British Columbia Rapid Transit Company (BCRTC), the TransLink subsidiary responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Expo and Millennium Lines, will begin the process of refurbishing 114 SkyTrain cars this March.
Between 1984 and 1986, 114 Mark I series (MK 1) cars were procured for SkyTrain in Vancouver. These cars were built with an operating life expectancy of approximately 25 years and are reaching the end of their useful life. Rather than replacing the aging fleet with new vehicles, BCRTC made the decision to refurbish them in 2011.
“The project team will be doing a pilot refurbishment on one train likely starting in March to test materials and processes with the goal of procurement for all the materials in the summer,” BCRTC’s Jennifer Siddon told Vancity Buzz through email. “This project will extend the life of SkyTrain’s ‘workhorses’ for another 15 years.”
“The estimated budget [is] $36.6-million including parts and labour. The refurbishment plan includes body work and floor replacement where needed, re-wiring and repainting.”
Despite accumulating over four million kilometres in revenue service, the cars are still in great shape.
“Safety, reliability [of the original cars] as well as the current funding situation were all factors in the decision to re-invest in the MK I fleet,” explained Siddon.
Replacement would have been costly for TransLink. Last month, TransLink and the Government of British Columbia signed a contract with Bombardier Transportation last month for 28 new SkyTrain vehicles. The purchase cost TransLink $90.7-million, which is roughly $3.2-million per car.
Photo Credit: Bentley Smith/Flickr
Correction Note: The story previously incorrectly said 144 SkyTrain vehicles would be refurbished. The actual number is 114.