C-Train

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This article is about the Calgary, Alberta light rail system. For the New York City Subway service, see C (New York City Subway service). For other uses, see C Train (disambiguation).
C-Train
CTrainCrow.JPG
Overview
Locale Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Transit type Light rail transit (details)
Number of lines 2 (201 & 202)
Number of stations 45[1][2]
Daily ridership 309,900 (Q1 2014)[3]
Annual ridership 107.5 million (2013) [4]
Operation
Began operation May 25, 1981[1]
Operator(s) Calgary Transit
Train length 3-car consist (soon to be 4-car)
Technical
System length 58.5 km (36.4 mi)[5]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
(standard gauge)
Electrification Overhead lines, 600 V DC[6]

C-Train is the light rail transit (LRT) system in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It has been in operation since May 25, 1981.[1] The system is operated by Calgary Transit, as part of the Calgary municipal government's transportation department.[7]

Operations[edit]

The C-Train system has two routes, with a combined route length of 58.5 kilometres (36.4 mi).[1] There is a connection from the light rail track to the Canadian Pacific Railway line via a track switch near Heritage Station.

The longer route (Route 201; 35 km long) serves the southern and northwestern areas of the city. The shorter route (Route 202; 25.7 km long) serves the northeastern and western sections of the city.[1] Most track is at grade, with its own right-of-way. The downtown portion is a shared right-of-way, serving both routes along the 7th Avenue South transit mall at street level. This portion is a zero-fare zone and serves as a downtown people mover. The tracks split at the east and west ends of downtown into lines leading to the south, northeast, west and northwest residential neighbourhoods of Calgary. Six percent of the system is underground, and seven percent is grade-separated (elevated).[1] Trains are powered by overhead electric wires, using pantographs to draw power. In the early 2000s, Calgary Transit began using the spelling CTrain for the LRT system, although this variation has not passed into general use and local media continue to use "C-Train".

In the first quarter of 2014, the C-Train system had an average of 309,900 unlinked passenger trips per weekday, making it the third busiest light rail system in North America behind the Toronto streetcar system and Mexico's Guadalajara light rail system.[3][8][9] In 2007, 45% of the people working in downtown Calgary took transit to work; the city's objective is to increase that to 60%.[10]

History[edit]

The idea of rail transit in Calgary originated in a 1967 Calgary transportation study, which recommended a two-line metro system to enter service in 1978. The original plans had called for two lines:

  • a northwest-to-south line (on a similar routing to the present-day Northwest and South lines) between the original Banff Trail station (at Crowchild Trail and Northland Drive, between the present-day Brentwood and Dalhousie stations) and Southwood station (at Southland Drive, roughly at the location of the present-day Southland station, with five stations in downtown underneath 7 Avenue; and
  • the west line, which ran from downtown to the community of Glendale, primarily along the 26 Avenue SW corridor.

A fourth line, a north central line running from downtown to Thorncliffe mostly along Centre Street was also envisioned, but was thought to be beyond the scope of the study.

However, a building boom in the 1970s had caused the heavy rail concept to fall out of favour due to the increased costs of construction, with light rail as its replacement. LRT was chosen over dedicated busways and the expansion of the Blue Arrow bus service (a service similar to bus rapid transit today) because light rail has lower long-term operating costs and to address traffic congestion problems. The Blue Arrow service all but disappeared in 2000.

The present-day C-Train originated in a 1975 plan, calling for construction of a single line, from the downtown core (8 Street station) to Anderson Road (the present-day Anderson station). The plan was approved by City Council in May 1977, with construction of what would become the LRT's "South Line" beginning one month later. The South Line opened on May 25, 1981.

Though the South Line was planned to extend to the northwest, political pressures led to the commission of the "Northeast Line", running from Whitehorn station (at 36 Street NE and 39 Avenue NE) to the downtown core, with a new downtown terminal station for both lines at 10 Street SW, which opened on April 27, 1985.

The "Northwest Line", the extension of the South Line to the city's northwest, was opened on September 17, 1987, in time for the 1988 Winter Olympics. This line ran from the downtown core to University station, next to the University of Calgary campus. Since then, all three lines have been extended incrementally, with most of the stations commissioned and built in the 2000s (with the exception of Brentwood which opened in 1990, three years after the original Northwest line opened):

August 31, 1990 Brentwood station Northwest Line
October 9, 2001 Canyon Meadows station
Fish Creek-Lacombe station
South Line
December 15, 2003 Dalhousie station Northwest Line
June 28, 2004 Shawnessy station
Somerset-Bridlewood station
South Line
December 17, 2007 McKnight-Westwinds station Northeast Line
June 15, 2009 Crowfoot station Northwest Line
August 27, 2012 Martindale station
Saddletowne station
Northeast Line
August 25, 2014 Tuscany station Northwest Line

The West Line, the extension of the Northeast Line, opened for revenue service on December 10, 2012 as the first new line to open in 25 years. The line runs for 8.2 km from Downtown West – Kerby station on 7 Avenue at 11 Street SW at the west end of Downtown, westward to 69 Street station located at the intersection of 17 Avenue and 69 Street SW.

