Past Events

November 2010: Site Visit to Canada Line Rapid Transit System Operation Management Centre

The November 2010 meeting was a site visit to the brand new Canada Line rapid transit system 0peration Management Centre, located just south of the North Arm of the Fraser river in Richmond. The tour was organized by Grant Bailey, Engineering Manager and assisted by his Maintenance Supervisor. Approximately 22 WCGCE members and guests were present to view the facility.

The group heard a Power Point presentation by Grant on the Canada Line system.

The system consists of some 20 double car trains under fully automatic control, that run on an electric railway which is 18.5 kilometers long, running between Downtown Vancouver and either Richmond or Vancouver International Airport. The system in Vancouver is a subway and then becomes an elevated line when it crosses the Fraser River. Only a short section on the way to the airport is at ground level.

The system cost some $1.9 billion and was financed by the Federal Government and 3 equal partners; 33% SNC Lavelin, the contractor and operator, 33% CDP and 33% bcIMC. The Federal Government provided $1.25 billion and the debt partners $657 million’ Protrans BC is the operating arm and employs about 200 staff, and is contracted to operate the system for 35 years.

The twin tunnels are bored under False Creek and downtown Vancouver and cut and cover for the rest of the underground part. There are two bridges over the north and middle arms of the river, one of which is a cable stayed with a low profile because it is under the approaches to the airport.

The group also went on a tour of the Train Hall where the 41 meter long double car units are on raised platforms to allow easy inspection and maintenance. The Hall has a capacity for 3 trains and a staff of 67 is involved in the maintenance.

The trains are powered by 750 volt DC. There are manual controls at each end of the train to maneuver the cars when off the main line or in an emergency. These controls are covered by a locked panel during normal operation. Rail cleaning is carried out about every 6 months or more frequently as needed. In frosty weather a coating of glycerin is applied to the above ground rails to improve traction.

The group was then taken to the Control Centre where the group was given an explanation of the operation of the facility.

The system operates from 4:45am to 1:45am daily, and is designed to handle 100,000 passengers per day and has already reached 80, 000 which was not expected until 2011. The maximum is on Friday and the lowest is on a Sunday. It has become very popular for people traveling to YVR to catch flights or return from trips. The system is performing above expectations with the only weakness the station cleanliness caused by a few less careful passengers. The only stoppage was due to a medical emergency of a passenger last week.