ALERT! : More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

A SkyTrain cake!

A SkyTrain cake, baked by Paola for her son Lucas!

A SkyTrain cake, baked by Paola for her son Lucas!

Mike W. sent along this photo of a SkyTrain cake, baked by his wife Paola in celebration of their son Lucas’ third birthday. How awesome!

As you can tell, Lucas is a huge SkyTrain fan, and his birthday also happened to be the day that Canada Line opened this year. Here’s what Mike told us about it:

My son, Lucas, had his third birthday party last night and he is extremely excited about the launch of the new Canada Line. He has loved the SkyTrain ever since we lived by the Expo Line. The first thing he said when he woke up on his birthday was “The Canada Line is opening today!”

Mike also had a great story about Lucas and the cardboard SkyTrains we give out (see this post for more on the paper models!)

Lucas with his new toy SkyTrain.

Lucas with his new toy SkyTrain.

We’ve actually made Lucas some toy SkyTrains out of some cardboard giveaways that TransLink provided for us. He was so excited when he got the first one that he slept with it every night. Due to the wear and tear, we then had to create a more solid version of his sky train toy out of wood.

Here’s a picture of the poor worn-out previous SkyTrain, if you’re curious :)

Thanks so much for sharing, Mike!


  • By Shane, September 22, 2009 @ 10:46 am

    I would like to commission a wood SkyTrain toy!

    Actually Jhen – SkyTrain has their whole marketing plan laid out right here by its users! You have the cool video from earlier, and now these wooden Skytrain toys.

    Why doesn’t TransLink have shops like the transit authorities do in other cities? I think Waterfront Station, or the tourism Vancouver office in Waterfront Centre would be the best place for it.

  • By daniel, September 22, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

    i agree thats agood idea

  • By Stephan Scharnberg, September 22, 2009 @ 3:53 pm

    Sell SkyTrain and Canada Line wooden trains that can ride the wood rails children use with the Brio brand and the Thomas the Tank Engine series of wooden toys; wood buses; all kinds of Translink swag, gear, and clothes: help finance the necessary expansions of the transit network.

  • By Sungsu, September 22, 2009 @ 4:23 pm

    Don’t make them all cheap imports. Find local sources whenever possible. “Made in B.C.” goes a long way.

  • By Jim, September 22, 2009 @ 5:44 pm

    If Translink is going to make this sort of thing atlest make the stuff as environmentally sustainable as possible as well.

  • By Steve, September 22, 2009 @ 9:56 pm

    I would buy some toys or other stuff if Translink sold them, just like the Transport for London store here or here

  • By Cliff, September 22, 2009 @ 9:59 pm

    I used to be quite into miniature train sets. I’d probably spend thousands if it meant I could have a SkyTrain train set with all the bells and whistles.

  • By RoundTop, September 23, 2009 @ 10:35 am

    I can imagine. “I just picked up Surrey Central station. It even comes with vandals and cops tasering them.” (Just joking)

    What we need is someone to go onto brickbuilder and make lego sets of skytrain. That way you can order all the right bricks from lego.

  • By Kenny, September 23, 2009 @ 12:40 pm

    I’d like to see model stations with the track for the skytrain and all the little things…:)

  • By ;-), September 23, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

    How about a mini train to run in Stanley Park or Burnaby’s Confederation Park?

    Children of all would be allowed to ride on it.

  • By Pola, September 23, 2009 @ 9:14 pm

    That would be great if Translink think about marketing wooden toy skytrains the same way airlines do with their products. Stephan’s idea should be followed, I bet every child in Vancouver has a brio or Ikea train set. By the way Lucas’s wooden skytrain was designed and handmade by his auntie Liz.

  • By CJ, September 23, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

    Yay! A place to put all my lil cake ppl in!

    Hey! I’d be down with sme type of lego type of skytrain….maybe for the 2010 olympics.

    PS Jhen. The glitch is still going on…it said eric when I was typing this…

  • By Cliff, September 24, 2009 @ 1:14 am

    Putting together Waterfront Station and the special SeaBus expansion kit would be a weekend well spent.

