TransLink in the news! SkyTrain Fizzles and the Head Amateur resigns!


Debris on the guideway evidently caused the Expo Line to come to grief during the morning commute. Once again, the automatic (driverless) metro shows its vulnerability when surprises happen along the line.

SkyTrain’s Expo Line problems caused by debris hitting track

ReBy Rhiannon Coppin, Vancouver Sun – September 10, 2010 11:10 AM

METRO VANCOUVER – The SkyTrain system came to a halt this morning at 7:15 a.m. after some of the electrified portions of the Expo Line track were ripped out by debris lodged under some trains.

“The whole system shut down,” TransLink spokesperson Drew Snider later confirmed in e-mail.

“We segregated the Millennium Line from the Expo Line, so we had trains running between VCC and Columbia Stations. By about 7:50, we had some service restored along the Expo Line, involving single-track trips between certain stations; customers then had to change trains at those stations,” Snider said.

Though Expo Line trains were moving again, service was slow.

Trains were arriving at Waterfront Station but were not making the trip eastbound out of downtown Vancouver, a SkyTrain attendant confirmed at 9:15 a.m.

Outside Waterfront Station, a Coast Mountain Bus Transit Supervisor was directing buses over his cell phone to come in and pick up riders going back down the line.

“I believe the SkyTrain is down, that’s all I know, and we are trying to set up a bus bridge to get people from here to Joyce Station,” said the supervisor, Michael, who would not provide his last name.

He was on his cellphone with the driver of bus 8143 as it came down Seymour Street and got into position outside Waterfront Station. It was not the first in the bridge he said, and certainly not the last.

Snider later confirmed that 18 buses were diverted for the bridge between Metrotown and Waterfront.

“Since this was at the height of rush hour, CMBC didn’t have many buses (or bus drivers) to pull from regular service and put onto the bus bridge,” Snider said.

As a dozen passengers boarded bus 8143, Michael instructed the bus driver to head first to Granville Station: “Then make a left on Georgia Street. Take the viaduct, and right on Main. Pick up at the Main Station. From Main, you’re going to go up Broadway. At the Broadway Station, dropoff and pickup and then from there, go to Nanaimo Station, then 29th and Joyce, however you can get there.”

“It only stops at the SkyTrain stations?” the driver asked.

“SkyTrain station, SkyTrain stations, this is a SkyTrain bus,” the supervisor replied.

A sign posted at the east entrance to the SkyTrain platform at Waterfront told passengers to “expect lengthy delays.”

Phil Goddard, a musical instrument salesman at Long and McQuade near the Main Street station, waited a few minutes on the platform before being told to go back up and get the “bus bridge.”

“I’m actually in a real rush to get to work,” he told a reporter who tried to speak with him.

“I just got off the SeaBus from North Vancouver,” he said.

“I’m not late for work yet,” he said, running for the bus. “I will be though.”

Joe Thomas works at Universal Printing in North Vancouver. His commute was the opposite of Goddard’s: He left from Broadway Station and at about 9:30 a.m. was now running at a good clip from the SkyTrain platform to catch a SeaBus.

“How long were you delayed?” a reporter asked.

“An hour,” Thomas said.

“Wait a long time.. stuck on the train… wait a long time,” he added between breaths as he ran.

TransLink issued a service alert stating that the Expo Line westbound was operating from King George to Joyce only. From there, passengers have to get off and take a single line train between Joyce and Main Street, where they must switch trains again to get into the downtown core.

For the duration of the morning commute, Millenium Line trains would be turning back at Columbia Station.

The electrical problem involved dragged debris reportedly occurred in the downtown area between Broadway and Main Street stations.

Snider couldn’t say when the electrical track infrastructure would be repaired and operational, but said that “as of right now, our techs are making progress on fixing the situation.”

“They’re aware that [afternoon] rush hour is approaching.”

The TransLink board of Amateurs says adiós to Dale Parker, a Campbell favourite selected to steer the bureaucracy the way the premier wanted it steered. As it stands, TransLink is rudderless and wallowing in a sea of debt, without a safe haven in sight. Could it be the start of the ‘rats’ leaving a sinking ship?

TransLink chairman stepping down

By Don Cayo, Vancouver Sun – September 10, 2010

VANCOUVER — TransLink will lose the first chair of its board of appointed professionals that was set up three years ago to replace its former board composed of municipal council members.

Dale Parker, a long-time businessman and a member of many corporate and charitable boards, announced in an exclusive interview with the Vancouver Sun on Friday that he won’t seek a renewed appointment when his term ends Dec. 31. His decision was influenced, he said, by his age — he’s nearing 75 — and his view that he’s able to leave TransLink’s governance in relatively good shape.

The appointment of the nine-member board was controversial at the time — Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan called its members “Liberal flunkies” — and its work has been criticized for taking place largely behind closed doors.

But Parker said he and his colleagues have been able to bring a professional approach to what had long been a highly politicized governance structure, and it has both reigned in operating costs and set the stage for orderly development.

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2 Responses to “TransLink in the news! SkyTrain Fizzles and the Head Amateur resigns!”

  1. Michael Says:

    Any system can come down due to outside interference, this isn’t unique to skytrain.

    If anything, the main problem is a lack of people along the line / on the train who could quickly resolve smaller issues.

    Having said that, there is still another advantage of having driven trains: You get “eyes on the station” every few minutes which allows for an “oversight” and added “safety” at the stations.

  2. CLC Says:

    Similar surprise could happen everywhere if there is uncovered section of rail. A day before Skytrain incident, Hongkong Tuen Mun light rail (the heaviest-ridden light rail system of Asia) suffered damage to electric wire by falling crane! that caused four lines\’ service suspension for 16 hours.
    It is interesting to notice that Calgary C-Train also suffered a crash with a transit vehicle yesterday, but C-Train riders are too familiar with such crash disruption so it did not make big news there.

    Zweisystem replies: Maybe we should prohibit from driving those who cause accidents with light rail. SkyTrain goes down a lot more than the media reports as well.

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