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SkyTrain turns 25 years old on December 11, 2010!

SkyTrain turns 25 years old on December 11, 2010!

SkyTrain bursts through a banner on its very first day in service: Dec 11, 1985!
The caption from the Quarterly magazine: Premier Bill Bennett and his wife Audrey were at the centre of throngs turning out in Vancouver, Burnaby, and New Westminster for SkyTrain launch. Photo by Ric Ernst. (Click for a much larger version!)

SkyTrain reaches a huge milestone on December 11, 2010: on this day 25 years ago, the system launched into service!

To be specific, December 11, 1985 actually marks the first day that SkyTrain entered free service—the system was launched with huge fanfare and eight non-consecutive days of free rides, before officially going into paid service on January 3, 1986.

But a launch is a launch, and December 11 is when Premier Bill Bennett cut the ribbons and declared SkyTrain open, so here we are celebrating 25 years of SkyTrain today :)

To celebrate on the blog, I have a download of the Winter 1986 edition of Vancouver Regional Rapid Transit Project Quarterly for you! It’s a glossy publication that chronicled all the stages of SkyTrain’s construction, and this edition is all about the December 11 launch and service during Expo. Grab it here:

There’s some great photos of the SkyTrain, and some fantastic facts. Did you know there was a SkyTrain time capsule at New Westminster Station, to be opened in 1985 2085? Or that SkyTrain only offered six hours of service on Sundays when it started? Plus here’s a great description of the opening days:

During eight “free-ride” days, people flocked from far and wide to ride the 22 kilometre automated rapid transit linking Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster. Trains were filled to beyond design capacity with people trying out the new system. Lineups, sometimes three blocks long, were seen at some stations. During these special days, the fledgling service carried 60,000 people during a nine-hour day.

We’re up to over 240,000 rides during weekdays today—how far we’ve come!

Share your memories too

Rest assured, I’ve got more historical items to share over the upcoming weeks to celebrate 25 years of SkyTrain. But I’d love for you all to join in!

If you have any old SkyTrain items, photographs or memories to share, please send me a note at thebuzzer@translink.ca. I’d be happy to showcase them on the blog and in the print Buzzer. Don’t be shy—send in your stuff, no matter how bad your hair might look in the 80s :)

And to inspire you, here are a few past posts with more SkyTrain historical treats: