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SkyTrain history tidbits: memorabilia!

The certificate given out for riding the prebuild, Main Street SkyTrain demonstration line! Scan kindly provided by Rob Chew.

SkyTrain tickets from 1983, 1986, and 1996! Scans courtesy of Rob Chew.

While I do have more video and photos lurking around, I don’t want to overlook sharing these memorabilia tidbits from the launch of SkyTrain 25 years ago!

Transit fan Rob Chew kindly shared these items with me a while back, and I think you’ll quite enjoy them.

Above, Rob scanned in the first rider’s certificate from the Main Street demonstration track. Staff also received an appreciation certificate that looks virtually identical: see the certificate here!

And of course, here are some classic tickets!

Rob sent along scans from the 1983 demonstration line, the 1986 first year of service, and the 1996 10-year anniversary. Boy, how times and prices have changed—just think of how much a movie cost way back then too!

(Also, if you’re so inclined, you can grab larger sized images of each ticket here — 1983, 1986, and 1996.)

The commemorative token set produced by BC Transit for SkyTrain's launch. Scan thanks to Rob Chew!

As well, here’s a scan of the commemorative token set that was produced for SkyTrain’s launch. I believe you could use the tokens in the new ticket vending machines at the time! Each token shows a different side of BC Transit’s system at the time: SkyTrain, trolleys, SeaBus, the new HandiBus accessible transit service, and the original Main Street demonstration cars. You can also see the back of the token set here.

The first day certificate from the Surrey SkyTrain extension launch in 1994! Scan courtesy of Rob Chew.

And last but not least, Rob sent along the certificate from another significant launch: the extension of SkyTrain into Surrey on March 28, 1994!

If you have any memorabilia to share, please feel free to send me an e-mail. As well, view the rest of the SkyTrain 25th anniversary history posts in the Transit History category!


  • By Sewing, January 19, 2011 @ 10:33 am

    Great stuff.

    I must have had that certificate at one time, but I got rid of it years ago. Not to mention old transfers, bus schedules, etc.

    I also had every single Transit Guide from 1985 to the mid 90s (with a few exceptions), but then threw them all out in a fit of housecleaning zeal one day, only to regret the decision soon after.

    Ah, regrets.

  • By Gary, January 19, 2011 @ 10:38 am

    Yes, I had one of those certificates too. Can’t find it today as it’s been 27+ years since the demo line was running on Terminal Ave. Do you remember the carpeting in the trains? The good old days.

  • By Last351, January 19, 2011 @ 11:36 am

    The cost of a SkyTrain ticket has only just more than doubled since 1986. I think the cost of a movie ticket has triplet!

  • By Sewing, January 19, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

    I remember the carpets…and the door-opening pushbuttons.

    Jhenifer: Ask your colleagues about car 014. It has a couple of special plaques in it, commemorating rides by royalty from Belgium and Thailand.

    According to the January 20, 2006 Buzzer, there is/was also a plaque in that car commemorating a ride by Charles and Diana during their visit to open Expo 86, but I don’t recall ever seeing such a plaque.

  • By Jacob, January 19, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

    There are 2 plagues in car 14, located beside the door. If you look above the 6 middle seats, you will see the brown metal plagues.

  • By Mike, January 19, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

    I saw today that train #233 had very bright white LED headlights. Is this an experiment or is it permanent for headlights that need to be replaced going forward?

  • By Derek Cheung CMBC, January 19, 2011 @ 8:55 pm


    Car 014 has TWO PLAGUES???

    Somebody quarantine that car!

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist…

  • By Jas, January 19, 2011 @ 9:50 pm

    Nice collection, and recollections! I posted the certificate as B&W, in an attempt to highlight the watermark illustration. I’d be curious if anyone knows the name of the artist!

  • By Alan M, January 19, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

    Good job Rob!

    I knew I couldn’t be the only SkyTrain nerd on here!! :)

    Jhenifer: Yes each token was worth one dollar in the ticket machines. Also zone fares were only during peak hours during the week. From 9:30AM to 3:00PM it was just one fare everywhere!

  • By Cliff, January 20, 2011 @ 2:41 am

    I know it was possible for awhile after the new fare machines were installed to still buy the old style SkyTrain tickets at the SeaBus terminal at Waterfront.

    But, because it was technically already in a fare paid zone, almost nobody used it and only those entering through Waterfront Road had any use for the machine. I’m 99% it was replaced a long time ago.

    I wonder what the latest date on one of the old style tickets was.

  • By Graeme, January 20, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

    I remember riding the demonstration line as a kid, when visiting from out of town. I don’t recall any sort of special certificate, though.

    And @Last351: Tripled? More like quintupled. Remember $2.50 Tuesdays?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, January 21, 2011 @ 11:17 am

    Mike: just as an update, SkyTrain has told me that yes, they are doing a test on 233’s lights! I’ve asked if there are any general details they can share: once they let me know I will post again here.

  • By Jacob, January 21, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

    Yes Derek, If my memory is correct, there are 2 plagues in car 14.

  • By Rob Chew, January 23, 2011 @ 9:49 am

    @Jhenifer Pabillano: You’re very welcome Jhen! I used to have a bag full of those 1983 demonstration line tickets. All of them were tossed out over the years except for this one dated July 7th. I still remember that day when going for a ride with one of my sisters & her friends. We were curious about the red ticket machine that sat in front of station. One of the girls said, “Hey, look free tickets!” So we were madly pushing all the different zone buttons & filling up our bags with souvenir tickets. :-) It was less than a year later before the zone system came into effect.

    @Alan M: Thanks Al! Don’t you worry, there are a few more of us SkyTrain geeks out there. You may know Bob W & Wally Y. I’ll have to dig around to see what else they had passed on to me over the years.

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