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SkyTrain history: a little more Charles and Diana

Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales at Patterson Station in 1986.

Aha — I’m pleased to present a story from Ven Rao, one of the SkyTrain attendants lucky enough to staff the train Princess Diana was on in 1986!

One of my fondest Skytrain memories was when I was one of the STAs selected to ride the train when Lady Diana and Prince Charles visited our city in 1986 or thereabouts. It was a wonderful experience to see royalty closeup and the fond memory still lingers on due to Diana’s death.

There were several STAs selected to ride each car. It was one of those anxious moments when we waited at Patterson inbound hoping our train will run without any problems. That morning, I am not sure of the exact date, the Royal couple officially opened a children’s playground at Central Park near Swangard Stadium, and following that they rode our SkyTrain. The very moment as they were coming up the escalator, we could hear all the clicking of the cameras by the news media people.

Once on the platform they were greeted by the then President of BC Transit Mr. Stu Hodgson. Indeed it was a moving experience to see the young royalty from closeup. We were given the protocol not to extend our hand, unless they extend to do the handshake. I recall Prince Charles was dressed in a suit and tie, while Diana was wearing a pearl white dress. Flowers that were given to Diana during the ceremony at the park were left on the train, we all shared and took them home. I remember taking a yellow rose and giving it to my wife.

Thanks to Jennifer Siddon from SkyTrain for passing along Ven’s story and the additional photos of Charles and Diana above. You can also see a couple more photos below of the prince and princess at Expo sent along by Jennifer, although this time they’re not at a SkyTrain station!

Princess Diana at Expo.

Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales at Expo.


13 Comments

  • By SkyTrainLady AKA Jennifer Siddon, February 2, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

    I love the part at the end where Ven talks about taking one of the roses from Diana’s flowers – home to his wife…not to mention his memory of hearing all the cameras clicking as Charles and Diana approached the SkyTrain platform. Thanks for posting this Jhenifer

  • By Carrie, February 2, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    What a remarkably beautiful beautiful woman Diana was. Goodbye England’s rose.

  • By Jason V, February 2, 2011 @ 11:47 pm

    BTW, it’s Hodgson.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Milton_Hodgson

    Great photos, as always!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, February 3, 2011 @ 9:38 am

    Thanks Jason. Fixed!

  • By Sewing, February 3, 2011 @ 10:56 am

    Off topic, but following Jason V.’s link, it turns out that Mr. Hodgson has had an illustrious career. Not only was he the CEO of BC Transit, but he was a decorated WWII vet, innovative commissioner of the NWT, founder of the Arctic Winter Games, and holds the Order of Canada, among other things. Who better to have represented our transit system to visiting royalty?

  • By Sewing, February 3, 2011 @ 11:12 am

    It turns out he also jumpstarted the initial restoration work on interurban #1231, before the Downtown Historic Railway started; and also acquired two old PCC streetcars from Toronto. (What’s happened to them?)

  • By Ian S., February 4, 2011 @ 11:43 pm

    @Sewing: I last saw ex-Toronto PCCs 4339 and 4352 on parked flatbed trailers at the foot of Savage Road in Richmond. It was Canada Day, 1993. Given that they had aluminum bodies, I’d say they were on their way to being recycled as beer cans.

  • By Dave, February 7, 2011 @ 10:51 pm

    Weird. There is no ‘down’ escalator at Patterson station, just a single solitary ‘up’ one.

  • By Bill Kinkaid, February 9, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

    @Dave – Joyce also has only an up escalator, and I think several other stations are similar. 29th Avenue has no escalator at all.

  • By Bill Kinkaid, February 9, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

    Okay, going back and rereading I realise what you were getting at. I suppose the Prince and Princess of Wales were worth reversing the escalator for! It makes a better shot than photographing their backs on the way up. And I doubt there were any plebes allowed in the station that day.

  • By Dale Guthrie, February 25, 2011 @ 11:26 am

    THANK YOU so much for sharing this amazing photos of Princess Diana during her visit to Vancouver. These are true treasures for my collection.

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