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Happy 32nd birthday, SkyTrain!

SkyTrain bursts through a banner on its very first day in service: Dec 11, 1985!

It’s birthday time, again!

Thirty-two years ago today, Premier Bill Bennett proudly announced the opening of SkyTrain, forever changing the face of transit for Metro Vancouver! Rides were free for the first eight days while SkyTrain staff worked out any glitches on the system.

According to the Vancouver Sun newspaper, on opening day there were “bands, balloons, political speeches and a crowd of admiring fans” as vehicle 049 smashed through “five colourful banners stretched across the tracks and glided to a halt at Waterfront Station” (“Bands, Balloons, Fans and Glitter,” Vancouver Sun, Final Edition, Wednesday, December 11, 1985).

Nearly a month later, SkyTrain would mark its official launch with the start of regular service on January 3rd, 1986.

Let’s look at some of our major milestones of the last 32 years:

  • 1986: SkyTrain opens for regular revenue service between Vancouver and New Westminster
  • 1989–1994: Three Expo Line expansion projects are built adding service to Surrey with King George as the terminus station
  • 2002: Millennium Line officially opens operating along the Expo Line to New Westminster Station and adding new service between Columbia and Commercial-Broadway
  • 2006: Millennium Line service is extended to its current terminus station, VCC-Clark
  • 2009: Canada Line opens, connecting downtown Vancouver with Richmond and the Vancouver international airport
  • 2016: Millennium Line Evergreen Extension opens connecting the Tri-Cities to the existing SkyTrain system, regional bus network, and West Coast Express

Happy Birthday, SkyTrain!

Photo: Rob Chew/Bob Webster

Photo: Rob Chew/Bob Webster

The 1985 SkyTrain system map


  • By TL Suchs, December 12, 2017 @ 11:51 am

    32 years of breakdowns and chaos at peak hours. Congratulations. Your so called improvments have done little. Busses still show up 4 at a time (#20) and you’re lucky if the #116 shows up to take you to work.
    Celebrate when you have a transit system like Japan or Hong Kong.
    Current status: Joke.

  • By David, December 12, 2017 @ 12:17 pm

    Congratulations Skytrain. I’ve ridden subways in may other cities and I can say that Skytrain is one of the best.

  • By Stefan, December 12, 2017 @ 11:35 pm

    That photo of the CCF-Brill trolleybus passing under the demonstration train at Main Street Station (probably in the summer of 1983?, soon before the Brills’ retirement) is an amazing juxtaposition of old and new transit technology. Wow!

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