Skytrain rolling stock

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The SkyTrain is a large rapid transit system located in Greater Vancouver, and has a large fleet of rolling stock.


Summary of SkyTrain Fleet
Builder Model Year Acquired Fleet size
Urban Transportation Development Corporation ICTS Mark I 1984–1986 114 cars 001+002 to 055+056 plus 061+062 to 117+118
Urban Transportation Development Corporation ICTS Mark I 1990–1991 16 cars 121+122 to 135+136
Urban Transportation Development Corporation ICTS Mark I 1994–1995 20 cars 137+138 to 155+156
Bombardier Transportation ART Mark II 2000–2002 60 cars 201+202 to 259+260
Bombardier Transportation ART Mark II 2009 34 cars 301+302 to 333+334
Bombardier Transportation ART Mark II 2010 14 cars 335+336 to 347+348
Hyundai Rotem EMU 2009 40 cars 101+201 to 120+220
Standard Train Configuration and Capacity
Model Seats/car Capacity/car Cars/train Length/train Capacity/train
ICTS Mark I (1984–1993) 36 80 4 or 6 cars 50.8 or 76.2 m 320 or 480
ART Mark II (2002) 42 130 2 or 4 cars 34.7 or 69.4 m 260 or 520
ART Mark II (2009/2010) 33 145 2 or 4 cars 34.7 or 69.4 m 290 or 580
Hyundai Rotem EMU 44 167 2 cars 41 m 334

Expo Line and Millennium Line[edit]

The Expo Line and Millennium Line use Bombardier's Advanced Rapid Transit (ART) technology, a system of automated trains driven by linear induction motors, formerly known as Intermediate Capacity Transit System (ICTS). These trains reach speeds of 90 km/h (56 mph);[1] including wait times at stops, the end-to-end average speed is 45 km/h (28 mph), three times faster than a bus and almost twice as fast as a B-Line express bus.[2]

UTDC ICTS Mark I fleet[edit]

The interior of an older Mark I train.

The initial fleet consists of 12 m (39 ft 4 12 in) lightweight Mark I ICTS cars from Urban Transportation Development Corporation, similar to those used by Toronto's Scarborough RT and the Detroit People Mover.[3] Mark I vehicles are composed of mated pairs and normally run as four-car trains, but can be run in two-, four-, or six-car configurations. The maximum based on station platform lengths is a six-car configuration, totaling 72 m (236 ft 2 58 in) The SkyTrain fleet currently includes 150 Mark I trains.[4] These trains have side-facing seats; red, white, and blue interiors; and two doors per car.

Each Mark I car has 36 seats and a capacity of 80 passengers.[5] Mark I trains have spaces dedicated for wheelchair users, bicycles, and strollers.

The Mark I ICTS cars built between 1984 and 1986 for the first/1985 phase of the Expo Line featured two end-doors, one at the front and back of each car. The back side of each car had sections painted in black. These trains were different from the test train couple used during the ICTS testing in 1983. There are a total of 150 Mark I cars: 114 dating from 1984–1986, which have run an average of more than 3.2 million km apiece; 16 added in 1991 for the Scott Road extension; and 20 added in 1994 for the King George extension.[citation needed]

In 1991, additional Mark I ICTS cars were purchased. These newer cars featured no end doors, and the back side was not coloured black. The ends of each car had no doors; instead, the windoww were slightly enlarged and the front was equipped with an electric motor driven windshield wiper. Trains include a fold-down seat near the front ends that permit a rider a view of the tracks from the end car.

When the 1984/86 fleet of ICTS cars were introduced, floors were carpet-lined, intended as a way to showcase SkyTrain as an elegant world class system. However, as maintaining the carpets proved difficult and sanitation issues quickly became a concern, they were replaced with wax flooring in the summer of 1992. The Expo fleet of trains also initially equipped with passenger-initiated door buttons, meaning that individual door sets only opened at the push of a button when passengers wished to get on or off at a particular station. The buttons were removed between 1989 and 1991, due in large part to passenger confusion as to how to properly use the buttons as well as doors jamming, thus leading to the issue of frequent system-wide or area-specific delays.

Between the late 1990s and early 2000s, just prior to the opening of the Millennium Line, SkyTrain gradually refurbished the entire Mark I train fleet in terms of design and layout. This included minor and major paint scheme changes before and following the shift from BC Transit to TransLink, upgrading of signage, changes to seating fabric colour scheme and seating arrangement, and a complete re-recording of the station announcement system that had been in use since 1985.[citation needed]

From the beginning of the system's revenue opening in January 1986, SkyTrain operated daytime service with two-car and four-car Mark I trains running at a target five-minute frequency. During Expo 86, four-car trains were primarily used to manage the large-scale population flow of the fair. In the years following, two-car trains were operated on off-peak hours, late evenings and Sundays, while four-car trains were used to handle peak periods and large downtown events such as concerts, marathons, and hockey games. Two-car trains were gradually phased out between 1990 and 1993 in response to complaints about overcrowding.[citation needed]. At the opening of the second part of the phase two extension to Scott Road Station in 1990, six-car trains were used for the first time at reduced frequency while an operation glitch in the system's computer network had to be corrected and re-programmed. In the future, as newer Mark II/Mark III cars are added to the system, more six-car trains will be operating in the ripple effect of creating longer trains for all vehicle types to maximize current station platform lengths.

