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Video: Going To Town, the 1985 SkyTrain project documentary

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The Going To Town article in the fall 1985 Vancouver Regional Rapid Transit Quarterly magazine. Click the picture to download the magazine PDF!

Note: I’m still on holiday until Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011! This is a scheduled post. (Visit this post [2] for a list of alternate TransLink contacts if you need it.)

Just in time for Christmas, here’s a huge, huge video treat for SkyTrain’s 25th anniversary!

This is Going to Town, a 30-minute documentary shot by JEM Productions for B.C. Transit in 1985. It lovingly details the construction of the line, the 1984 Main Street demonstration, and the final finished product. You can see the Expo/Millennium Line control room in all its original glory, among many other things!

The SkyTrain coverage just scratches the tip of the iceberg, however: the video has some amazing shots of Metro Vancouver in the 1980s, of people boarding the line to reach their destinations, and a guest appearance from James “Quick” Parker of the B.C. Lions.

Plus there’s a killer sax-filled soundtrack, and so many awesome fashions and haircuts that it brings tears to the eyes!

Trivia tidbit: you’ll note that nobody actually ever says “SkyTrain” in the video. The line was officially known as the “Vancouver Regional Rapid Transit Project” until December 11, 1985, when Grace McCarthy, the provincial minister responsible for B.C. Transit, announced the new SkyTrain name. Apparently months of searching by ad agencies, the government, and the public took place to find the name! For more, check out this 1985 Province article [3] about the new name.

As well, here is the fall 1985 Vancouver Regional Rapid Transit Quarterly magazine, which has an article about Going To Town on page 12, not to mention the design philosophy behind the SkyTrain stations, a description of the guideway intrusion detectors, and construction notes on the B.C. Parkway.

It turns out there were six film crews documenting the SkyTrain during the summer! Here’s the quote.

Other productions include Running Man starring Christopher Reeve of Superman fame, Danger Bay, a half-hour weekly adventure series produced locally by the CBC for Canadian TV and the U.S. Disney channel, segments for a North American and European markets Tourism Canada series by Boardwalk Productions, and an Independent Productions Ltd. film covering transportation in British Columbia for showing at the BC Pavilion during Expo 86.

Danger Bay and SkyTrain! Two Canadian icons, together at last :)

A huge thank you to Ian Graham at SkyTrain for transferring this wondrous video to DVD for us all to enjoy! Happy holidays, everyone!