Transit’s Secret Spaces: What’s between Edmonds and 22nd Street Station?

Transit’s Secret Spaces: What’s between Edmonds and 22nd Street Station?

Welcome to Transit Secret Spaces, a semi-regular series where we tackle questions our customers ask us. Our aim is to bring light to our operations and provide some fun or interesting tidbits from behind the scenes of TransLink. If you have any questions you’d like answered leave them in the comment section here or send us a message on Instagram.

I have ridden the Expo Line between Edmonds and 22nd Street Station and wondered what the ginormous complexes are on the east side of the tracks are all about?

Read on to find out!

OMC1

OMC1, also known as SkyTrain Operations and Maintenance Centre, is home to one of our four operations and maintenance centres for the SkyTrain network. Well, it’s sort of home to two, but OMC2 is actually located across the street – about a six-car Mark I away. The third location can be found along the Millennium Line and the fourth along the Canada Line.

Different models of SkyTrain cars can be seen lining the dozens of train tracks that surround the property. Two buildings are housed at OMC1, a larger building that serves as both offices and maintenance facilities, as well as a separate outbuilding also used for maintenance.

OMC1 is where trains are washed, waxed, and polished, from their wheels to their windshields they all get cleaned here. That means OMC1 is also a crucial part of our Safe Operating Action Plan during the pandemic, we thoroughly clean all of our SkyTrain cars every night, and a huge portion of that cleaning happens here at OMC1.

Now on to the maintenance part of the name, which of course implies that the trains also get fixed here meaning OMC1 is a major part of how we keep Metro Vancouverites moving to the places and people that matter most.

All 342 of our trains that operate on the Expo and Millennium Lines, from the early 1980’s designed Mark I’s to the sleek and modern Mark III’s, are worked on here by our highly skilled and dedicated technicians. They repair everything on the train cars from interior damage to parts that are scheduled for replacement.

Of those 342 trains a large portion of them are stored overnight at OMC1, but as you’ve probably seen, there isn’t enough room for all of them, so a good portion stay overnight out on the rails in what we call pocket tracks so they are close to stations and can resume service quickly in the mornings.

OMC2

Across the street from OMC1, on Southridge Drive, keen observers will note another facility of some interest, with a large security booth and arms blocking the driveway to the parking lot. Talk about secret spaces, it definitely has the air of mystery about it for the curious.

OMC2, another facility operated by BCRTC, has a slightly different purpose than OMC1.

The building was originally owned and operated by Bombardier and was used to manufacture the Mark II SkyTrain cars until BCRTC was formed. Currently it acts as a staging ground for all new SkyTrain cars being delivered to us, as well as other maintenance projects as needed, like the Mark I refurbishment project.

So hopefully, next time you take a SkyTrain trip between Edmonds and 22nd Street Station, you’ll have a different perspective of what you see when you look out the window!

Did you know what this secret space was before this post?