Rolling stock[edit]

Fleet numbers Total Type Year Ordered Origins Notes
2001–2083 83 Siemens U2 AC and DC 1981–1984 West Germany 80 remain in service
2201–2272 72 Siemens SD-160 Series 5 and 6 2001–2006 Germany Series 1
2301–2338 38 Siemens SD-160NG Series 8 2007 Germany
TBD 60 Siemens S200 2013 California

The system initially used Siemens-Duewag U2 DC LRVs (originally designed for German metros, and used by Edmonton's earlier LRT and the U-Bahn, a light rail system in Frankfurt), which constituted the entire fleet until July 2001, when the first Siemens SD-160 cars were delivered.[1] A total of 83 U2 DCs have been delivered to Calgary over three separate orders; 27 in 1981, 3 in 1983, and 53 in 1984 and are numbered 2001 – 2083. Today, 80 out of 83 U2 DCs remain in service. The following have been retired:

  • LRV 2010 was destroyed March 27, 2002 when it collided with a truck at the 4 Avenue SW crossing as it was leaving the downtown. The LRV was retired as a result.
  • LRV 2019 was damaged in April 2007 when it collided with a flatbed truck in the intersection of Memorial Drive/28 Street SE near Franklin Station. The LRV was retired. However, in 2010 Calgary Transit put together the good end of 2019 with the good end of 2027 to create LRV 2090.
  • LRV 2050 was damaged in October 2007 when it collided with a vehicle at the 58 Avenue SW crossing near Chinook Station. The LRV was retired as a result. However, in 2010 Calgary Transit decided to repair 2050 and it is now back in service.
  • LRV 2027 was damaged when it hit a crane in the median of Crowchild Trail near Dalhousie Station in May 2008. The LRV was retired. However, in 2010 Calgary Transit put together the good end of 2019 with the good end of 2027 to create LRV 2090.
  • LRV 2057 was damaged when it hit a backhoe that was being used in the construction of the new 3 Street W station on 7 Avenue downtown in the summer of 2009. It has been retired.
Somerset–Bridlewood station on the south C-Train line.

In 1988, the Alberta Government purchased from Siemens two U2 AC units, the first of their kind in North America, for trials on both the Edmonton and Calgary LRT systems. The cars were originally numbered 3001 and 3002 and served in Edmonton from 1988 to Spring 1990. These LRVs came to Calgary in the summer of 1990 and in September, Calgary Transit decided to purchase the cars from the Province and then applied the CT livery to the cars (they were previously plain white in both Edmonton and Calgary). They retained their original fleet numbers of 3001 and 3002 until 1999, when CT renumbered the cars 2101 and 2102. Initially, these two cars were only run together as a two-car consist as they were incompatible with the U2 DCs. In 2003, Calgary Transit made the two U2 ACs compatible as slave cars between two SD160s and have been running them like this ever since.

Interior of the Siemens SD-160 operated by Calgary Transit

In July 2001, Calgary Transit brought the first of 15 new SD160 LRVs into service to accommodate the South LRT Extension Phase I and increased capacity. Throughout 2003, another 17 SD160 LRVs were introduced into the fleet to accommodate the NW Extension to Dalhousie as well as the South LRT Extension Phase II. However, demand for light rail has exploded in recent years. In the decade prior to 2006, the city's population grew by 25% to over 1 million people, while ridership on the C-Train grew at twice that rate, by 50% in only 10 years. This resulted in severe overcrowding on the trains and demands for better service.[11] In December 2004, city council approved an order for 33 additional SD-160 vehicles from Siemens to not only address overcrowding, but to accommodate the NE extension to McKnight–Westwinds and the NW extension to Crowfoot. These new SD160s started to enter service in November 2006. In December 2006, CT extended the order by seven cars to a total of 40 cars, which had all been delivered by the spring of 2008. There are now a total of 72 first-generation SD 160s numbered 2201 – 2272.

In November 2007 city council approved purchasing another 38 SD-160 Series 8 LRVs to be used in conjunction with the West LRT extension (2012) and further expansions to the NE (Saddletowne 2012) and NW legs (Tuscany 2014). These are new-generation train cars with lots of upgraded features over the original SD160s. These units started to enter service in December 2010 and are numbered 2301 – 2338. As of May 2012, all have entered revenue service and Calgary's LRV roster now numbers 192.

In September 2013, Calgary Transit unveiled an order for 60 new S200 LRVs in order to provide enough cars to run four-car trains, and to retire some of its Siemens-Duewag U2s, which are nearing the end of their useful lifespans. Deliveries for these new cars will begin in August 2015 and will continue until December 2016.[12]

Work cars
  • Car# 3275 – shunting/switcher locomotive

Facts[edit]

In 2001, the C-Train became the first public transit system in Canada to claim all of its electricity from emissions-free wind power generation. The electricity is generated by Enmax operating in the southern Alberta.[13][14] The trains are powered from the same power grid as before; however, an equivalent amount of electricity is produced at the southern wind farms and "dedicated" to the C-Train. Under Alberta's deregulated market for electricity, large consumers can contract to purchase their electricity from a specific vendor.

On February 18, 2009, Calgary Transit announced that the C-Train had carried one billion riders in the 28 years since the start of service on May 25, 1981.[15] The trains were now carrying over 269,600 passengers every day, higher than any other light rail system in Canada or the United States. Mayor Dave Bronconnier stated that more vehicles were on order to deal with crowding, the northeast and the northwest legs were being extended, and construction of the new west leg was due to start later in the year.[16]

In the following section preliminary timelines for construction of future stations are referenced. For example, construction of a north C-Train line is not expected until after 2023. The city has, on several occasions, accelerated construction of C-Train expansion due to demand and available money. For example the McKnight–Westwinds station, which opened in 2007, was, as recently as 2002, not planned until beyond 2010. Similarly, the timeline of construction of the south line extension was also pushed up several years due to increasing population and traffic volume. There are plans to develop new routes into the centre north and the southeast of the city.

