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More historic SkyTrain photos from Alan M

A couple of interesting SkyTrain ads! Photo by Alan M.

SkyTrain’s 25th anniversary celebration continues online!

After providing such a wonderful flashback to SkyTrain in 1986, Alan M has sent along some more photos of SkyTrain in its early years.

Alan’s captioned each one so as before, I will just let his words and photos speak for themselves :) Enjoy!

Main Street Station a few months before Expo opens. Photo by Alan M.

Outbound train and Expo Shuttle train at Stadium Station. Photo by Alan M.

The temporary inbound platform at New West. Large enough to accomodate a 6-car train. Photo by Alan M.

Construction has started on the first of many New West waterfront towers. Off in the distance to the left is the newly-completed Alex Fraser bridge. Photo by Alan M.

A 4-car eases into Nanaimo inbound. Notice the original height of the chain link fence that runs the length of the guideway. Photo by Alan M.

Connecting the rails east of New Westminster to the Columbia Station extension under construction. Photo by Alan M.

The first tower stretches toward the sky as work begins on the second tower. Photo by Alan M.

Thanks again to Alan M for sharing such great photos! If you have photos or other items to share, please do drop me a note at

Remember, you can check out the entire Transit History category for more photos, videos, and stories on SkyTrain’s history and more. Happy 25th, SkyTrain!


  • By Sewing, January 26, 2011 @ 11:38 am

    These are great photos! Thanks to Mr. M. for sharing them with us.

    I’d thought that the temporary platform at New West was over the outbound track, not the inbound track. Was that ever the case, or have I misremembered it all these years?

  • By Sewing, January 26, 2011 @ 11:41 am

    On a related note, I’d reasoned from the above that there was also a second crossover going eastbound (from the outbound to the inbound track) that is no longer there. Is this wrong as well?

  • By Bree, January 26, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

    You know, the system looked so astonishingly clean when it was new. They should have kept the no eating policy — was that because of the rugs?

  • By Robert, January 26, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

    RE New Westminster Station, I recall the outbound train going straight into New Westminster Station. From there it would head back inbound using the crossover tracks to get over to the inbound tracks. In the first 2 New West photos, the view is roughly inbound. Direction of train motion is subtly indicated by the head- and tail-lights respectively.

  • By Sewing, January 26, 2011 @ 5:39 pm


    Yes, your description squares with the photo. And the single crossover that is there to this day supports such an operation (unload and load on the outbound track). I recall waiting on that temporary platform to board a train (along with a huge crowd of people…it was probably during Expo ’86). Somehow, I must have got north/south and east/west reversed in my memory (which is odd, because my spatial orientiation is usually pretty good).

    Incidentally, the Going to Town video from 1985 that Jhenifer posted a few weeks ago just shows both tracks wide open, with no temporary platform (and the actors/musicians waiting to board on the outbound platform). It must have been filmed before the temporary platform was installed, but also gives the illusion of a bidirectional through service at New West, several years before it actually happened.

  • By Sewing, January 26, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

    Unrelatedly, the guy in the “Wrong Stuff” poster looks a bit like local radio personality Bill Reiter (2nd from the left in the linked photo). Could it have been him?

  • By ;-), January 26, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

    Click on this link to see the Stadium cross-over tracks (on the right).,-123.107037&spn=0.0026,0.005584&t=h&z=18

    Yes, Canada Place shuttle trains would exit Eastboard to the cross over track near the curve, before reversing direction Westbound for a non-stop service to the Waterfront Station (slowing down temporary at Granville and Burrard).

    While the monorail station and Canada Line shuttle was conveniently close…. exiting monorail did not give you priority access to the Canada Place Skytrain shuttle. You would need to join the queue down the ramp. Yes, there was another queue when you exit the trains for Canada Place.

    Other than the PNE prize home, I think Expo really taught Vancouverites “patience” in multi-hour line ups.

  • By Sewing, January 26, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

    Stadium, yes…I did the monorail-to-shuttle transfer one day. (Then headed right back from Canada Place, because being a youngster, I didn’t have that patience to wait in a huge line-up!)

    It was New Westminster I wasn’t sure about….

  • By andrew k, January 27, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

    wow…main st science world station looks so different without the fences there
    did those get put in after certain unmentioned in local media incidents?

  • By Jay, January 27, 2011 @ 3:12 pm

    Great Photos! Thanks for sharing.

    I never knew about this temporary platform @ New West. Why didn’t they just close off the inbound side at the concourse and utilize only the outbound stairs instead of building such a structure?

  • By Rob C, January 27, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

    Thanks for sharing Al! Brings back a lots of memories.

  • By Jack, January 27, 2011 @ 9:40 pm

    Was the temporary platform at New Westminster Station taken down when Cloumbia STation opened?

  • By Jack, January 27, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

    Columbia Station i mean

  • By Alan M, January 28, 2011 @ 12:59 am

    Andrew K:

    The fence at Main Street was installed as a precaution for when the STA’s were manually driving the trains. If the wrong set of doors were mistakenly opened and some surprised passengers did fall out they wouldn’t go very far.

  • By Alan M, January 28, 2011 @ 1:59 am


    This photo is a little deceiving because the platform is totally empty but with all those busses bringing commuters and Expo passengers into New West Station, there’s no way the regular side-load platform could of held them all! Also the people trying to get off the train would of had a tough time squeezing by everyone waiting to get on.


    The temporary platform was removed a few weeks before the opening of Columbia Station for train testing.

  • By Alan M, January 28, 2011 @ 2:05 am

    Rob C:

    Thanks Rob! I have another set of photos on this topic that went up last month, in case you’re interested! :)

  • By Robert, January 28, 2011 @ 9:31 am

    It is easy to get directions mixed up at New Westminster Station. Outbound trains on average go south and east, however at New Westminster Station (and Columbia) outbound trains are actually heading towards the northeast. See for example:,-122.907636&spn=0.010852,0.01929&t=h&z=16

  • By Rob C, January 31, 2011 @ 9:12 pm

    Alan M: Yes, I saw those ones too! I had goosebumps seeing the Purple Zone entrance to Expo 86 & those two-car Mark 1 trains. I remember how quiet the system used to be on Sun & evenings.

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