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Transit in Vancouver: Questions and Answers


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1 hour ago, VancouverTrolleybus said:

And are there ever any of them 6-car trains on the M-Line?

I don't believe the Mark Is (which are what make the 6-car trains) are able to run on the M-Line, but don't quote me on that. I think the M-Line is exclusively Mark II trainsets, although the Mark IIIs work on it as well.

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1 hour ago, Zortan said:

I don't believe the Mark Is (which are what make the 6-car trains) are able to run on the M-Line, but don't quote me on that. I think the M-Line is exclusively Mark II trainsets, although the Mark IIIs work on it as well.

Why wouldn't MkI ARTS be able to run on the Millennium Line? Are they the wrong width or something?

On that note, logistics question: Do Millennium Line trains all get sent out early in the morning, having to reverse into Port Moody? I genuinely don't know how SkyTrain operation starts and ends - if you're up early, do you see a bunch of subsequent trains flying through stations to their point of origin without stopping? What do SkyTrain "paddles" look like (for lack of a better word in my vocabular) - where do they start and end, and when? I know about trains pulling out of service during the day a Waterfront and King George (I've gotten stuck on one by accident)... basically what do early-morning SkyTrain operations look like in preparation for the day's services, and same question for the evening?

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4 minutes ago, InfiNorth said:

Why wouldn't MkI ARTS be able to run on the Millennium Line? Are they the wrong width or something?

I think I heard something once about the tracks and something to do with power supply messing with the Mark I trains. I don't think width or other sizing things would be a factor, though, as all three types of Bombardier trains run on the Expo Line without any issues.

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34 minutes ago, Zortan said:

I think I heard something once about the tracks and something to do with power supply messing with the Mark I trains. I don't think width or other sizing things would be a factor, though, as all three types of Bombardier trains run on the Expo Line without any issues.

I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the newer switches at Lougheed that causes the MK Is to time out or something like that IIRC.

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As I understand, 

1. All skytrain cars can go anywhere on the system, but mk1 cars do have a timing out issue at a switch on the evergreen extension - I think it is near Coquitlam central but im not sure on the details. I'd be curious if anyone knows more about this!

2. Occasionally, all kinds of trains are spotted along the M line (non evergreen especially) for various reasons such as crew training.

2.5 During snowy weather when trains must all be manned, millennium line gets longer trains. This means you'll see 4 car mk2/mk2.5 trains and mk3 trains in regular service. There should be lots of pictures of this!

3. The De-icer train is made of specific mk1 cars, so during icy weather that train goes all about, NIS. I've personally seen it at burquitlam before.

4. Overnight, some skytrain cars are parked throughout the system in pocket tracks and tail tracks (such as king george) so that not every train must come directly from edmonds, but many still do. The reverse happens overnight and after morning peak where some trains terminate at edmonds.

5. The m-line can also stash trains at omc3, but I understand that some still do get sent up from edmonds every day (allows the mk2 trains to rotate through and get their maintenance done)

6. An expo train becoming a millennium (basically the old millennium route) can happen impromptu during delays and stuff, either in or out of service. It's not particularly common though.

Correct me if I got anything wrong!

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The timeout issue is as I understand it on the Lougheed Side Track, but if the train is manned it can be re-entered instantly, and indeed they've apparently had to do it before.

 

The Glycol Train is manned so timeout problems aren't an issue for it as staff are on-board to re-enter it.

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Not really related as far as the Millennium Line, but since it was asked in the initial post...

The reason Expo Line trains end at New Westminster at the end of service is because there is a massive backlog of trains getting into OMC1 for the night. It stretches past 22nd Street Station. Co-incidentally, there are no connecting buses at 22nd by the time the last trains arrive. At New West, there's still the N19, 109 and 106.

28 minutes ago, jmward said:

 3. The De-icer train is made of specific mk1 cars, so during icy weather that train goes all about, NIS. I've personally seen it at burquitlam before.

Yes, 500-600 series 1991 mk1 as far as I can remember.

==========

Also I should point out that nowadays 4-car mk2 2xx series on Expo Line is *very* rare outside of weekends ever since the last few mk3 have entered service

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On 10/5/2020 at 8:08 PM, Stormscape said:

The timeout issue is as I understand it on the Lougheed Side Track, but if the train is manned it can be re-entered instantly, and indeed they've apparently had to do it before.