    Seriously speaking though, there’s nothing stopping one from putting together a West Coast Express model train set and scenery. All the trains and parts needed do exist, though some painting would be required.

    I remember those little Skytrain and Bus cardboard cutouts. As a kid, I loved the fact they were designed to be chained together and threw six of them together, making SkyTrain stations out of Lego.

    I must admit, I would like to get my hands on those cardboard cutouts but part of me would be very embarrassed about asking for them.

  • By Cliff, September 24, 2009 @ 1:37 am

    Ah, never mind. I found the website posted in the link above. So many cities! And even cardboard trolley buses!

    There’s a whole market of transport nuts who would dive into this stuff if it were available. Little scale trolley buses would be really cool. Or how about a remote control artic?

    Hey, it’s no real estate venture, but it’s bound to make some money, y’know.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, September 24, 2009 @ 9:35 am

    A TransLink store is definitely something we’re thinking about for the future — and you guys have great ideas for products!

    As far as I can tell there aren’t a ton of transit systems with their own stores out there right now though. New York, Chicago, LA Metro, and London UK have them… Do you guys know of any more?

  • By Stefan, September 24, 2009 @ 11:28 am

    A store is an excellent idea. Apart from memorabilia, it could also sell passes and tickets, toll transponders, etc.; and also provide bus schedules and terminals for connecting to the TransLink website, etc.

    Obviously, like Shane pointed out, it should be somewhere like Waterfront Station—in fact, that’s probably the only logical place for it!

    We don’t have quite the legendary history of transit systems like those other cities (even LA, with the old Pacific Electric “red cars”), but it may be a way to raise some nominal amounts of money. TransLink umbrellas would clear the shelves on a rainy November day!

    During Expo 86, BC Transit had an information centre in Burrard Station, behind the round glass wall across from the payphones, just to the north of the escalators. I don’t know if they sold any memorabilia there, though: it was mainly for the practical purpose of, um, providing information.

    (They also had an old GM or Flyer diesel bus parked just north of Main Street Station with presentation boards inside, though this was more an Expo 86 mini-exhibit than for visitor information.)

  • By daniel, September 24, 2009 @ 5:23 pm

    cliff dont be embaressed i do it all the time. i was nervous the first time too but i got used to it

  • By Alex, September 24, 2009 @ 7:18 pm

    I checked at a model shop and there are some West Coast Express model trains with engines!

  • By Cliff, September 24, 2009 @ 7:56 pm


    Wow. I was fully expecting to have to customize everything myself. I suppose when it comes to railfans they take their accuracy pretty seriously.

  • By Stefan, September 25, 2009 @ 7:24 am

    Oh, by the way…Via Rail (and CN before them) had (or have had?) professionally printed, lithographed cardboard punch-out trains for years as well.

    Back in the 70s, the CN set consisted of an old-style GM passenger locomotive (with the rounded cab in front), passenger car, and one of those full-length “Super Dome” observation cars that is used today on the Rocky Mountaineer. They would give them out to kids to keep them occupied on long cross-country train trips!

    After Via Rail took over CN’s and CP’s passenger services, I think it may have just used the same cardboard set; but then they introduced the same cardboard “LRC” Ontario-Quebec corridor trainset that they were still producing as of a few years ago.

  • By Atom, September 25, 2009 @ 8:36 am

    So… are these Cardboard cutouts, Skytrain Type-T then? Jhenifer, I was wondering what the “TYPE-H” and “TYPE-R” designnations mean for the SkyTrain Mark II trains. I just did a survey comparing these two trains and I couldn’t think of what those letters means. Are there letter designations for the Mark I trains too?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, September 25, 2009 @ 1:30 pm

    WCE model trains! Well, if any of you have the WCE train or a SkyTrain model train set up, I would love to see photos.

    Atom: I’ll ask about the Type H & Type R trains. Or can anyone else out here answer that for us?