In 2010, the CCTV Security Camera network was replaced with new, state of the art, IP based cameras along with a new 10GB Fiber-optic network ring to each leg of the LRT line. The project was completed by Contava Inc and will be upgraded as new stations and technology become available.[citation needed]

A ticket purchased from a C-Train station.

Fares[edit]

Rides taken solely within the downtown are free. This is known as the 7th Avenue Free Fare Zone and encompasses all C-Train stations along 7th Avenue.[17]

Route details[edit]

Calgary Light Rail System Map

There are two major routes in operation: Route 201 (Somerset/Bridlewood–Crowfoot) and Route 202 (Saddletowne–69 Street SW). The routes share the 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) downtown line on 7th Avenue South.[1]

Downtown Line[edit]

As part of the original Route 201 South line, nine single-platform stations were built along the 7th Avenue South transit mall, which formed the 7th Avenue free fare zone. All nine stations opened May 25, 1981 along with the original South Line. The tracks run at grade in a semi-exclusive right of way, shared with buses, city and emergency vehicles.

Westbound stations used to consist of Olympic Plaza (formerly 1 Street E, renamed in 1987), 1 Street W, 4 Street W, and 7 Street W. Eastbound stations consisted of 8 Street W, 6 Street W, 3 Street W, Centre Street and City Hall (formerly 2 Street E, renamed in 1987).

When the Northeast line opened on April 27, 1985, two stations were added: 3 Street E serving Westbound 202 trains only and 10 Street W, a centre-loading platform, which served as the terminus of both Route 201 and 202, until the Northwest line opened in 1987, after which it was the terminus for route 202 only.

As part of Calgary's refurbishment project,[18] 3 Street E and Olympic Plaza stations have been decommissioned and replaced by the new gateway[19] City Hall station in 2011. 10 Street W was decommissioned and replaced with the Downtown West – Kerby (formerly called 11 Street W) station in 2012.[20]

Downtown station refurbishment[edit]

In June 2007, the City of Calgary released information on the schedule for the refurbishment of the remaining original downtown stations.[21] The plan involved replacing and relocating most stations, and expanding Centre Street station which was relocated one block east (adjacent to the Telus Convention Centre) in 2000, to board four-car trains. The new stations have retained their existing names (with the exception of 10 Street W becoming Downtown West – Kerby in 2012), however they may be shifted one block east or west, or to the opposite side of 7th Avenue. The refurbishment project was completed on December 8, 2012, when the Downtown West – Kerby station was opened to the public in conjunction with the West LRT opening event.[22]

  • 1 Street W – new platform relocated one block east opened October 28, 2005.
  • 7 Street W – new platform relocated one block east opened February 27, 2009.
  • 6 Street W – reconstructed in original location. Original platform closed April 7, 2008 and new platform opened March 27, 2009.
  • 8 Street W – new platform relocated one block east opened December 18, 2009.
  • 3 Street W – reconstructed in original location. Original platform closed April 20, 2009 and new platform opened March 12, 2010.
  • 3 Street E – permanently closed May 3, 2010. Replaced by new dual-platform City Hall Station opening July 6, 2011.
  • 4 Street W – reconstructed in original location. Original platform closed January 7, 2010 and new platform opened January 21, 2011.
  • City Hall – original Eastbound platform rebuilt with new Westbound platform to replace 3 Street E and Olympic Plaza. Original platform closed May 3, 2010 and new dual-platform station opened July 6, 2011. Olympic Plaza was closed permanently at this time. Eastbound platform re-closed following the 2011 Stampede to finish construction and officially opened September 19, 2011.
  • Olympic Plaza – permanently closed July 6, 2011. Replaced by new dual-platform City Hall Station.
  • 10 Street W – permanently closed and removed on September 15, 2012.[20][23] The new station replacing it, which opened on December 8, 2012, has dual side-loading platforms and is located one block west. This project was initially proposed to be undertaken in 2006, following the opening of the new 1 Street W station. However, the City of Calgary decided to defer the project to coincide with the opening of the West Line and continue on with refurbishment of the other stations. This new station was initially called "11 Street W" up until the Summer of 2012 when it was renamed to Downtown West – Kerby.[24]

This required that the stations be closed during demolition and reconstruction. The new stations feature longer platforms for longer trains, better integration of the platforms into the sidewalk system, better lighting, and more attractive landscaping and street furniture. This project was shortlisted[25] for the New/Old category in the 2012 World Architecture Festival in Singapore.[26]

Route 201[edit]

This route comprises two lines: the South line (17.3 kilometres (10.7 mi)) and the Northwest line (15.7 kilometres (9.8 mi)). There are eleven stations on the South line and nine on the Northwest line. Total length of the route: 33 kilometres (21 mi).[1]

South Line[edit]

Seven stations on this line opened on May 25, 1981, as the first light railway line to serve the city. From north to south, they are Victoria Park/Stampede (renamed from Stampede in 1995), Erlton/Stampede (renamed from Erlton in 1995), 39 Avenue (renamed from 42 Avenue in 1986), Chinook, Heritage (also the site of the Haysboro LRT Storage Facility), Southland, and Anderson (also the site of the Anderson LRT Yards). The original South line was 10.9 km long. On October 9, 2001, the line was extended south 3.4 km and two new stations were added: Canyon Meadows and Fish Creek–Lacombe, as part of the South LRT Extension Phase I. On June 28, 2004, Phase II opened adding 3 km of track and two more stations: Shawnessy and Somerset–Bridlewood. A further three stations – Silverado (most likely in the area of 194th Avenue SW), 212th Avenue South, and Pine Creek (in the area around 228th Avenue SW) – are planned once the communities adjacent to their location are developed, likely beyond 2020.[27]

In the 2012 RouteAhead[28] report, the extension of the South Line to 210th Avenue is considered to be a medium-term priority as communities adjacent to that area are constructed. With an estimated cost of $180 million and an estimated annual operating cost of $7 million the 3.5 km extension is estimated to serve 8 million passenger rides annually.

