The government of Canada and TransLink are each contributing C$17.498 million to replace approximately 12.6 miles (20.2 kilometers) of running rail and some 24,000 rail pads for SkyTrain’s Expo Line in metro Vancouver.
The maintenance project to optimize service and reduce noise levels will run through 2027, and cover the automated rapid transit system’s Expo Line connecting downtown Vancouver and the cities of Burnaby, New Westminster and Surrey. The Expo line comprises two routes—from Waterfront Station (downtown Vancouver) to King George Station (Surrey) and to Production Way–University Station (Burnaby)—and sees an average of approximately 24.9 million miles (40 million kilometers) of vehicular travel annually, according to TransLink.
The Expo Line was the first of three SkyTrain lines to launch. On Dec. 11, 1985, it offered eight days of free service as a showcase of Expo ’86, prior to officially starting revenue service in January 1986. SkyTrain also includes the Millennium Line from East Vancouver through to Burnaby and into Port Moody and Coquitlam, and the Canada Line, which runs between downtown Vancouver, the Vancouver International Airport (YVR), and Richmond.
The Skytrain maintenance project is part of TransLink’s 2018 Investment Plan, of which the government of British Columbia funded 40% of total capital costs. The government of Canada’s project funding comes from the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, which supports the building, expansion, and upgrading of urban and rural transit networks.
“The SkyTrain rails being replaced have been around for nearly forty years, with more than two million trains that have run over them in that time frame,” Brad West, Chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation and Mayor of Port Coquitlam, said during the May 12 project announcement.
“We pride ourselves in providing a safe and reliable SkyTrain system for this region and to do that, we require ongoing investment in key areas, such as track maintenance,” TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn said. “This important funding package will ensure the Expo SkyTrain lines remain safe and reliable for years to come.”
In related developments, three consortia were recently selected to advance to the request for proposals (RFP) stage to design, build and install the electrical systems and track work for the $C3.9 billion ($US2.91 billion) Surrey Langley SkyTrain.