Buzzer logo

TransLink news, commentary, and behind-the-scenes stories.

Marking the 35th anniversary of SkyTrain

Marking the 35th anniversary of SkyTrain

Dec. 11 marks the 35th anniversary of SkyTrain. Let’s look at some of its major milestones over the last 35-plus years!


The “pre-build section,” which consisted of Main Street Station and 1,100 metres of track along Terminal Avenue is built.


Between June and November, two-car prototype demonstration train operated along first track with free rides to the public, gauging public support and allowing BC Transit to test the system.

Watch “On Track”, a 15-minute film from April 13, 1983, produced by JEM Productions for @BCTransit. The film highlights the events leading to the acquisition of SkyTrain and show it in operation at Kingston, Ontario.


The first SkyTrain cars begin arriving.

📸: Alan M.


On Dec. 11 at noon, the #SkyTrain starts operating between Waterfront and New Westminster stations as part of a free eight-day preview during the month.

Watch “Going to Town” — a 30-minute documentary by JEM Productions, capturing the genesis of the SkyTrain project and its construction.


The #SkyTrain opens for “revenue” service on Jan. 3, ahead of the Expo ’86, which had a theme of “Transportation and Communication: World in Motion – World in Touch”.

A “third platform” at Stadium Station provided shuttle service between the main site of Expo 86 and Canada Place, which was the Canada pavilion at Expo. This allowed Canada Place to remain part of the Expo grounds, even though Canada Place wasn’t actually at the Expo site.

When we first opened, service looked a little different. Our SkyTrain Attendants wore uniforms similar to what you might expect of an airline attendant. Our trains had carpets and the doors had push to open buttons when the train was in a station.

We even ran an education campaign about how to use the system since automated trains were so unique – which featured a Transformer-esque SkyTrain mascot.

SkyTrain car 014 is now known as the Royal Car, with royalty and special celebrity guests having taken a ride here in the early days. One of the first to do so was HRH Charles, Prince of Wales and his wife, Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales.


As part of the extension to Surrey, the SkyBridge was opened.  The main span is 340 metres (1,120 ft) and the total length is 616 metres (2,021 ft). Upon opening, the bridge was the world’s longest transit-only cable-stayed bridge, a title which it held until last year (2019).


The SkyTrain line becomes the SkyTrain network with the Millennium Line’s opening. At that point, the Expo Line received its name, a moniker of its 1986 opening, to distinguish between the different services.


On Aug. 17, the Canada Line opens, connecting downtown Vancouver with Richmond and Vancouver International Airport.


The Evergreen Extension opens on Dec. 2, adding six new stations the Millennium Line and facilitating a change in our service patterns. The Millennium Line now operates between VCC Clark and Douglas–Lafarge Lake stations.

📸: @BCGovNews


Sorry, your website browser is no longer supported.

Upgrade to one of these browsers to visit