain and the skytrain chime.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, January 19, 2010 @ 8:57 am

    skytrainboy22:
    Here’s the blog post about the SkyTrain chime.

  • By skytrainboy22, January 19, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

    I was asking for the skytrain announcements not the skytrain chime. I was just using the Skytrain Chime podcast as an example. I was asking if you can download the skytrain automated announcements from a website.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, January 20, 2010 @ 5:42 pm

    Oh, sorry. No, the announcements can’t be downloaded anywhere.

  • By skytrainboy22, January 31, 2010 @ 11:59 am

    oh ok

  • By Frankie, March 16, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

    When did the Mark I trains stop operating in two-car married pairs.. rather than the four cars we see now?

    Also, when were the carpets removed.. do photos still exist of those? And same question about the red seats… why did they disappear?

    Sorry for being caught in 1986 upstairs, its just so few of us lived in Vancouver when SkyTrain was brand new.. and there is nothing on the internet concering photos of it being built, or what it was like during the 80s etc… it would make for some really good historical interest if anything.

  • By ;-), March 16, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

    On wikipedia it states….

    Before the Expo Line was extended past Scott Road Station, trains ran almost exclusively in two-car pairs except during high peak hours and major events such as Expo 86, when four-car trains were used. Increased ridership following the phase III extension of the Expo Line to King George changed train configurations to an increased usage of four-car units, with two-car units being used during early morning and late evening low passenger volumes. Six-car configurations were introduced for special events and usage under BC Transit’s snow-plan operations. Following the opening of the Millennium Line, two-car pairs ceased revenue service due to an incapacity to handle Vancouver’s rapidly growing population and expanding ridership. Two-car “single/married” pairs now only occur when train sets must be separated because of technical complications, during track testing, or when trains undergo servicing and repair work at the Edmonds Operations Yard in Burnaby. Following the expansion of the fleet of Mark II cars in 2010, Mark I trains are expected to be operated mainly in a six-car configuration as opposed to the current four-car configuration.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 16, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

    Frankie:

    Here’s the answers from Ian Graham, the operations manager at SkyTrain.

    1. A brief history of SkyTrain train lengths. From the beginning of the operation in January 1986, SkyTrain operated daytime service with 4-car Mark I trains to provide adequate capacity at our target 5-minute frequency. In the early years (post Expo) we operated 2-car trains on Sundays, and some evenings, in order to maintain the 5-minute frequent service off peak without excessive capacity and related vehicle operating cost. I think we phased out the 2-car Sunday operation in around 1988 (give or take) in response to complaints about overcrowding (i.e., success!). Automated coupling and coupling had some limitations (had to be done in the yard, and wasn’t 100% reliable), so the fleet reductions weren’t always consistent.

    For many years 4-car trains became our standard because we could operate a frequent service during peak hours — about 150 sec. in the pre-Millennium days with the fleet (114 cars with the initial line to New Westminster; 130 cars after the line was extended to Scott Road in 1990; 150 cars after the King George extension) — without excessive capacity during the evenings and weekends. The opening of GM Place (in whatever year) also brought a big increase in the number of special events (hockey, concerts, and the short-lived trial of basketball) which required extras capacity many evenings. We operated 6-car trains (with reduced frequency) for a time in 1990 due to some technical problems after the extension to Scott Road, but reverted to 4-car service when those were resolved. We have also operated the longer trains for capacity on some occasions when track maintenance (generally on weekends) reduced the operating frequency.

    With the acquisition of the initial 60 larger Mark II cars in 2002 as part of the Millennium Line extension we chose to operate them mostly in 2-car trains (capacity ~260 passengers). This was a reasonable match to the 4-car Mark I (~320 passengers), allowing us to provide good off-peak service on both branches of the line (6 minutes each on Surrey and Millennium mid day and evening) and even better service (3 minutes) on the inner portion between Waterfront and Columbia, while sustaining a practical operation during peak hours (55 trains in service, with a 108 sec. between Waterfront and Columbia).

    With the recent fleet expansion of 48 cars to accommodate ridership growth we have reconfigured most of the Mark II’s (new and old) into 4-car trains to provide more capacity with the same number of trains (55) at the same headway (108 sec.). You will now also see some Mark I’s running in 6-car formation. It’s not a perfect balance of train size, but is the most practical way of delivering maximum overall capacity during peak hours, within a manageable service. With plans for an additional 24 cars at some point (subject to TransLink’s funding capacity) we will likely further increase the number of 6-car Mark I’s in the overall ripple effect of maximizing the number of cars in service and overall service to our passengers.

    2. The carpets were replaced in 1992. They actually lasted for several years, which was longer than anyone expected (and yes, they were the originals except for minor repairs). Nice when they were new, but it goes without much explanation that it was a challenge in the grime and wet of Vancouver to keep them respectably clean. They were pretty grubby at the end; we didn’t save any samples for museum display! The current flooring has stood up well, considering that each of those 114 cars (all still in service, by the way, with 4 million kilometres apiece, and counting) would have carried around 5 million passengers (yes, each) since then.

    3. The red seats? Well, tastes change, and the alternating red and blue seemed rather garish, so the reds were phased out through a combination of normal wear and vandalism. Some of the red seats were painted blue with a vinyl paint to avoid an uncoordinated mish-mash of colour. (You will still see marks of red peeking through the blue on some seats – we didn’t toss out good vinyl just for a colour change.) The red door panels have remained, although car 35 was given a trial mini-makeover about a year ago, replacing those panels with a toned down colour — watch for it if you are a regular rider. (No hidden political agenda on the colour change – an initiative by our maintenance department to see what could be accomplished for a few bucks.) Who knows what the colour fashion will be by 2030 when our latest cars are two decades old?

  • By Hayhay, November 11, 2010 @ 4:56 pm

    I like the MK II train cars. I don’t go on them often as I don’t live in Vancouver. But i’m moving back and I’m really happy. :D

    I (kind of) did a review on Mk I and published it on my site, but eventually my site was lost, I think it was hacked. But here’s the review.
    —–

    SkyTrain Review: MK I

    MK I is the oldest of its kind in the SkyTrain fleet, or whatever you call it. The safety is basic: Emergency intercom to speak to operators, and emergency exit doors between cars. But what I and many dislike are the bench-style seats attached to the walls. It’s comfortable, but uncomfortable in privacy reasons, such as passengers staring at each other, etc. And when the train stops, the passengers sometimes slide on the bench and bump each other.

    It’s okay, but not at it’s best.

  • By Hayhay, November 11, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

    Ok I didn’t make a very good review ↑

  • By Johnny, December 17, 2010 @ 1:58 am

    Why they put a lot of first/second gen. MK II trains on Expo Line than Millennium Line? mostly 3~4 MK I trains on Millennium Line then a MK II train comes

Other Links to this Post

  1. countably infinite » Blog Archive » Improved SkyTrain service on the horizon — May 7, 2009 @ 5:06 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Please read our Participation Guidelines before you comment.