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This is why there’s a third platform at Stadium – Chinatown SkyTrain station

The third platform at Stadium-Chinatown Station, in use during the 1980s! The third track is the one on the far left of the photo.


A SkyTrain sitting at the third track at Stadium-Chinatown Station.

What’s the third platform at Stadium-Chinatown? Well, if you go to the regular platform to board a SkyTrain, you’ll clearly see there’s ANOTHER platform across the SkyTrain tracks and behind the fence, sitting empty. Have a look at the photo on the right to see what I mean.


So why is it there? We asked Ian Graham, operations manager at SkyTrain, back in 2010 and he explained that originally, the third platform provided shuttle service between the main site of Expo 86 and Canada Place, which was the Canada pavilion at Expo.

The SkyTrain link enabled Canada Place to remain part of the Expo grounds, even though Canada Place wasn’t actually at the Expo site. When you reached Waterfront Station during Expo, its platform was actually divided in half with fencing, separating passengers going to Cordova Street from fairgoers heading to Canada Place. With the third track, regular service could continue on the main tracks while this special shuttle service operated during Expo.

Another view of the Stadium-Chinatown third track from the early days.

When the third track was designed, it was thought that the extra platform could be used as an extra boarding point in regular service. However, in practice, it turns out that a third track complicates things more than it streamlines them.

The third track is also not accessible (it only has a staircase), and the entrance at the east lower side is actually outside the station compound on the street below.

The way it is now, it’s not really that useful for regular service. So it’s typically reserved for training purposes, train storage, and special events. But it has been used once or twice on special occasions, like rail replacement work where complicated train reroutes are needed.

Recently, as part of the Capture Photography Festival, we added public art to the third platform from artist Alinka Echeverría. The artwork, Precession of the Feminine, features three-dimensional simulations of ceramic vases fused with archival photographs of women and presented against vibrantly coloured backdrops.

This post was originally published on July 5, 2010. 


  • By metro_van_transit_and_more, August 21, 2017 @ 5:56 pm

    oh i have been wondering this question for a long long time! thank you for the answer!!

  • By war on the car, August 22, 2017 @ 12:21 am

    Not to mention, for purposes of maintaining reliable service, it’s awfully nice having an extra storage track that close to downtown!

  • By Sheba, August 22, 2017 @ 4:18 pm

    Does anyone know which Expo Line platforms are not 80m long?

  • By Allen Tung, August 28, 2017 @ 4:04 pm

    Hi Sheba, all Expo Line platforms are at least 80 metres long.

  • By Sheba, August 29, 2017 @ 9:45 am

    Expo Line Upgrade Strategy – Sept 21, 2010

    2.3.7 Platform Lengths

    The platform length currently provided at most Expo Line Stations is 80 metres. This length issues would enable operations of five vehicle MKII trains with four stations requiring modest platform extensions.

  • By Elfren Ordanza, September 2, 2017 @ 11:18 am

    Can they possibly build an elevator there at the 3rd platform? Would be nice to use that platform for service, especially when there is a late SkyTrain service from Waterfront to Stadium-Chinatown due to rail maintenance upgrades.

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, September 7, 2017 @ 10:20 am

    Hi Sheba,

    I have some info for you! Although we couldn’t pin point the exact four stations mentioned, here’s some more info.
    High priority extensions:

    29th Avenue: Resolved as part of the Compass faregate installation that reoriented the east end access.

    Metrotown: Resolved as part of the station upgrade now underway.

    Other extensions being looked at:

    Commercial-Broadway – an extension could be helpful but the inbound side platform being added will mitigate much of the issue.

    Joyce-Collingwood: Resolved by the upgrade underway.

    Surrey Central: minor issue with the outbound platform being shorter by about one metre due to a wall built to provide surge space in front of the elevator. Can be addressed with higher train stopping precision

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