|Type||Light Metro Rapid Transit|
|Termini||VCC–Clark via Lougheed Town Centre Station
|Opened||December 2, 2016|
|Operator(s)||British Columbia Rapid Transit Company|
|Rolling stock||Bombardier ART Mark I, Mark II, and Mark III|
|Line length||10.9 km (6.8 mi)|
|Number of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Electrification||Third rail (Linear motor)|
|Operating speed||80 km/h (50 mph)|
The Evergreen Extension (previously known as the Evergreen Line) is a 10.9-kilometre (6.8 mi) long extension of the SkyTrain rapid transit Millennium Line for the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (TransLink) in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It extends the SkyTrain network from Lougheed Town Centre in Burnaby to Lafarge Lake–Douglas in Coquitlam, with the addition of six new SkyTrain stations and major upgrades to two existing stations (Commercial–Broadway Station and Lougheed Town Centre). It opened on December 2, 2016.
With the extension opened, the Millennium Line operates between VCC–Clark and Lafarge Lake–Douglas. Service was planned to begin by the middle of 2016, and the line expected to serve 70,000 passengers per day in 2021. The line uses tunnels and elevated guideways, and the same automated technology as the SkyTrain rapid transit lines operated by TransLink elsewhere in Metro Vancouver. On January 25, 2012, the provincial government announced that pre-construction work would proceed on the line, including the removal of some buildings and the construction of underground utility tunnels.
At 79.6 kilometres (49.5 mi), Vancouver's SkyTrain system is the largest fully grade-separated metro rail system in Canada (in terms of track length), surpassing the Toronto subway (68.3 km [42.4 mi]). It is also the longest fully automated rapid transit system in the world, surpassing the Dubai Metro.
The Evergreen Extension uses the colour yellow outlined in green (previously just green) on route maps, wayfinding and station signage.
A rapid-transit extension to Coquitlam was intended to be phase II of the new Millennium Line that was completed in 2002. As the costs of the project rose, however, plans to extend the line into Coquitlam were halted, though not before a third incomplete platform on the westbound side of the Lougheed Town Centre station was built, with a spur of tracks for the extension.
After completion of the Millennium Line, TransLink undertook several studies regarding the fate of the extension, considering a variety of possible options, including a diesel multiple unit-based railway, a tram line, a new SkyTrain line, and an express bus service. In September 2002 the 97 B-Line express bus service was implemented. In 2004, it was decided that a tram line was the best option, as it would better blend in with the neighbourhood, cost less, better fit ridership patterns, and not compete with customers from the existing West Coast Express.
Detailed design began in October 2006, when the TransLink Board approved the Evergreen Light Rail Transit (LRT) project definition phase. Despite a series of public consultations held during this period, in a community update issued May 2007, TransLink summarized the state of the project as follows: “Work continues to resolve several outstanding issues before the project proceeds. Until there is project certainty, the planned consultation process in support of detailed design, the planned submission of the Application for an Environmental Assessment Certificate and the anticipated start date of the project construction are delayed.”
This prompted local news agencies to interpret the statement as meaning TransLink had shelved the project. TransLink responded by issuing the following statement on July 19: "The Light Rail Transit system for the Northeast Sector is the number one rapid transit priority for TransLink", TransLink Chair Malcolm Brodie said. "We have defined the project, and now we are waiting for funding to be confirmed from senior levels of government."
On February 1, 2008, the provincial government and TransLink unveiled a revised business case for the Evergreen extension, preferring the Advanced Light Rapid Transit (ALRT) used by SkyTrain over the light-rail technology that had been proposed. The expected completion date was pushed back from 2011 to 2014. On April 18, 2008, the Transport Ministry and TransLink announced that of the two routes proposed in the business case, the North West route was selected after consultation with the various municipalities. On August 5, 2008, the Province of British Columbia and TransLink agreed on Evergreen Line delivery. On May 4, 2009, the Ministry of Transportation released a Project Description Report for the Evergreen Line. The report provided more information about the scope and characteristics of the proposed line and detailed the project's environmental and socio-economic requirements.
