Are SkyTrain Mk 1 Cars For Sale?

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An interesting post in the Toronto Information blog.

For Sale Cheap - Cheaper Than Yesterday

SRT: What To Look Forward To

With the funding deferment pushing back the conversion of the SRT until after 2015, the plan includes buying some used ICTS Mark-I cars from Vancouver.

Want a look at what is in store for us, take a look at this article which details a recent derailment in Surrey. Of course, with drivers on the SRT, the result would not be the same, but we are still talking about purchasing used equipment that has things like brake calipers falling off of it.

It seems that Trans Link is flogging off some Mk 1 cars to Toronto’s SRT (ICTS) Line. What is interesting is that complaints of overcrowding on the Expo and Millennium Line persist, but TransLink refused to operate 6 car trains, during peak periods, which would provide much needed extra capacity.

This begs the question: “Did TransLink purposely created an aura of overcrowding on the two SkyTrain metro Lines in order to persuade regional and provincial politicians to purchase new Mk. 2 metro cars from Bombardier Inc, when in fact overcrowding could have been alleviated by operating 6 – car trains of Mk. 1 stock?”

Obviously the sale of Mk. 1 cars to the TTC has been kept hush hush, for fear of embarrassing questions that be asked.

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11 Responses to “Are SkyTrain Mk 1 Cars For Sale?”

  1. What what? Says:

    Ummm, clearly you don’t ride SkyTrain very often. TransLink operates 6 car mark 1 trains ALL THE TIME!
    In fact, the delivery of new Mark 2 cars is what has enabled them to increase train lengths while keeping the same frequency of service.

    Worst conspiracy ever. Try again.

    Zweisystem replies: I have been commuting to New West several times a week during peak hours and I have yet to see a 6 car train at 22nd Station. 6 car trains are generally used during limited runs when a track is out of service for maintenance.

    No conspiracy at all.

  2. Justin Bernard Says:

    The provincial government here has delayed the conversion of the SRT to LRT until after the Pan Am Games, and said they would be using used Mark I cars until they are ready to begin the conversion. I guess this confirms it then. What a bummer. The Scarborough RT is not even fully automated(drivers open, and close doors, and it was even run in manual mode for a while). I have a feeling the Scarborough is going to be even more unreliable when we get those Translink cars.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    6 car Mk 1 trains are a regular feature now that the full fleet of 48 new Mk 2 cars are in operation. There are at least 2 trains out there running 6 car Mk 1. I’ve seen them a number of times.

    Funny that you take a Toronto blog as fact. I’ve heard rumours that Translink was interesting in picking up the Toronto cars from the TTC line… both rumours are nothing more than that.

    Zweisystem replies: Two 6-car trains would not pose a problem for the ATO but if all the MK1 cars were operated in 6 – car trains then I would wager problems would arise.

    I talked to the author in the blog and he is an transportation specialist and knows his stuff.

  4. Dave 2 Says:

    I saw a 6 car train just this morning, however since they run only six 6 car trains out of 57 trains in the AM peak (roughly 10%) odds are the train you catch will not be one of them

  5. zweisystem Says:

    Only six 6-car trains in operation (3 in; 3 out) begs the question, why not more? Could it be that the ATO can only handle six 6 car trains at a time?

  6. David Says:

    While it’s only a rumour that TransLink cars are headed east, Scarborough’s fleet consists of only 28 cars and they need them all in peak periods. If one breaks down all they can do is pull that train out and reduce service.

    The SRT guideway cannot handle Mark II trains so if they need additional cars to cope with demand or a breakdown they really don’t have many choices. Detroit is close, but their entire fleet is just 12 cars. Vancouver is the only other city operating Mark I vehicles and our fleet of 150 makes it obvious where Scarborough would look if they needed some.

    I rode 6-car Mark I trains on the Expo line this past winter and early spring. They seemed to be more common during the Olympics than afterward.

    C’mon zweisystem, TransLink only runs as many cars as they feel they have to. 6 car trains would increase maintenance costs for the oldest cars in the fleet. Even if there’s a problem with the train control software like you theorize it’s trumped by economic considerations.

    Zweisystem replies: The problem with 6 car trains was no theory, in fact I had someone from BC Transit explain it to me in the early 90’s. The ATO system was so programed to view a 6 car train as a 4 car train, with a 2 car train following very closely. When too many 6 car trains were in operation, the computer shut the system down as it felt too many trains following too closely. In fact in the late 80’s operating 6 car trains caused some serious systems shutdowns. Has the problem been fixed? I don’t know, but not running continuous rakes of 6 car trains during peak periods lets me suspect that the problem has not been entirely dealt with.

  7. Warren Says:

    The simple answer is that Translink’s preference is frequency rather than the size of each train.

  8. zweisystem Says:

    Does TransLink ready the RFV blog?

    Ha! ha! I think they do!

    Yesterday at 22nd St. Station @ 6 pm, I saw three 6-car trains of Mk. 1 stock going Westbound in quick succession!

  9. Warren Says:

    The better question is, does zweisystem pay any attention to the transit authority he criticizes every day? Because they’ve been in operation since the Olympics.

    Zweisystem replies: As I have business near New West, I have been observing SkyTrain on a regular basis and until yesterday, I have seen very few 6 car trains, seeing 3 such trains in quick succession was a pleasant (for transit customers) surprise.

  10. Dave 2 Says:

    Like many things, Zwei, one doesn’t see things until you start looking for them…

    With 75 married pairs of MK-1s, and 29 trains to build from them… there’s still not enough to make all trains 6-car. As Warren notes, normally frequency trumps length, thought there’ve been times (the snow event of 2008, and during construction of the junction east of Columbia c. 2000) when the MK-1s have been primarly operated in 6 car trains)…

    and like David, I swear there were more 6 – car trains during the Olympics, admittedly based on nothing more that observations while lining up at Concord Place… they may have pulled more cars out of maintenance, a la the Patullo Bridge fire (according to the Buzzer, normally 9.x % of the cars are out-of-service, during the Patullo closure 4.x % cars were out of service; the media badly mangled the numbers, confusing trains with married pairs with cars.

    PS I realize this post may read as coming from the “Skytrain Lobby”; I do use it daily for commuting and it’s definitly a love-hate relationship… love it when it works, hate it when it doesn’t… be glad that you didn’t have to use it when they were running 2-car MK-II sardine cans.

    Zweisystem replies: When the Patullo Bridge burned last year, it was found that TransLink was only using about 75% of available stock during peak hours, thus much of the overcrowding on SkyTrain was by design.

  11. Dave 2 Says:

    Zwei, the media screwed that up big time.. I stand by my figures (from the Buzzer Blog); normally 9.x % of the fleet is out-of-service, during the Patallo bridge closure 4.x % of the fleet was out-of service…

    Zweisystem replies: I have been told that up to 25% of the SkyTrain fleet are not in revenue service during peak hours. Now this Thursday, while I was in New West during the evening peak, nary a 6 car train was seen (20 minutes observation.

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