Northwest Line[edit]

Five stations on this line opened on September 7, 1987. From the most central to the most northwesterly, they are Sunnyside, SAIT/ACAD/Jubilee (the station name in full is "Southern Alberta Institute of Technology/Alberta College of Art and Design/Jubilee Auditorium"), Lions Park, Banff Trail, and University. The original Northwest Line was 5.6 km long. On August 31, 1990, the line was extended 1 km and Brentwood station was opened as the new terminus. On December 15, 2003, the line was extended 3 km again and Dalhousie station was opened. On June 15, 2009, the line was extended 3.6 km and Crowfoot (formerly Crowfoot-Centennial) was opened. It was extended further by 2.5 km to Tuscany Station on August 25, 2014.[29][30][31]

Route 202[edit]

This route is composed of two lines: the Northeast line (15.5 kilometres (9.6 mi)) and the newest West line (8.2 kilometres (5.1 mi)). The Northeast line has ten stations and the West line has six stations. Total length of this route: 25.7 kilometres (16.0 mi).[1]

Northeast Line[edit]

Seven of these stations opened on April 27, 1985, from downtown to the northeast. They are: Bridgeland/Memorial, Zoo, Barlow/Max Bell, Franklin, Marlborough, Rundle, and Whitehorn. The original Northeast line was 9.8 km long. On December 17, 2007, the line was extended 2.8 km further north to an eighth station – McKnight–Westwinds. On August 27, 2012, another 2.9 km extension of track opened and added two more stations – Martindale and Saddletowne.[30][32][33] Additional stations are proposed for development, likely beyond 2023, at 96th Avenue, Country Hills Boulevard, 128th Avenue (north of Skyview Ranch) and Stoney Trail (in the Stonegate Landing development),[32] as those areas are developed for future LRT infrastructure.[34]

West Line[edit]

There have been plans for this line, which runs west from downtown, since the beginning of construction of the South Line in 1978.[35] Construction of the 8.2 kilometre[36] (5 mile) line began in 2009. It opened on December 10, 2012.[37]

The City of Calgary began a review process in late 2006 to update the plans to current standards, and Calgary City Council gave final approval to the project[38] and allocated the required $566-million project funding on November 20, 2007.[30] Funding for the project was sourced from the infrastructure fund that was created when the Province of Alberta returned the education tax portion of property taxes to the city. Construction of this line began in 2009. It was constructed at the same time as further extensions of the NE and NW lines of the LRT system that were approved in November 2007.

West LRT construction over Bow Trail

The West LRT line[39] has six stations (from east to west): Sunalta (near 16th Street SW), Shaganappi Point, Westbrook, 45 Street Southwest (Westgate), Sirocco, and 69 Street Southwest (west of 69th Street near Westside Recreation Centre).

The updated alignment from the 2007 West LRT Report[32] includes the line running on an elevated guideway beginning west of the Downtown West – Kerby Station, running along the CPR right of way to Bow Trail SW, and then to 24th Street SW. The line then runs at grade past Shaganappi Point Station and drops into a tunnel to 33rd Street SW. The tunnel then runs under the Westbrook Mall parking lot, and the former site of the now-demolished Ernest Manning Senior High School. The line then follows the north side of 17th Avenue SW past 37th Street SW below grade to 45 Street Station. Past 45th Street the line runs at grade, and approaching Sarcee Trail SW moves onto an elevated guideway that passes over the freeway. The line then runs at grade to Sirocco Station, then proceeds to drop below grade and pass under eastbound 17th Avenue SW at 69th Street SW and return to grade on the south side of the avenue. The line then terminates at 69 Street Station located to the west of 69th Street SW.[40]

Three of the new West Line stations are located at grade. Westbrook, 45 Street SW,[41] and 69 Street SW stations are located below grade, while Sunalta is an elevated station.[42] On October 5, 2009, the city council announced approval of a plan to put a portion of the West Line into a trench at 45th Street and 17th Avenue SW, a move welcomed by advocates who fought to have it run underground. The change cost an estimated $61 million, however lower than expected construction costs were expected to absorb much of the change.

The cost for the project is however over budget by at least C$35 million[43] and the overall cost could be more than C$1.46 billion because of soaring costs of land used and the integration of public art into the project.[44][45][46] The public art aspect of the project was neglected in its initial form. Because City Hall regulations for big construction projects require incorporation of public art, City Hall had to find the money. Therefore, the West LRT project cost C$8.6 million more than expected.[47][48]

On October 29, 2009 city council announced that the contract to construct the West LRT had been awarded to a consortium led by SNC Lavalin.[49]

Future extension of the West Line to Aspen Woods Station (around 17th Avenue and 85th Street SW) has been planned, and future extensions further west to 101st Street SW may be added as new communities adjacent to 17th Avenue SW are built.[40]

On May 15, 2012, testing of the line began with two LRT cars. As the construction of the entire line moved towards completion, four LRT cars were used, until revenue service began on December 10, 2012.[50][51][52][53]

Future lines[edit]

For Route 201, in its 30-year RouteAhead plan, the South line may be extended another 3.5 km to a possible 210 Avenue SW station.[54] For Route 202, from the same plan, there are more possible extensions to the northeast to either the Calgary International Airport (via a spur line),[55] or to 128 Avenue NE, or to have both.[56]

There are plans to build an additional line to the southeast from the city centre, but this project is on hold because there is no funding for it. Calgary Transit has drafted a plan for a transit-only right-of-way, known as the SETWAY (South East Transit Way) for the interim.[57] A second, northern line is to be planned beyond 2023 but the alignment is still pending.

