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What happened to the Mark IV?

What happened to the Mark IV?

As you may have heard, we recently unveiled a mock-up of our new Mark V SkyTrain cars. The new design was based on feedback we received from a 2019 public consultation survey. The new trains offer more flex-space and will have bike racks, intuitive information displays that will display transit alerts, and new accessibility features like indicator lights to alert passengers when doors are closing with the first of these trains set to arrive in 2023.

But since our big unveil, one question was commonly asked: “Why isn’t it called the Mark IV?”

Great question! The answer however is a little tricky. Ultimately, the name/number designation is primarily for internal purposes so operations and maintenance can easily distinguish between the fleet. In fact, it’s not uncommon for organizations with large fleets to skip numbers in this way. As with our Mark I refurbishment, there may come a point where we do some similar upgrades to our Mark IIIs in the future. Should that take place, the Mark IV title may be used for the upgraded trains to really complete the set. That said, the Mark IV name might never be used at all, so if your heart is set on Mark IV, you have our permission to run… err… ride with it! We won’t tell anyone!

Helping us stay organized

The Mark V SkyTrain designation is largely for internal purposes. It will assist with organization and help draw a clearer line between generations of cars. Keeping track of hundreds of cars built over the course of the last 35 years can prove difficult. Generational designations and organized numbering schemes help us stay organized.

The Mark V name will also help us stay organized by bringing our numbering convention in line with our train generations.

For instance, our Mark I trains are all numbered between 001 and 199. This means that first-generation trains always start with either a zero or a one, making it easier to group them together. After that, we designated all of our Mark II trains from the early 2000s in the 200’s. When we ordered more Mark II’s in 2009 our naming convention went a little off the rails. Those trains were numbered in the 300’s despite being Mark II’s.

From there we numbered our Mark III’s in the 400’s, which will be appropriate if and when they’re upgraded to Mark IV’s. When the Mark V’s arrive they’ll be numbered starting at 501, bringing us back to our old naming convention.

A bit more on the Mark V SkyTrain

The reaction to the reveal of the Mark V was enthusiastic, to say the least. It’s one of our most popular social media posts ever, and it was picked up by media outlets like the CBC, and Daily Hive. Along with the enthusiasm came a few questions. Here we’ll take a moment to address the most pertinent ones.

First, we were asked why we have a new generation of SkyTrain cars coming so quickly after the Mark III’s came into service in 2015. The Mark V’s aren’t expected to come into service until 2023 at the earliest. That means it would be a solid eight years between generations. The gap between the first Mark I’s (1985) and the first Mark II’s (2002) was 17 years. Then 13 years until the Mark III’s were introduced in 2015. It should be said that both the Mark I’s and Mark II’s had “second generations” where we brought in new versions of the same model of trains. New Mark I’s arrived into service in 1995 and new Mark II’s in 2009.

What about the Mark I SkyTrain Cars

Many of you asked what will happen to the older Mark I cars. The current plan is to have the new Mark V SkyTrain coming into service to replace the older Mark I’s. The Mark I’s have served our system valiantly for over 35 years now, but alas, nothing lasts forever.

What about bikes on SkyTrain

We were also asked about how bicycles would fit onto the trains. We’re actually testing three different models of bike racks to help secure your wheels for you while you ride. One possibility is a stand-up rack which would minimize the footprint of the bike. Other options are straps attached to rails and a clamping mechanism to pinch the front wheel.

What about free WiFi

Another common question was the future of free WiFi on these trains. We’re happy to say that alongside Shaw Communications Inc. we’re going to continue to expand our WiFi program. Free WiFi is planned to be available on all of our vehicles by 2026.


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