Two trains meeting at Brentwood Station
|Type||Light Metro Rapid Transit|
|Termini||Waterfront via Columbia
|Opening||January 2, 2002|
|Owner||TransLink (BC Transit)|
|Operator(s)||British Columbia Rapid Transit Company|
|Rolling stock||Bombardier ART Mark I and Mark II|
|Line length||20.3 km (12.6 mi)|
|No. of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Electrification||Third rail (Linear motor)|
|Operating speed||80 km/h (50 mph)|
The Millennium Line is the second rapid transit line built in the SkyTrain light metro rapid transit system in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The line is owned and operated by TransLink. Millennium Line uses the colour yellow on route maps, wayfinding and station signage.
When the Expo Line opened in 1985, an extension to Lougheed Mall in east Burnaby was proposed. The most likely junction point for the spur to Lougheed Mall would have been from Royal Oak Station, up Edmonds Street to Lougheed Mall, although early SkyTrain route maps also suggested an extension northeast from New Westminster. Neither plan was ever realized, although the extension of Expo Line tracks to Columbia Station in 1989 and the completion of the Skybridge to Surrey in 1990 resulted in a short spur east of Columbia Station, which was ultimately incorporated into the new Millennium Line.
In the late 1990s, the British Columbia government announced that an entirely new line would be built from VCC–Clark Station to Columbia Station via Lougheed Mall (served by Lougheed Town Centre Station), as the first phase of the "T-Line" outlined in the GVRD's Livable Region Strategic Plan that extended into Coquitlam. The government's choice of Bombardier's technology meant that the first phase of the line would have to connect to the existing Expo Line to use its maintenance yard. Connecting the two lines at Broadway Station was deemed too impracticable, so the lines were connected in New Westminster. Switches to the Millennium Line were installed on the Expo Line at the north end of the Skybridge. Expo Line service was reduced to a single track over the Skybridge during the installation of these switches.
The second phase of the Millennium Line was to be an extension from Lougheed Mall to Coquitlam (then known as the Port Moody-Coquitlam (PMC) Line), which would have provided a "one seat ride" from Coquitlam to VCC–Clark Station. Switches to the PMC Line were installed to the east of Lougheed Town Centre Station and a third platform was roughed-in in anticipation of the extension. Phase II was cancelled following a change in provincial government.
The Millennium Line opened on January 2, 2002, with trains initially operating between Waterfront Station on the Expo Line and Braid Station in eastern New Westminster - this was referred to as Phase I. Service was extended to Commercial–Broadway Station (then 'Commercial Drive Station'), or Phase II of construction, on September 4, 2002. Lake City Way Station opened on November 21, 2003. Three years later, the line was extended to its present terminus, VCC–Clark Station, opening on January 6, 2006.
Millennium Line trains follow the Expo Line from Waterfront to Columbia Stations, then loop back into Vancouver via a new route, passing through Commercial–Broadway Station again at a different platform, and terminating at VCC–Clark Station.
In 2007, the non-interlined portion of the Millennium Line served an average of 70,000 passengers per day. Of these, 14,000 passengers arrived on trains travelling from Expo Line stations west of Columbia Station, and 7,000 transferred from the Surrey section of the Expo Line. Since then, it is estimated that ridership has grown to at least 80,000 passengers per day.
From Waterfront to Columbia Stations, Expo and Millennium Line trains stop at the same stations.
The Millennium Line tracks pass through a tunnel for about 1 km east of Columbia Station, then are elevated above the CN/BNSF right-of-way through eastern New Westminster. The tracks run through Coquitlam, south of the Trans-Canada Highway to Lougheed Town Centre. There are currently no stations in Coquitlam, but original plans for the line proposed a "finger" looping into Coquitlam with a station at Mallairdville, but this was deleted following opposition from the community. From Lougheed Town Centre, the line is elevated, running down the middle or along the side of Lougheed Highway to just west of Brentwood Town Centre, where it picks up the CN/BNSF right-of-way again, being elevated until Renfrew Station, then travelling through the Grandview Cut to Commercial Drive and then on to VCC–Clark Station.
When the Evergreen Line extension from Lougheed Town Centre Station to Coquitlam opens in summer 2016, the Millennium Line route will be shortened to serve Waterfront Station to Lougheed Town Centre. The Lougheed Town Centre to VCC–Clark section of the line will be served by the Evergreen Line, which will operate between VCC–Clark and Douglas College stations.
- south to Main Street and Broadway, running under 10th Avenue, through the Mount Pleasant and Fairview neighbourhoods in Vancouver south of False Creek, to serve the commercial and hospital area along central Broadway, including a connection to the Broadway – City Hall Station on the Canada Line. The terminus of this proposed route would be at either Arbutus, Burrard, Granville Street or even all the way to the University of British Columbia main campus. Or;
- continuing along 2nd Avenue to the Canada Line Olympic Village Station on Cambie Street.
On January 14, 2008, the BC government announced a commitment to the expansion of the Millennium Line to UBC by 2020 as part of a $14 billion transit spending package to address global warming. It was not initially clear exactly what route the new line would take, but it was hinted that there would be less use of cut-and-cover to minimize disruption to businesses along Broadway and avoid the same problems seen during the Canada Line construction along Cambie Street.
As of January 2011, Translink was in the midst of a study on various options for improved transit out to UBC, including a westward SkyTrain extension from VCC–Clark Station.
The Evergreen Line is now under construction, having commenced major work in 2013 and opening for service in summer 2016. In Coquitlam, a SkyTrain extension from Lougheed Town Centre Station to Coquitlam Town Centre was proposed when the original Millennium Line was built, and the necessary junction tracks were built at Lougheed Town Centre Station (which will now be used in 2016). Plans subsequently evolved to building a tram line instead of SkyTrain, which meant that the junction tracks would have remained unused. However, in February 2008, plans reverted to the use of SkyTrain technology to facilitate higher ridership, shorten travel times and to integrate seamlessly with the existing SkyTrain network. The Evergreen Line will operate from Douglas College Station to VCC–Clark Station, replacing Millennium Line service on the Lougheed Town Centre to VCC–Clark portion of the route.
- "Millennium Line celebrates five year anniversary with growing ridership". Translink. August 3, 2007.
- "SkyTrain in Vancouver". UBC SkyTrain Group. 2009.
- Palmer, Vaughn (2008-01-15). "Less than meets the eye, and light on details". Vancouver Sun (CanWest MediaWorks Publications). Retrieved 2008-01-15.
- "UBC Line Rapid Transit Study". Retrieved 2011-01-07.
- "Evergreen Line Business Case Update". BC Ministry of Transportation. February 2008.