As for a possible underground leg in downtown (under 8 Avenue South), the cost of the project will be at least C$800 million (in 2012 dollars), but its priority has been lowered because there is no funding available for it. However, the overall cost of this and other projects could be at least C$8 billion.[55][56]

Southeast Line[edit]

This line is planned to run from downtown (although on a different routing, not following the 7th Avenue corridor) to the communities of Douglasdale and McKenzie Lake and McKenzie Towne in the southeast, and onwards past Highway 22X into the so-called "Homesteads" region east of the Deerfoot Trail extension.

Eighteen stations have been planned for this route and the project is expected to be completely built by 2039.[58]

Three of the proposed downtown stations are expected to be built underground,[59] and the rest of the line will follow the 52 Street SE corridor from Douglasdale and McKenzie Towne to Auburn Bay (south of Highway 22X) and then wind its way through Health Campus (adjacent to a planned southeast hospital) and Seton. Unlike Routes 201 and 202, which use high-floor U2 and SD-160 LRVs, the eastern route is expected to employ low-floor LRVs,[60] such as the Bombardier Flexity Freedom or the Siemens Avanto.

From north to south, the proposed stations are: Eau Claire, Central (at 6 Avenue), Macleod Trail, 4 Street SE, Ramsay/Inglewood, Crossroads, Highfield, Lynnwood, Ogden, South Hill, Quarry Park, Douglasglen, Shepard, Prestwick, McKenzie Towne, Auburn Bay/Mahogany (at 52nd Street), Health Campus/Seton (the station likely will share the name of the hospital and expected to be completed by 2039),[58] with further stations to the south expected in the future.[61][62]

Construction of the South East LRT would cost over C$2.7 billion over 27 years.[58] Because there is no funding available, the city is laying out plans to build a transit way for the South East BRT known as SETWAY. Open houses to explore the idea of a transit way for the South East occurred in the South East communities of Ramsay, Riverbend and McKenzie Towne in January 2012. Between 1999 and 2006 Calgary Transit conducted studies for the South East LRT to find ways to make improvements of overall transit use in the South East for short term while having LRT being the long term goal. [57]

North-Central Line[edit]

Although it is not expected to be built until beyond 2023,[63][64] this line for which a route has not yet been approved by council south of Beddington Trail or north of Stoney Trail, would serve the residential communities of Country Hills, Coventry Hills, Harvest Hills, and Panorama Hills, and could extend north to Airdrie.[65] The line is planned to connect to a proposed multi-mode transportation hub at 96th Avenue before reaching Harvest Hills Boulevard, connecting the airport, bus service, and a proposed high-speed rail service to Edmonton.[66]

One of the ideas for the north-central line to use Nose Creek Valley as a potential route is regarded as unfeasible. Alternative routes, however not ideal, have either use Centre Street or Edmonton Trail as possible main ones to be discussed later by City Council in the spring of 2012. The prospect for such a line to be created is, for now, bleak because of city affordability and potential residential property acquiring issues. However, one aspect of the plan is to have this possible future line connect with the potential future southeast LRT line.[67] City planners have an end-of-2014 deadline to come up with a plan to get public input, route planning, and possible ridership projections on the north-central LRT line documented to a City Hall feasibility study.[68]

On August 27, 2014, the Calgary Herald reported that Calgary Transit has confirmed, in principle, that the North-Central line will be a mix of grade level and underground infrastructure at Centre Street North. Therefore, this potential LRT line will be called the Centre Street LRT or the Green Line. The whole Green Line across Calgary from the community of Panorama Hills in the far north to the South Health Campus in the far southeast might ultimately cost C$5 billion in total.[69][70] However, the Calgary Herald reported that city council had taken the expensive tunnel option for leaving the river valley off the table to reduce costs. Instead, the new route would take two lanes from the existing Centre Street Bridge, leaving only two narrow lanes for traffic. Despite that, there will be tunnels under 16 Avenue North and McKnight Boulevard to prevent traffic congestion in those areas.[71]

Debate between SE and N-C C-Train expansion[edit]

At the same time that consultations have begun for a feasibility study for a possible north-central route, City Hall has commenced two years of studies to see which part of the city gets the conditional approval of Calgary's next new C-Train route.[72][73]

Spur line to the Calgary International Airport[edit]

As part of the C$8 billion, 30-year RouteAhead plan, there is a plan to connect downtown Calgary with the Calgary International Airport via a higher order transit connection, which may take an initial form as a Route 202 spur line.[55][56] The Airport Trail tunnel is more likely to accommodate a future C-Train right-of-way or busway, or to dedicate space to automated guideway transit. This project was opened on May 25, 2014.[74]

Other future improvements[edit]

Although newer models have been purchased, almost all of Calgary's original trains remain in service.