  • By Tyler, September 25, 2009 @ 6:13 pm

    I have some West Coast Express Models, They are readily available at a hobby store in Surrey called Pacific Western Rail Systems. They have models of most of the BiLevel Cars eg: GoTransit, Sounder, Coaster etc… I haven’t ever seen a Skytrain model.

  • By Tyler, September 25, 2009 @ 6:16 pm

    When the Millenium line was about to open, and Translink was showing of the Mark II cars at a tradeshow at BC Place, the person I was talking to said something about a Type C car that could extend the Mark II cars to 3 Cars long…

  • By Kin Lo, September 25, 2009 @ 8:37 pm

    @Tyler Do the models have some kind of motor inside? And I was reading Wikipedia and they said they can extend the Canada Line stations to 50 meters. And they can also put a Car-C in the arc. joint.

  • By Tyler, September 26, 2009 @ 2:07 am

    @Kin Lo: Yeah they are N Scale Electric Model Trains made by Athearn. They are a “prototypical” model meaning they are as close as possible in detail to the real thing, except the size. link below

  • By Atom, September 29, 2009 @ 7:34 am

    Tx Jhenifer,

    It just seemed like they just chose random letters… they’re not even alphabetical!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, September 29, 2009 @ 1:34 pm


    Here’s the answer about those Type H/Type R trains in the survey, from our market research team.

    They are not official names for SkyTrain Cars, but simply a way in the research to label the two different train types so that they would be clearly distinguished, as technically both types of trains are Mark IIs.

    So I guess there isn’t really a Type H/Type R!

  • By Shane, October 3, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

    Hi Jhennifer,

    I REALLY think a shop or two would be an excellent way for TransLink to make some money, instill pride and integrate our transit system into the local culture. It would also be great for tourists.

    Services and products:

    * well-made, authentic-looking collectibles toys and figurines of current and historical vehicles (old hydrobusses, trollies, even as far back as interurban train replicas!)
    * collectible-quality maps of current and historical routes (imagine a cool interurban map?)
    * coffee mugs and other stuff people need on transit – quality pass holders/wallets that maybe hold your office building proximity-reader card and transit pass
    * route planning advice, information provided by people who know where attractions are for tourists, and tips and tricks of the system for locals.

    Perhaps it could have representatives from BC Ferries and/or other transportation operators too.

    You also asked about other cities that have Transit shops: Madrid has a shop – primarily for information and route planning and maps. Same with Melbourne AU’s “MetShop”.

  • By ;-), October 3, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

    Perhaps to test market the idea. Why not offer these items online? For a modest shipping cost, we can assess demand before spending money on building a retail front.

    Otherwise why not sell it at your Metrotown building today (where I go to purchase replacement bus passes) or the Lost & Found at the Staduim Skytrain station?

  • By Shane, October 3, 2009 @ 11:27 pm

    The Vancouver Centre station seems to have a tonne of space to put in a shop, but I think the best location is Waterfront Station since so many services converge there.

    Perhaps a standalone kiosk (of course large enough to walk INTO as opposed to UP TO) in the middle of the eastern side of the main building?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, October 5, 2009 @ 9:28 am

    Thanks guys! As ;-) suggested, I’m pretty sure the online route is how we will proceed to begin with. A storefront is nice but requires more overhead, plus staffing costs. Maybe it could happen in the future though!

  • By henrylow, January 30, 2010 @ 3:38 am

    Affiliate Marketing is a performance based sales technique used by companies to expand their reach into the internet at low costs. This commission based program allows affiliate marketers to place ads on their websites or other advertising efforts such as email distribution in exchange for payment of a small commission when a sale results.

Other Links to this Post

  1. Twitter Trackbacks for The Buzzer blog » A SkyTrain cake! [] on — September 23, 2009 @ 9:26 pm

  2. The Buzzer blog » A SkyTrain cake! « metrobabel — September 23, 2009 @ 10:34 pm

  3. The Buzzer blog » Cupcakes for Canada Line’s birthday! — August 17, 2010 @ 2:20 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Please read our Participation Guidelines before you comment.