Prior to the opening of the Millennium Line, four-car trains became standard because SkyTrain could operate frequent service (about 150 seconds) during peak hours. The opening of GM Place (today called Rogers Arena) also brought an increase in the number of special events (hockey, concerts, and the short-lived trial of basketball) which required extended capacity during the evenings.[citation needed]. SkyTrain has also operated longer six-car trains for capacity on some occasions when track maintenance (generally done on weekends) has reduced the operating frequency.[citation needed] Two-car trains only operate during train maintenance and testing at the BCRTC Edmonds Maintenance and Storage Facility in Burnaby.

Bombardier ART Mark II train fleet[edit]

First generation Mark II trains have more spacious interiors, which allow them to carry more riders in trains of the same size.

When the Millennium Line was built, TransLink ordered new-generation Mark II ART trains from Bombardier Transportation, some of which were manufactured in a Burnaby factory.[6] Similar trains are used in Kuala Lumpur's Kelana Jaya Line, New York's JFK AirTrain, and the new Beijing Airport Express. These trains are usually seen in two-car and four-car configurations. Each pair of cars is permanently joined together in a twin unit or 'married pair', with a length of 33.4 m. Mark II trains have a streamlined front and rear, an articulated joint allowing passengers to walk the length of a married pair, white/grey/blue interior, and three doors per car.

Like Mark I trains, Mark II vehicles are fully accessible, with dedicated spaces for wheelchair users, strollers, and bicycles. The first-generation Mark II vehicles each have 41 seats and a capacity of 130 passengers, although trains have carried up to 150 passengers under crush load.[5] The second-generation Mark II vehicles have fewer seats and wider aisles, providing more space for standees, wheelchairs, strollers, and bicycles; they have 33 seats and a total capacity of 145 passengers. The second-generation Mark II trains also feature interactive LED maps, more handlebars, and video cameras.[7]

Second generation Mark II trains have a row of seats removed to allow for greater capacity than first generation Mark IIs.

There were 60 Mark II cars added in 2002 for the Millennium Line and ridership growth on the Expo Line.[8] In November 2006, Bombardier won a contract to supply a further 34 ART Mark II cars with a bid of $113 million. These cars are painted in the new TransLink livery appearing on recent buses, and have new features such as light-up station maps, door indicator lights, and destination boards in the front and back windows of the train. These trains are manufactured and assembled in Sahagun, Mexico, and Thunder Bay, Ontario.[9] An additional 14 ART Mark II cars have been ordered for delivery in early 2010.[10] The first of these trains entered regular service on July 3, 2009.

With the acquisition of the initial 60 larger Mark II cars in 2002 as part of the Millennium Line extension, SkyTrain chose to operate most in two-car trains (capacity ~260 passengers). This was a reasonable match to the four-car Mark I trains (~320 passengers), allowing six-minute off-peak service on both branches of the line and three-minute service on the inner portion between Waterfront and Columbia stations, while sustaining a practical operation during peak hours (55 trains in service, with a 108-second frequency between Waterfront and Columbia stations).[citation needed]

With the May 2010 fleet expansion of 48 cars to accommodate ridership growth, SkyTrain has reconfigured most of the new and old Mark II cars into four-car trains to provide more capacity with the same number of trains (55) at the same headway (108 seconds).[citation needed]

Bombardier ART Mark III train fleet (future)[edit]

With SkyTrain expanding current operations by adding additional train capacity to existing lines (notably the busiest route, the Expo Line), as well as constructing new lines that utilize LIM rail for propulsion (such as the Evergreen Line), further orders for Bombardier ART train cars will be placed by TransLink in the future. The Evergreen Line program includes the purchase of 28 new cars, and when additional funding becomes available, another order is planned for 24 cars to add network capacity. As part of plans to gradually increase Expo Line capacity, eventual operation of mostly six-car Mark I trains and five-car Mark II/III trains during peak hours is anticipated to maximize usage of current platform length, prior to an expensive, long-term planned project of constructing longer platforms at all existing Expo Line stations. As TransLink currently operates a fleet of couplets (or married pairs) for its ART fleet, a middle "C" car will be added to some of either Mark II or III train sets to create three-car train sets, which can be coupled with two-car train sets to create five-car trains. Whether the middle "C" car implementation will use Mark II or Mark III vehicles is unclear at this time (November 2011).