Calgary Transit operates three-car trains. The fourteen newest stations — Tuscany, Crowfoot, Dalhousie, Saddletowne, Martindale, McKnight–Westwinds, Shawnessy, Somerset–Bridlewood, Sunalta, Shaganappi Point, Westbrook, 45 Street, Sirocco, and 69 Street — have all been built with 4-car platforms. As part of the 7 Avenue Refurbishment Project, Downtown West – Kerby, 8 Street W, 7 Street W, 6 Street W, 4 Street W, 3 Street W, 1 Street W, Centre Street and City Hall stations now have 4-car platforms. It is planned to expand the original stations outside of downtown to support four car trains. As of September 2014 Brentwood, Erlton/Stampede, Victoria Park/Stampede, Lions Park, University, Anderson, Southland, Canyon Meadows, Whitehorn, Franklin, Marlborough, Rundle, Sunnyside, Heritage, Chinook, and Fish Creek–Lacombe stations have been extended. And the rest will be extended as follows:[75]

  • Barlow/Max Bell Construction has started, expected to finish in late 2014.
  • 39 Avenue, Bridgeland/Memorial, Zoo, SAIT/ACAD/Jubilee, and Banff Trail expected to start in 2014

By 2023 Calgary Transit also plans to begin decommissioning some of the original Siemens-Duewag U2s (as of 2010 80 of the original 83 were in use, and nearing 29 years of service, by 2023 they will be 42 years old). Additional LRVs have been added to the system to accommodate growth, including 72 Siemens SD160 LRVs as of late 2008, with an additional 38 ordered in conjunction with the NW and NE LRT extensions, and the West LRT, which was completed in 2012. Calgary Transit has also ordered 60 new Siemens S200 LRV cars to replace some existing U2s.[76][77]

Further underground infrastructure[edit]

In addition to numerous tunnels to allow trains to pass under roadways, geographic features, and mainline railways, there are other notable underground portions of Calgary's C-Train system.

Part of the system through downtown is planned to be transferred underground when needed to maintain reliable service. Given this, portions of the needed infrastructure have been built as adjacent and associated land was developed.[78] As a result of this original plan, when the City of Calgary built a new Municipal Building, it built a short section of tunnel to connect the existing CPR tunnel to the future tunnel under 8th Avenue S. The turnoff to this station is visible in the tunnel on Route 201 entering downtown from the south, shortly before City Hall. However, after urban explorers discovered the tunnel and visited it during a transit strike,[citation needed] the city walled off the spur tunnel with concrete blocks.

As the population of metropolitan Calgary increases and growing suburbs require new lines and extensions, the higher train volumes will exceed the ability of the downtown section along 7th Avenue S to accommodate them. To provide for long-term expansion, the city is reviewing its plans to put parts of the downtown section underground. The current plans allow the expanded Route 202 (Northeast/West) to use the existing 7th Avenue S surface infrastructure. The expanded Route 201 (Northwest/South), now sharing 7th Avenue S with Route 202, will be relocated to a new tunnel dug beneath 8th Avenue S. The future Southeast/Downtown route will probably enter downtown through a shorter tunnel under one or more streets (candidates include 2nd Street W, 5th Street W, 6th Street W, 8th Avenue S, 10th Avenue S, 11th Avenue S, and 12th Avenue S). The future North line will probably share track from the Zoo station through downtown with the existing Northeast line (Route 202), avoiding the cost of a tunnel until passenger volumes grow.[61] Although Calgary City Council commissioned a functional study for the downtown metro component of the C-Train system in November 2007, the city is unlikely to complete this expansion before 2017 unless additional funding is received from provincial or federal governments. The cost of bringing the potential underground leg under 8 Avenue South could be at least C$800 million, according to Calgary Transit's 30-year RouteAhead plan.[55][56]

List of C-Train stations[edit]

The typical C-Train station outside the downtown core allows for several methods of passenger arrival and departure. Many C-Train passengers travel to and from suburban stations on feeder bus routes that wind their way through surrounding neighbourhoods. Another popular option is a Park and Ride lot, in which commuters drive to a station by car and then transfer to a C-Train to complete their journey. Alternatively, some C-Train passengers disembark at drop-off zones from vehicles travelling elsewhere; because many of these commuters are conveyed by their spouses, these zones are branded as Kiss and Ride areas.

Route 201[edit]