On September 3, 2009, the release of the report on TransLink's 2010 ten-year plan by Martin Crilly, the Regional Transportation Commissioner appointed by the Province of BC, indicated that rapid transit expansion, which includes the Evergreen Line, was highly unlikely without a predictable source of operational funding. Although he stopped short of offering his opinion on the project, he agreed nonetheless with TransLink that upgrades to the existing system should be prioritized before the construction of the Evergreen Line.
On September 11, 2009, the second project update was released by the Evergreen Line Project. The update stated that contractor selection would begin in early to mid-2010, environmental assessment would be completed in 2010, and construction would proceed in late 2010. The update also announced open houses for the environmental assessment process for September 2009 and open houses for preliminary design in October and November 2009. It did not make reference to the funding issues that remained unresolved.
On October 26, 2009, the TransLink Mayors' Council voted against the increased funding necessary to pursue the Evergreen Line, instead voting for keeping existing services as they are. However, on October 28, 2009, Premier Gordon Campbell stated that the line would continue even though it had been voted down.
On October 7, 2011, the Mayors' Council approved the "Moving Forward" 2012 Supplemental Plan to fund various transportation projects in the Metro Vancouver region, including the Evergreen Line. Funding would be provided in part by a two-cents-per-litre increase in the Metro Vancouver fuel tax that was implemented in April 2012, with further funding from new sources that had yet to be determined. Of the projected $1.4 billion cost for the Evergreen Line, TransLink would provide $400 million, the provincial government would contribute $583 million, and the federal government would contribute $417 million. Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom announced that construction was expected to begin in mid-2012, soon after a winning bid for construction was to be chosen from three shortlisted builders.
In May 2012, preliminary construction began, including the removal of some buildings and the construction of underground utility tunnels in certain areas of Port Moody and Coquitlam. At the same time, the province also awarded contracts to widen sections of North Road that were to be affected by construction of the line in the middle of the year.
On July 19, 2012, the Government of Canada, the City of Coquitlam, and Coquitlam Centre Mall reached an agreement to add Lincoln Station onto the Evergreen Line, with the federal government contributing $7 million to the public-private partnership.
On December 3, 2012, the BC government and TransLink signed a contract with Bombardier Transportation to supply 28 SkyTrain cars.
On December 8, 2012, the final early works contract for the Evergreen Line was awarded and was to be completed by March 2013. The statement also promised that the project was still on track for completion in 2016.
On February 5, 2013, Thales Canada announced that it was awarded a contract by Partnerships BC to install the company's SelTrac Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC).
On March 23, 2013, the final names of the Evergreen Line stations were announced. It was also announced that construction of the guideway of the Evergreen Line would start in the Burquitlam area of Coquitlam in mid-2013 and continue south to Lougheed Town Centre station. The stations have been built in the following order:
- Inlet Centre Station, including utility work;
- Moody Centre Station, including utility work and relocation of the railway in the area;
- Lincoln Station, Burquitlam Station, and Lougheed Town Centre Station (beginning in mid-2013); and
- Coquitlam Central Station and Lafarge Lake–Douglas Station (beginning in late 2013).
In October 2014, the elevated guideway section between Lougheed Town Centre Station to the South Tunnel Portal was completed. The launching truss was transported to Coquitlam Central Station, where crews will continue to build the elevated guideway north to Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station.
On February 13, 2015, the provincial government announced that the opening of the line would be delayed until late 2016, due to slower-than-expected tunnel boring process. Any costs associated with the delay will come at no cost to the taxpayers, and will instead be covered by the contractor.
In June 2015, the project management team announced that they would begin testing trains between Lougheed Station and Burquitlam station in July 2015. In the week of July 6, 2015, testing began.
On November 27, 2015, the provincial government announced that the opening of the line would be further delayed until early 2017.
As of April 2016, the project was 85% complete, including trackwork in elevated and at-grade guideways, guideway construction, tunnel boring, tunnel base, station buildings, and testing between Lougheed and Burquitlam station.
On September 8, 2016, it was announced that the line would be opening before Christmas 2016 but that a concrete date had yet to be set.
On October 22, 2016, Expo Line and Millennium Line route changes took effect to accommodate the Evergreen Extension. The changes, announced on September 19, 2016, were implemented ahead of the Evergreen Extension opening to familiarize riders with the new operating pattern.
On November 7, 2016, TransLink announced that the extension would open on December 2, 2016.
