Come on TransLink, stop doing “TransLink Speak!”


TransLink just can’t help themselves, they just can’t give a straight story without embellishing the truth. Really, if TransLink wishes to improve their public relationship, just tell it as it is, not like a $150,000.00+ a year carney huckster!

The quote from the following story,

“Anytime you have any debris of any kind, no matter what the source, you don’t know what it might do,” he said, noting SkyTrain is already one of the few train systems in North America that has installed intrusion systems in rail tracks at platforms to alert oncoming trains if foreign objects fall onto the tracks.

fails to mention that all automatic (driverless) transit systems have anti intrusion alarms at stations, or better yet, platform gates, which only open when the train arrives at a station, to prevent passenger egress onto the tracks. Of course, light rail systems, which have drivers, don’t need such a system and older subways and metro have suicide pits where the rail is raised from the floor so a train passes over an object. SkyTrain which uses Linear Induction Motor’s for motive power and needs a centre reaction rail which makes it impossible to install a suicide pit.

SkyTrain’s anti-intrusion system at stations is a non story and has absolutely nothing to do with the main story of debris falling off a SkyTrain, fouling the line and derailing the next train to come along.

What has become an almost non-story, except for an eccentric few, has now become one of interest.

SkyTrain safe despite derailment: spokesman

By Cheryl Chan, The Province May 29, 2010

TransLink has quarantined one SkyTrain and moved up inspections on sister units after a dislodged brake from one train caused a second train to jump off the track last week.

The derailment, which occurred as the second train was going out of service at King George SkyTrain station, shut down a portion of the Expo Line track for several hours Wednesday afternoon.

No passengers were on board and no one was injured.

Doug Kelsey, president of B.C. Rapid Transit Co., said the company is still investigating what caused a brake caliper to break off from the first train, but that it has put measures in place to ensure passenger safety.

“We have quarantined the first train and inspected the whole fleet,” said Kelsey. “The rest are all running fine.”

All trains are inspected every six weeks, he said, but the inspection schedule of 36 other similar trains in the fleet has been bumped up to every three weeks “until we get a better read on things.”

The quarantined train has been in operation since 1996.

The second train was traveling at about three to five kilometres an hour when it hit the brake caliper.

It is the first derailment of a SkyTrain in 25 years.

Kelsey said debris is always a possibility on train tracks, as it is on roads or marine routes.

“Anytime you have any debris of any kind, no matter what the source, you don’t know what it might do,” he said, noting SkyTrain is already one of the few train systems in North America that has installed intrusion systems in rail tracks at platforms to alert oncoming trains if foreign objects fall onto the tracks.

No such system was in place where the derailment occurred because it was a no-passenger zone.

Kelsey said SkyTrain passengers shouldn’t be worried about their safety on board the trains.

“The system is absolutely safe,” he said. “We will investigate this and if there is anything that needs to change to make the trains safer, we’ll make sure that happens.”


2 Responses to “Come on TransLink, stop doing “TransLink Speak!””

  1. BCPhil Says:

    Talking about the intrusion detection system is not that much out of context. I was at Stadium station not too long ago when someone standing right next to me dropped their Blackberry and it landed right on the Induction rail. Even an object that small set off the alarms and no trains entered the station until staff climbed down and retrieved the device, and followed procedure to give the all clear. It only took about 3 minutes from the dropping of the device until the next train arrived. So it goes to show that the intrusion detection system can detect foreign objects (much smaller than people) dropped onto the tracks at stations that could be dangerous to the trains or hazardous to waiting passengers.

    I don’t see why you are making this such a big issue. Be it Automated Metro, Manual Metro, or LRT, or even heavy rail, all have collided with people at stations by accident. Weather it be on purpose or by accident, some people just fall in front of a moving train that has no time and room to stop under any condition.

    The track intrusion detection system has worked perfectly as far as I’m aware, as all deaths related to Skytrain have been from people falling on the tracks too close to an approaching train, falling in between moving cars, or being clipped by a moving train on the platform. In any of those kinds of accidents, a manual operated train would not have fared any better at all. Even a suicide pit wouldn’t save someone whose abdomen or neck came to rest across a rail with the train only 10 feet away.

    Zweisystem replies: The issue is not anti-intrusion detectors at all, rather it is about a derailment. Why a TransLink spokesperson included the anti-intrusion issue is to fog the real issue; a brake caliper falling off a train, derailing the next train.

  2. BCPhil Says:

    “The issue is not anti-intrusion detectors at all, rather it is about a derailment.”

    Yeah, that is a serious issue. But YOU are the one who has made your last 2 posts on this incident mainly about driverless trains instead of maintenance issues.

    And it’s not like that is all Doug Kelsey talked about. He also mentioned the train was quarantined, that all trains operate on a 6 week inspection rotation and the trains similar to the ones involved in the accident have been increased to every 3 weeks, and all other trains have been inspected already to see if they have similar problems.

    I think he covered all the bases that can be so soon after the incident and threw in the intrusion detection system for good measure. If the piece fell off the train at a station and an approaching train derailed at the platform, it could cause serious injuries to people waiting. But the detection systems at stations could detect such pieces in the tracks and I think he was just putting those fears to rest.

    Zweisystem replies: Sorry Phil, I did not make an issue of the anti-intrusion detectors, rather it was the TransLink spokesperson. The incident had nothing to do with anti-intrusion detectors at all, rather broken pieces from a SkyTrain derailed another. That is the issue.

    I have been informed from a transit specialist that all modern metro systems have anti-intrusion detectors (unless the station has platform gates) and many older metro systems are being retrofitted, unless they have suicide pits. It is a non issue, hiding the real issue.

    I also find the issue of being quarantined a bit strange, as I would have thought that they would want it back at the shops for a thorough going over. That they are not moving it is rather strange.

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