I had the radio scanner on a few times earlier this year during our heavy snow when they were running 6-car trains on the M-Line due to delays and the need to run big trains due to staffing every train, and it is definitely an issue on Lougheed side.  I'm pretty sure it's departing Lougheed side heading towards Production Way.  And they don't ALWAYS time out (but most of the time) - if they run slowly enough and have enough computers active (each car has one), it won't always happen.  They had one train with all 6 active computers (VOBCs) and 5 of them timed out, but the 6th did not, so the entire train didn't time out.  But they were all being staffed back then due to the snow, so it didn't really matter - as mentioned above, they could be re-entered quickly anyway.

Someone I know that works for Translink head office said that this wasn't an issue during testing, so he's not sure why it started happening.  But they were apparently caught off-guard when it did.  He also said that the issue can be fixed, but they just haven't bothered because they know about it and can deal with it - they won't be using Mk1 trains very often there anyway.

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53 minutes ago, Opal said:

I had the radio scanner on a few times earlier this year during our heavy snow when they were running 6-car trains on the M-Line due to delays and the need to run big trains due to staffing every train, and it is definitely an issue on Lougheed side.  I'm pretty sure it's departing Lougheed side heading towards Production Way.  And they don't ALWAYS time out (but most of the time) - if they run slowly enough and have enough computers active (each car has one), it won't always happen.  They had one train with all 6 active computers (VOBCs) and 5 of them timed out, but the 6th did not, so the entire train didn't time out.  But they were all being staffed back then due to the snow, so it didn't really matter - as mentioned above, they could be re-entered quickly anyway.

Someone I know that works for Translink head office said that this wasn't an issue during testing, so he's not sure why it started happening.  But they were apparently caught off-guard when it did.  He also said that the issue can be fixed, but they just haven't bothered because they know about it and can deal with it - they won't be using Mk1 trains very often there anyway.

Could it likely be a problem that came up after they reconfigured Lougheed Station?

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On 10/5/2020 at 7:59 PM, jmward said:

As I understand...

Thank you for answering so much in one go! I didn't even realize there was a maintenance centre on the Evergreen Extension. Huh. I also had no idea that the old Southridge Drive facility was considered separate from the Edmonds OMC1... especially considering that any train wanting to get to OMC2 would have to pass through the tracks of OMC1. What is OMC2 being used for now?

As a completely new question, what's with the spur tracks at Coquitlam Central? They don't really make sense for a future extension to PoCo as inbound (VCCC-bound) trains from PoCo would end up sharing a platform with the outbound (Douglas-bound) trains, which would be inconvenient to say the least. 

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On 10/8/2020 at 9:37 PM, popillil said:

Could it likely be a problem that came up after they reconfigured Lougheed Station?

I don't think so, I think it was a problem before and from my understanding was one of the reasons they opened with the unusual crossover arrangement they had at Lougheed for the first year or whatever it was (in case they needed 6-car trains or decided to through-route the Expo Line trains).  It is a problem now, but isn't a problem if they keep the Mk1's off, which they do, for the most part.

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On 10/9/2020 at 6:39 PM, InfiNorth said:

As a completely new question, what's with the spur tracks at Coquitlam Central? They don't really make sense for a future extension to PoCo as inbound (VCCC-bound) trains from PoCo would end up sharing a platform with the outbound (Douglas-bound) trains, which would be inconvenient to say the least. 

That is in fact what the spur tracks are intended for. It sounds insane but their opinion is apparently the Lafarge branch won't really matter that much once the future extension opens. Combined with street level next train signs it likely won't be an issue, either.

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On 10/9/2020 at 6:39 PM, InfiNorth said:

As a completely new question, what's with the spur tracks at Coquitlam Central? They don't really make sense for a future extension to PoCo as inbound (VCCC-bound) trains from PoCo would end up sharing a platform with the outbound (Douglas-bound) trains, which would be inconvenient to say the least. 

While there are lots of things we can criticize translink for, one thing they do reasonably well is future-proofing new infrastructure.  Technically there is no PoCo extension on the books, but it's not inconceivable to see that another eastward Skytrain expansion could become a priority after the Broadway and Surrey/Langley extensions are built.  They did similar future-proofing for a Tri-Cities expansion when Lougheed Station was built.