The July 2012 project update gave the following description of the alignment:
The Evergreen Line will run north from Lougheed Town Centre Station on an elevated guideway along the centre of North Road. Burquitlam Station will be on the east side of Clarke Road near Burquitlam Plaza. Leaving Burquitlam Station, the line will cross to the west side of Clarke Road, before entering a tunnel towards Port Moody.
The Evergreen Line will emerge from the tunnel just east of Barnet Highway. It will travel at ground level along the south side of the Canadian Pacific Rail (CPR) tracks to Moody Centre Station (with a connection to the West Coast Express), located at the Port Moody transit exchange site. Continuing east, the line will cross the CPR tracks just before Inlet Centre Station, located north of Barnet Highway.
The line will continue along the north side of the CPR tracks towards Coquitlam Central Station, located at the Coquitlam transit exchange site. Turning north, the line will run on an elevated guideway along the west side of Pinetree Way to Lincoln Station. It will then cross to the east side near Northern Avenue, before ending at Lafarge Lake–Douglas Station, north of Guildford Way.
A unique feature of the Evergreen Extension is the section between Lougheed Town Center Station and Burquitlum Station: trains runs in the direction of left-hand traffic instead of the standard right-hand traffic, and utilize two switches just to the south of Burquitlum station to return to normal traveling direction.
The May 2009 Project Description Report and September 2009 Project Update provided previously unconfirmed details about the Evergreen Line, including the following:
- Travel time from Coquitlam City Centre to Lougheed Town Centre will be 15 minutes.
- Service will be every three minutes during peak hours.
- Operating hours will be approximately 20 hours per day on weekdays, and less on weekends.
- The line will provide direct connections, without transfers, to what is currently the Millennium Line.
- Projected ridership is 70,000 per day in 2021.
- Peak hour system capacity will be 10,400 passengers in 2021.
- Operations will be integrated with the existing SkyTrain facility near Edmonds station on the Expo Line.
The LRT-based plan foresaw eleven stations. As part of the decision to use ALRT technology, four planned stations were cut: Cameron, Buller, Lansdowne, and Coquitlam Civic Centre.
Six new stations have been confirmed for the opening of the Evergreen Extension:
- Burquitlam station, on the east side of Clarke Road near Burquitlam Plaza
- Moody Centre station, at the Port Moody transit exchange site
- Inlet Centre station, north of Barnet Highway, on the north side of the CPR tracks
- Coquitlam Central station, at the Coquitlam transit exchange site
- Lincoln station, on the northeast corner of Coquitlam Centre
- Lafarge Lake–Douglas station, east side of Pinetree Way and north of Guildford Way
Two existing SkyTrain stations have been upgraded to serve the Evergreen Extension:
- Lougheed Town Centre station—An additional platform has been constructed on the northeast side of the station, completing a roughed-in platform and track that were constructed previously in anticipation of the Evergreen Extension. This northeast platform (Platform 3) is used for eastbound trains travelling to Lafarge Lake–Douglas. The southwest centre platform (Platforms 1 & 2) serve the Lougheed branch of the Expo Line (Platform 2 westbound to Production Way–University and Platform 1 eastbound to Braid), as well as westbound Millennium Line trains to VCC–Clark (Platform 2), allowing for cross-platform transfers between those services.
- Commercial–Broadway station—Increased ridership is expected to lead to larger transfer volumes at Commercial–Broadway station in Vancouver, already the busiest public transit hub in Metro Vancouver. As a result, as part of the Expo Line Upgrade Strategy, Commercial–Broadway Station is to receive major upgrades to platforms and passageways to facilitate larger volumes of passengers. An additional side platform for passengers exiting Waterfront-bound trains (using a partial Spanish solution approach) will be constructed, which will see the remodeling of the Safeway directly east of the station. This new platform is designed to relieve crowding on existing Platforms 3 and 4. Also included in the plan is a new pedestrian overpass over Broadway and a widened bridge above the Grandview Cut to the Millennium Line platforms.
The design blueprints show allowances for two future stations, at Queens Street in Port Moody and Falcon Drive in Coquitlam, should future development warrant their construction according to the Evergreen Line project office. Also, in the design plans a short spur has been worked in at Coquitlam Central Station, for a future extension of the line to Port Coquitlam.
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