The major problem with automatic railways, is that they age poorly or should one say, the signaling and miles and miles of wiring needed for automatic operation, age poorly. A transit system that is well maintained, with lots of expensive preventative maintenance, preforms well as it ages, but if little or no preventive maintenance is done, service quality drops like a stone. The problem is not inherent with SkyTrain as evidence is now pointing to ‘signal failure, with the recent Washington metro accident. When signaling problems happen on SkyTrain, unlike the Washington metro, the system shuts down until the problem is rectified and/or an attendant drives the train (at a slower speed). The result of ongoing problems causing stoppages on SkyTrain means much lower capacities, car overcrowding, greater passenger discomfort and annoyance.
Noon, Monday, July 6
Trouble on SkyTrain right now. TransLink reports a communication problem between a section of track and the central control computer. Trains will be staffed by SkyTrain attendants. But there may be delays of up to 20 minutes at times.
And a little later…………………………….
SkyTrain is currently experiencing delays due to communication problems between a section of track and the central control computer. Trains will be staffed by SkyTrain Attendants, however, there may be delays up to 2-3 minutes at times.
When delays happen, capacity drops and transit customers are left with an inferior service and consider different transportation options. Maybe worn out signaling, causing almost daily delays is the real reason for a billion dollar upgrade to the Expo Line? One billion dollars is more than enough money to fund the valley interurban initiative!
With light rail, signaling issues, due to age, seldom arise and if they do, are fixed with little delay in service.