Station Route Area Open Location
Tuscany Route 201 NW 2014 51°08′07″N 114°14′15″W / 51.13528°N 114.23750°W / 51.13528; -114.23750 (Tuscany-Rocky Ridge)
Crowfoot Route 201 NW 2009 51°07′21″N 114°12′24″W / 51.12250°N 114.20667°W / 51.12250; -114.20667 (Crowfoot)
Dalhousie Route 201 NW 2003 51°06′12″N 114°09′39″W / 51.10333°N 114.16083°W / 51.10333; -114.16083 (Dalhousie)
Brentwood Route 201 NW 1990 51°05′15″N 114°07′56″W / 51.08750°N 114.13222°W / 51.08750; -114.13222 (Brentwood)
University Route 201 NW 1987 51°04′49″N 114°07′23″W / 51.08028°N 114.12306°W / 51.08028; -114.12306 (University)
Banff Trail Route 201 NW 1987 51°04′15″N 114°06′55″W / 51.07083°N 114.11528°W / 51.07083; -114.11528 (Banff Trail)
Lions Park Route 201 NW 1987 51°03′54″N 114°06′12″W / 51.06500°N 114.10333°W / 51.06500; -114.10333 (Lions Park)
SAIT/ACAD/Jubilee Route 201 NW 1987 51°03′47″N 114°05′28″W / 51.06306°N 114.09111°W / 51.06306; -114.09111 (SAIT)
Sunnyside Route 201 NW 1987 51°03′21″N 114°05′03″W / 51.05583°N 114.08417°W / 51.05583; -114.08417 (Sunnyside)
8th St. SW Route 201, 202 Downtown 1981 51°02′49″N 114°04′52″W / 51.04694°N 114.08111°W / 51.04694; -114.08111 (8th St.)
6th/7th St. SW Route 201, 202 Downtown 1981 51°02′48″N 114°04′30″W / 51.04667°N 114.07500°W / 51.04667; -114.07500 (7 Street)
3rd/4th St. SW Route 201, 202 Downtown 1981 51°02′48″N 114°04′13″W / 51.04667°N 114.07028°W / 51.04667; -114.07028 (3 Street)
1st St. SW/Centre St. Route 201, 202 Downtown 1981 51°02′48″N 114°03′51″W / 51.04667°N 114.06417°W / 51.04667; -114.06417 (Centre Street)
City Hall Route 201, 202 Downtown 1981 51°02′47″N 114°03′29″W / 51.04639°N 114.05806°W / 51.04639; -114.05806 (Olympic Plaza)
Victoria Park/Stampede Route 201 SE 1981 51°02′18″N 114°03′30″W / 51.03833°N 114.05833°W / 51.03833; -114.05833 (Stampede)
Erlton/Stampede Route 201 SE 1981 51°01′56″N 114°03′31″W / 51.03222°N 114.05861°W / 51.03222; -114.05861 (Erlton)
39th Avenue Route 201 SE 1981 51°01′03″N 114°03′42″W / 51.01750°N 114.06167°W / 51.01750; -114.06167 (39th Avenue)
Chinook Route 201 SE 1981 50°59′50″N 114°03′58″W / 50.99722°N 114.06611°W / 50.99722; -114.06611 (Chinook)
Heritage Route 201 SW 1981 50°58′43″N 114°04′27″W / 50.97861°N 114.07417°W / 50.97861; -114.07417 (Heritage)
Southland Route 201 SW 1981 50°57′51″N 114°04′36″W / 50.96417°N 114.07667°W / 50.96417; -114.07667 (Southland)
Anderson Route 201 SW 1981 50°57′17″N 114°04′29″W / 50.95472°N 114.07472°W / 50.95472; -114.07472 (Anderson)
Canyon Meadows Route 201 SW 2001 50°56′10″N 114°04′12″W / 50.93611°N 114.07000°W / 50.93611; -114.07000 (Canyon Meadows)
Fish Creek–Lacombe Route 201 SW 2001 50°55′23″N 114°04′22″W / 50.92306°N 114.07278°W / 50.92306; -114.07278 (Fish Creek)
Shawnessy Route 201 SW 2004 50°54′38″N 114°04′14″W / 50.91056°N 114.07056°W / 50.91056; -114.07056 (Shawnessy)
Somerset–Bridlewood Route 201 SW 2004 50°53′57″N 114°04′09″W / 50.89917°N 114.06917°W / 50.89917; -114.06917 (Somerset)

Route 202[edit]

Station Route Area Open Location
69th St. SW Route 202 SW 2012 51°02′15″N 114°11′26″W / 51.03750°N 114.19056°W / 51.03750; -114.19056 (69th St.)
Sirocco Route 202 SW 2012 51°02′13″N 114°10′17″W / 51.03694°N 114.17139°W / 51.03694; -114.17139 (Sirocco Drive)
45th St. SW Route 202 SW 2012 51°02′16″N 114°09′12″W / 51.03778°N 114.15333°W / 51.03778; -114.15333 (45th St.)
Westbrook Route 202 SW 2012 51°02′23″N 114°08′17″W / 51.03972°N 114.13806°W / 51.03972; -114.13806 (Westbrook)
Shaganappi Point Route 202 SW 2012 51°02′29″N 114°07′24″W / 51.04139°N 114.12333°W / 51.04139; -114.12333 (26th St.)
Sunalta Route 202 SW 2012 51°02′41.28″N 114°05′56″W / 51.0448000°N 114.09889°W / 51.0448000; -114.09889 (16th St.)
Downtown West – Kerby Route 202 Downtown 2012 51°02′49″N 114°05′15″W / 51.04694°N 114.08750°W / 51.04694; -114.08750 (Downtown West - Kerby)
8th St. SW Route 201, 202 Downtown 1981 51°02′49″N 114°04′52″W / 51.04694°N 114.08111°W / 51.04694; -114.08111 (8th St.)
6th/7th St. SW Route 201, 202 Downtown 1981 51°02′48″N 114°04′30″W / 51.04667°N 114.07500°W / 51.04667; -114.07500 (7 Street)
3rd/4th St. SW Route 201, 202 Downtown 1981 51°02′48″N 114°04′13″W / 51.04667°N 114.07028°W / 51.04667; -114.07028 (3 Street)
1st St. SW/Centre St. Route 201, 202 Downtown 1981 51°02′48″N 114°03′51″W / 51.04667°N 114.06417°W / 51.04667; -114.06417 (Centre Street)
City Hall Route 201, 202 Downtown 1981 51°02′47″N 114°03′29″W / 51.04639°N 114.05806°W / 51.04639; -114.05806 (Olympic Plaza)
Bridgeland/Memorial Route 202 SE 1985 51°02′56″N 114°02′26″W / 51.04889°N 114.04056°W / 51.04889; -114.04056 (Bridgeland)
Zoo Route 202 SE 1985 51°02′51″N 114°01′30″W / 51.04750°N 114.02500°W / 51.04750; -114.02500 (Zoo)
Barlow/Max Bell Route 202 SE 1985 51°02′45″N 114°00′25″W / 51.04583°N 114.00694°W / 51.04583; -114.00694 (Barlow)
Franklin Route 202 SE 1985 51°02′50″N 113°59′38″W / 51.04722°N 113.99389°W / 51.04722; -113.99389 (Franklin)
Marlborough Route 202 NE 1985 51°03′32″N 113°58′54″W / 51.05889°N 113.98167°W / 51.05889; -113.98167 (Marlborough)
Rundle Route 202 NE 1985 51°04′30″N 113°58′54″W / 51.07500°N 113.98167°W / 51.07500; -113.98167 (Rundle)
Whitehorn Route 202 NE 1985 51°05′11″N 113°58′54″W / 51.08639°N 113.98167°W / 51.08639; -113.98167 (Whitehorn)
McKnight–Westwinds Route 202 NE 2007 51°05′52″N 113°58′54″W / 51.09778°N 113.98167°W / 51.09778; -113.98167 (McKnight-Westwinds)
Martindale Route 202 NE 2012 51°07′11″N 113°57′39″W / 51.11972°N 113.96083°W / 51.11972; -113.96083 (Martindale)
Saddletowne Route 202 NE 2012 51°07′30″N 113°56′54″W / 51.12500°N 113.94833°W / 51.12500; -113.94833 (Saddle Ridge)