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1 hour ago, cprted said:

 

While there are lots of things we can criticize translink for, one thing they do reasonably well is future-proofing new infrastructure.  Technically there is no PoCo extension on the books, but it's not inconceivable to see that another eastward Skytrain expansion could become a priority after the Broadway and Surrey/Langley extensions are built.  They did similar future-proofing for a Tri-Cities expansion when Lougheed Station was built.

Original studies for rapid transit in Greater Vancouver included virtually exact routing matches to the existing infrastructure on all lines. Even the Surrey-Langley line was seen as an eventuality nearly forty years ago. Evergreen extension was seen as valuable back in the early planning days. Canada line was suggested almost in the exact form that it exists today. I've never seen a plan or study for a PoCo line but that's all I could see that spur being used for. In terms of future-proofing... the Canada Line would like to have a word with you. I'm just being a pain now.

TransLink does have a good ability to plan ahead (except that previous example). Even the original plan for the B-Line network in the early 1990s was called RapidBus, and it included features that we see today with the new system: live screens at every stop, shelters, even the colour scheme. I'm also glad that they didn't go through with the plans for the Millennium Line LRT, as that wouldn't be as conducive for major capacity upgrades and extension to UBC. They do have a good amount of forethought despite the gripes that people have with their projects. I mean, look at the design of King George Station. Who would have thought, in the mid 1990s, that there would be a need to continue the line down Fraser Highway? At that point is was a busy but pretty unpopulated stretch of two-lane road through forest.

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Future proofing: *laughs in Columbia Station*

16 hours ago, InfiNorth said:

Who would have thought, in the mid 1990s, that there would be a need to continue the line down Fraser Highway? At that point is was a busy but pretty unpopulated stretch of two-lane road through forest.

To put it further into context: bus service on Fraser Highway was non-existent until around 1989-1990 according to records of route 502 on our wiki. Hence it took 20-30 years for the corridor to get to where it is today.

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Just now, Express691 said:

Future proofing: *laughs in Columbia Station*

To put it further into context: bus service on Fraser Highway was non-existent until around 1989-1990 according to records of route 502 on our wiki. Hence it took 20-30 years for the corridor to get to where it is today.

Yup, the 502 to Fernridge was put in place in the late 80s as a commuter-oriented service with peak-hour buses to the train. By the way, yet another question: 

Why does the Wiki have no maps of routes? 

As a map nut (and someone currently paid to make maps for a bus company), it bewilders me that present and historical routes don't include route mapping . Is this something I could contribute to? It has bothered me from the day I signed up, roughly a year ago. 

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28 minutes ago, InfiNorth said:

Yup, the 502 to Fernridge was put in place in the late 80s as a commuter-oriented service with peak-hour buses to the train. By the way, yet another question: 

Why does the Wiki have no maps of routes? 

As a map nut (and someone currently paid to make maps for a bus company), it bewilders me that present and historical routes don't include route mapping . Is this something I could contribute to? It has bothered me from the day I signed up, roughly a year ago. 

That's actually a great point, now that I think of it. I'd imagine maps could be a good feature, they're currently included on Sound Transit and other agency route pages so I personally think it could work for Translink.

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Copyright issues might exist/be different between agencies though, and I don't think getting a screenshot may result in the best quality.

Edit: JK the guy I know says the TL maps are high quality. That said, there are differences in styling. We'll look into it though

The one thing that should be avoided is putting a link to the maps.

Also edit: there's 226 routes in the system

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2 hours ago, Express691 said:

Copyright issues might exist/be different between agencies though, and I don't think getting a screenshot may result in the best quality.

Edit: JK the guy I know says the TL maps are high quality. That said, there are differences in styling. We'll look into it though

The one thing that should be avoided is putting a link to the maps.

Also edit: there's 226 routes in the system

I was suggesting that I create a new style of maps to appropriately serve the needs to CPTDB - proprietary designs don't lend themselves to including historical routing and service notes that only us nerds care about. I've updated my application to be a Wiki editor, hopefully someone notices. The point isn't to document what TransLink or BC Transit's maps looked like, but to have a map that can effectively communicate where buses on a certain route go currently and compare that visually to where they historically went. Effectively, historical interpretive maps (also drawing on my experience as a historical interpreter).

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