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Late-night Expo Line riders: plan for extra travel time after 8pm, starting Sun May 12, 2013

Late-night Expo Line riders: plan for extra travel time after 8pm, starting Sun May 12, 2013

A SkyTrain near Main Street-Science World.
A SkyTrain near Main Street-Science World.

Heads up, late-night Expo Line passengers!

Starting Sunday, May 12, 2013 plan for an extra 10-15 minutes travel time after 8 p.m., if you travel on the Expo Line between Waterfront and King George most Sundays to Thursdays.

What’s happening? We’re replacing 34 km of original power rail on the Expo Line. The power rail supplies SkyTrain vehicles with power, approximately 650 volts DC. The full project is expected to take as many as 15 months to complete.

Check out our news release for more info, or visit for the latest updates.

And please share with friends if they might be affected!

Edit: Lots of people on Facebook have asked why we can’t do the replacement while the service is down, and SkyTrain staff provided a great response—I thought I’d share the answer here too.

It’s just too big a project. It takes significant time to disconnect, remove, replace, reconnect the power rail. There isn’t sufficient time to do this in the 3 hours (or less) that we have on weeknights, and only slightly more on weekends.

In very basic terms the work involves the following:
– power rail sections are 10 m. in length, weighing approx. 200 kg.
– target: 130 metres of double rail (positive and negative) per night – that’s 26 sections of rail.
– old rail is disconnected from insulator posts, and removed.
– old insulator posts (every 2 m., bolted to the concrete) have to be removed.
– new insulator posts installed.
– new power rail sections lifted into place and connected.

There will be a large crew working through the night until about 4:30am, clearing out just in time for the start of morning train service; so we are making full use of the non-service hours.

We have tried to minimize the impact with a lot of pre-planning. The reduced train frequency (and longer waiting time) is the result of trains having to run in alternating directions over up to 4 km. of “single” track between available track crossovers. It’s a bit like those summer highway delays when you have to wait, and be escorted in alternating convoys, around a paving crew.

Train service is being timetabled for each area to get the most throughput, and minimize the chance of delays. Trains should be passing each other on the “normal” tracks on either side

We are making exceptions for large events, and are avoiding the busier Friday and Saturday evenings (although that may be cold comfort for any regular Sunday-Thursday evening users).

Have a look at the Transport For London plans for weekend work, where they shut down major sections of the London Underground and Overground services, mostly on weekends. (They have a pretty good web presence and notification process for this.)


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