Decommissioned stations[edit]

Station Route Area Open Closed
3 Street SE Route 202 Downtown 1985 2010
Olympic Plaza Route 201, 202 Downtown 1981 2011
10 Street SW Route 202 Downtown 1985 2012

Reasons for success[edit]

The C-Train's high ridership rate and cost effectiveness is attributed to a number of factors. The nature of Calgary itself has encouraged C-Train use. Calgary has a dense downtown business district, with the second most corporate head offices in Canada after Toronto, most of them crowded into about one square kilometre of land. In recent decades the population has grown dramatically, outpacing the ability of roads to transport people into the city.[79]

Costs were controlled during construction and operation of the system by using relatively cheap, existing technology. A grade separated system was passed over in preference of a system without significant elevated or buried elements and the trains and stations selected were of the tried and tested, utilitarian variety (for example, vehicles are not air conditioned, storage yards are not automated and stations are in general concrete platforms with a modest shelter overhead). This allowed more track to be laid with the available funds and contrasts with the Edmonton Light Rail Transit which buried the portion of the system in downtown and under the University of Alberta, increasing costs. The C-Train uses a self-service model of payment, reducing fare collection costs.

In 2001, the U.S. General Accounting Office released a study of the cost-effectiveness of American light rail systems.[80] Although not included in the report, Calgary had a capital cost of US$24.5 million per mile (year 2000 dollars), which would be the sixth lowest (Edmonton was given as US$41.7 million per mile). Because of its high ridership (then 188,000 boardings per weekday) the capital cost per passenger was $2,400 per daily passenger, by far the lowest of the 14 systems compared (had Edmonton been included it would have been the next most cost effective at $8,900 per weekday passenger, while the closest American system was Sacramento at $9,100 per weekday passenger). Operating costs are also low, in 2005, the C-Train cost CDN$163 per operating hour to operate. With an average of 600 boardings per hour, cost per LRT passenger is CDN$0.27, compared to $1.50 for bus passengers in Calgary.[81]

Planning for the C-Train also played an important role. Although the light rail system was not chosen until 1976, the city had reserved transit corridors for some form of high capacity transport in the 1960s, and planning for the system was done when Calgary's population was less than 500,000. The city reached an agreement with CP Rail to build most of the south line along their existing right-of-way. The lines and stations were placed to serve large residential areas and business districts and to serve existing and predicted travel patterns. Feeder bus stations were established.

The city chose not to build major freeways into the city centre, forcing commuters to use the train as their numbers increased but downtown street capacity did not. Similarly, the city limited the number of parking spaces in the downtown core, making it prohibitively expensive for many people to drive to downtown jobs, particularly as surface lots gave way to development. Downtown unreserved monthly parking is amongst the most expensive in North America, behind only Midtown and Downtown Manhattan for business districts.[82][83] As a result, in 2012 50% of Calgary's 120,000 downtown workers used Calgary Transit to get to work, with a long term goal of reaching that mark to 60% of downtown workers in the future.

Although not generally grade separated, the C-Train is able to operate at high speeds on much of its track by separating it from pedestrians with fences and concrete bollards. Trains are also given right of way at most road crossings outside of downtown. As a result, trains are able to operate at 80 km/h (50 mph) outside of downtown, and 40 km/h (25 mph) along the 7th Avenue corridor. 7th Avenue is a free fare zone, encouraging use for short hops through the city. The city achieves high capacity on the 7th Avenue transit corridor by staging the traffic lights, so that all the trains move forward in unison to the next station on the synchronized green lights, and load and unload passengers on the intervening red lights.[81]

Facilities[edit]

  • Anderson Garage – LRV indoor storage and training facilities
  • Haysboro Garage – small indoor and outdoor LRV storage; LRV yard and Turner Storage Area
  • Oliver Bowen Maintenance Centre – major LRV repair and shops; storage for 60 cars (and up to 108 cars after expansion)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]