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

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.
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.