The Bombardier ART model has undergone several redesigns from the original UTDC ICTS model, and the Mark II design has been updated by Bombardier, with its newest offering being the Mark III. Dimensions are expected to be similar to the Mark II, with possible capacity improvements offered over the outgoing model through redesigned car layout.

TransLink has released conceptual renderings of what future Mark III cars might look like in Vancouver's SkyTrain network. The vehicles appear sleeker, with larger windows on the sides of the train, and redesigned windows and headlights on the ends of the cars. No production models are yet in service in the world, but as of November 2011, Bombardier presents a similarly designed Mark III vehicle (without the TransLink paint scheme) that it offers as its new ART model, also called Innovia ART.[11] In the future, most TransLink orders will likely be for the currently-offered Mark III design.

Canada Line[edit]

Canada Line's Hyundai Rotem trains are wider than Bombardier Mark II trains, with spaces assigned for bicycles and luggage.

Hyundai Rotem EMU fleet[edit]

The Canada Line's Hyundai Rotem cars uses different train propulsion technology than Bombardier ART cars, being powered by conventional electric motors rather than Linear Induction Motor (LIM) technology, and therefore incompatible with the other SkyTrain lines. There are a total of 20 trains, which were built by Hyundai Rotem in Korea, operate as two-carriage articulated units, and can reach a speed of 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph) in normal operations, or 90 kilometres per hour (56 mph) in catch-up mode.[12] They are maintained at a yard next to Bridgeport Station in Richmond.

The Hyundai Rotem cars are 3 m (9 ft 10 18 in) in width and 20 m (65 ft 7 38 in) in length, both wider and longer than the Bombardier Mark I and Mark II trains. Each two-car train has seating for 88 and a normal capacity of 334 passengers at 4 passengers/m², with crush load capacity of 400. Therefore a two-car Hyundai Rotem train has more capacity than a four-car Mark I train. The trains feature large, dedicated spaces for wheelchair users, bicycles, and strollers, and sufficient space between seats for luggage. The trains also have large LED displays on both ends of the exterior and interior of the train, displaying the terminus station on exterior signs, with interior displays showing next station, terminus station, and system announcement information.

As like the other SkyTrain lines, ridership on the Canada Line is expected to increase in the future, and eventually capacity will need to be upgraded. The capacity of the line can be increased by 50 per cent through an increase in frequency by adding more trains and another 50 per cent through lengthening trains to a three-car configuration.[13] Unlike Bombardier ART trains, the Hyundai Rotem trains will not be operated as longer four- or six-car trains. Adding more two-car trainsets to increase frequency will likely be the first expansion option, as it will be cheaper than making the modifications necessary for the line to accommodate three-car trainsets. Through inserting a middle "C" car at the articulated joint between two end cars, available capacity will be similar to a four-car Mark II or a six-car Mark I train. The Canada Line's station platforms are expandable to 50 m in length to accommodate these future three-car trains; the five busiest stations are already 50 m in length. The Canada Line has a designed future capacity of 15,000 pphpd when operating three-car trains at 120-second headways, which is nearly three times its current capacity.[14]


  1. ^ "Safety and Security on SkyTrain". The British Columbia Rapid Transit Company Ltd. Retrieved December 8, 2006. 
  2. ^ "Burnaby/New Westminster Area Transit Plan Summary Report" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2005-01-09. Retrieved December 13, 2006. 
  3. ^ "Vancouver SkyTrain Network, Canada". Retrieved December 5, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Specifications: Vancouver SkyTrain Network, Canada". Retrieved December 5, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b "Larger capacity, but fewer seats in new SkyTrain cars". The Province. May 7, 2009. Retrieved July 22, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Questions about Skytrain $". CBC News. May 25, 2000. Retrieved February 3, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Improved interiors for the new SkyTrain cars!". Buzzer Blog, TransLink. May 6, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Livable Regional Strategic Plan 2002 Report" (PDF). Greater Vancouver Regional District. Archived from the original on 2007-06-21. Retrieved June 10, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Bombardier lands $113M deal with Vancouver SkyTrain". CBC News. November 23, 2006. Retrieved December 15, 2006. 
  10. ^ "TransLink to spend $150M on buses, SkyTrain by 2010". CBC News. April 11, 2008. Retrieved December 5, 2008. 
  11. ^ Bombardier. "Bombardier Innovia ART". Retrieved November 2011. 
  12. ^ "The Canada Line Factsheet – The Canada Line Vehicle" (PDF). Greater Vancouver Regional District. Retrieved December 5, 2008. 
  13. ^ Ken Hardie. "Translink's Olympic-sized mistake". 
  14. ^ "Canada Line Construction Environmental Management Plan". ProTransBC. Retrieved September 9, 2009.