From the Vancouver Province blog – SkyTrain track replacements to slow service east of Edmonds on weekends

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The SkyTrain light-metro system has always been hard on the rails, which is surprising for the system is non-adhesion, with cars propelled by electro magnetic force. Parts of the line has seen track renewals much earlier and the curve West from Main St./Science World has had the track renewed several times. One wonders if track is being replaced , not because it has become worn out, rather, wear has reduced the height of the rail, making it impossible to maintain the critical 1 cm air-gap between the Linear Induction Motor and the reaction rail. As the railhead wears down, the closer the LIM is to the reaction rail and even 5 mm of rail wear would cause serious problems.

If this is the case, premature track renewals on SkyTrain is another added cost to an already expensive transit mode.

Track renewal is costly and it seems, despite what the blog entry says,this not the first time the entire Expo Line track has been replaced.

SkyTrain track replacements to slow service east of Edmonds on weekends

By Joseph Ruttle Thu, Nov 5 2009

TransLink is warning weekend SkyTrain users of delays during track replacements in November.

Riders travelling east of Edmonds station should add 10 to 15 minutes to their trip plans, because B.C. Rapid Transit Co. is doing rail replacements all weekend on Nov. 7-8, Nov. 14-15 and Nov. 21-22.

The work will go on from end of service Fridays until start of service Monday morning.

While work is under way, trains between 22nd St. and New Westminster stations will be running on a single track in alternating directions and both Expo and Millennium lines will be on reduced frequency. Attendants will be on hand to help direct commuters.

The rails being updated have been in place since original construction in 1985.

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One Response to “From the Vancouver Province blog – SkyTrain track replacements to slow service east of Edmonds on weekends”

  1. David Says:

    I’m sure this is all about the LIM drive system used by SkyTrain. Traditional rail vehicles could operate safely on the rails under the SkyTrain guideway and those have been sitting there rusting since the 1960s.

    Zweisystem replies: The late Des Turner did much study on this issue and it seems that rails must be replaced much sooner than regular metro rails because of the LIM/air-gap issue. For optimum performance of the LIM it must be exactly 1 cm. above the reaction rail and only millimeters of difference will cause excessive power consumption.

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