Say adios to the Expo-era branded red, blue and white train colours. TransLink has placed the first two of 114 refurbished Mark I SkyTrain cars into service as part of a $37.9-million vehicle upgrade that was first announced earlier this year.
Image: Ian Fisher via Twitter
The original Mark I fleet of SkyTrain cars have been in service ever since Expo ’86 and have now exceeded their operational life span of 25-years. Instead of retiring the fleet and purchasing new vehicles, the refurbishment will provide the old cars with an additional 15-years in service life.
Without the refurbishment of the original fleet, the cars would have been retired from service and replaced with new and larger Bombardier INNOVIA ART 300 models at a cost of more than $260-million – approximately $3.2-million per car.
“I’m encouraged by TransLink’s decision to refurbish these vehicles and save money,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone. “TransLink serves an area about twice the size of Toronto and provides over one million trips a day. Senior government funding, like the Gas Tax Fund, helps TransLink provide a world-class transportation system for communities and families.”
The Mark I cars are still in great shape despite clocking more than 4-million kilometres in revenue service. Their refurbishment improvements include top-down upgrades to the electrical system, replacing entry doors, replacing and upgrading interior amenities and repainting the exterior with TransLink’s new black, grey, blue and yellow livery.
The worn out seats have also been replaced and reconfigured to allow for more standing capacity and the ease of passenger entry/exit circulation within the cars. Four seats have been removed to allow for “flex space” and eight more passengers to stand.
All 114 of the 1984-1986 ICTS Mark I SkyTrain cars will be refurbished by December 2016 at the old Bombardier Burnaby plant that was originally built for fabricating the Mark II cars in time for the 2002 opening of the Millennium Line.
$28.5-million of the $37.9-million refurbishment project is coming from the federal government’s Gas Tax Fund.
“The current Gas Tax Fund has provided TransLink with access to over $122-million a year, helping us increase passenger capacity and lower regional greenhouse gas emissions,” said Ian Jarvis, Chief Executive Officer of TransLink. “TransLink absolutely relies on funding through programs like the federal Gas Tax Fund to help us maintain our vehicles fleets and service — without it, we would see degradation in both areas.”
“These upgrades to our older cars will improve our customers’ experience by making them more comfortable, maintaining service levels and promoting system reliability,” said Fred Cummings, President of British Columbia Rapid Transit Company. “Restoring these trains shows TransLink’s commitment to keeping the system in a state of good repair while providing our customers with a transit system that is dependable.”
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Featured Image: Ian Fisher via Twitter