Trains meeting near Brentwood Town Centre station
|Locale||Metro Vancouver, British Columbia|
|Daily ridership||183,521 (2011)|
|Opened||January 7, 2002|
|Owner||TransLink (South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority)|
|Operator(s)||British Columbia Rapid Transit Company|
|Rolling stock||ART Mark II, 2 cars per trainset|
|Line length||31.2 km (19.4 mi)|
|Number 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 line of the SkyTrain rapid transit system in the Metro Vancouver region of British Columbia, Canada. The line is owned and operated by TransLink, and links the cities of Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam and Port Moody. The line was opened in 2002 and was named in recognition of the new millennium.
The Millennium Line operates from VCC–Clark station in Vancouver to Lafarge Lake–Douglas station in Coquitlam. The line is elevated to Burquitlam station, where it then goes through a 2 km (1.2 mi) bored tunnel to the city of Port Moody. In Port Moody, the line runs at grade level, rising to cross railway tracks. From Coquitlam Central station, the line is elevated to the terminus at Lafarge Lake–Douglas station.
In the Lougheed area of Burnaby, eastbound trains cross the westbound tracks to access the north platform (Platform 3) at Lougheed Town Centre station. Trains then operate left-track running to a crossover junction just before Burquitlam Station, where trains cross back to right-track running. Westbound trains cross over to left-hand running just south of Burquitlam station to allow them to access westbound Platform 2 at Lougheed Town Centre station. This is done to provide cross platform transfer to Expo Line trains heading to New Westminster and Metrotown, and to allow same-platform interchange for Expo passengers arriving at Lougheed Town Centre and continuing west to Vancouver.
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When the Expo Line was 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 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 later incorporated into the new Millennium Line.
Phase I: Columbia to Commercial Drive (2002)
In 1995, the British Columbia government announced that an entirely new line, a street-level light rail line, would be built along Broadway and Lougheed Highway to Lougheed Mall (served by Lougheed Town Centre station), as the first phase of the "T"-Line (one of three Intermediate Capacity Transit System lines) outlined in the Metro Vancouver's Livable Region Strategic Plan that extended into Coquitlam. An 18-month review of rapid transit was scheduled and started in January 1998 but was cut short by the government's announcement of its choice of Bombardier's technology in June 1998. This 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 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 Millennium Line opened for revenue service on January 7, 2002 (a preview for SkyTrain passengers took place on the prior two days), with trains operating between Waterfront station on the Expo Line and Braid station in eastern New Westminster.
For the second phase, service was extended to Commercial Drive station (has since merged with Broadway station to form Commercial–Broadway) on August 31, 2002 (with full integration with the bus network occurring on September 3, 2002).
Lake City Way and extension to VCC–Clark (2003–2006)
Lake City Way station, located between Sperling–Burnaby Lake and Production Way–University stations, opened on November 21, 2003. Three years later, the line was extended to its present terminus, VCC–Clark station, on January 6, 2006. The Millennium Line was now completed at a cost of $1.2 billion, $40 million under budget.
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. In 2009, it was estimated that ridership had grown to at least 80,000 passengers per day.
Initially, the Millennium Line service followed the Expo Line from Waterfront to Columbia stations, then looped back into Vancouver via the new route, passing through Commercial–Broadway again, at a different platform, and terminating at VCC–Clark station. After a reconfiguration on October 22, 2016, in preparation for the opening of the Evergreen Extension, the Millennium Line ran between VCC–Clark station in the west to Lougheed Town Centre station in the east. Transfers to the Expo Line were now made possible at Production Way–University, and Lougheed Town Centre stations. Braid and Sapperton stations were reassigned to the Expo Line.
Phase II: Evergreen Extension (2016)
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. A short spur and 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 placed on hold following a change in provincial government.
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 for such an extension were built at the station during its initial construction. At one point prior to 2008, the mode planned for the extension was changed to light rail 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 for the extension, to facilitate higher ridership, shorten travel times and to integrate seamlessly with the existing SkyTrain network. As a result, the junction tracks and roughed-in third platform at Lougheed Town Centre station were used as part of the Evergreen Extension.
- 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 Government of British Columbia 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 clear what route the new line would take, but it was hinted that there would be less use of cut-and-cover tunnelling to minimize disruption to businesses along Broadway and avoid the same problems seen during the Canada Line construction along Cambie Street.
On March 16, 2018, the provincial government approved the construction of the "Broadway Extension" of the Millennium Line, which will extend the line underground west to Arbutus Street, while adding six new stations. Construction is slated to begin in 2019 with a completion date set for 2025.
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- TransLink – The organization that owns SkyTrain