TransLink finds public support for interior design upgrades in new SkyTrain cars

Sep 13 2019, 5:54 pm

TransLink says it has found significant public support for a number of interior design and layout changes to the next fleet of SkyTrain cars being ordered for the Expo Line and Millennium Line.

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A public survey earlier this year on the design of the next order of over 205 train cars received roughly 13,500 responses, with 60% supporting doubling flex space from two spaces per train to four, and nearly 90% favouring leaning rails in these flex spaces. As well, one-third of respondents support bike racks in flex spaces.

When it comes to seating arrangement, the survey found that forward row seating is still the most preferred option, with one-third of respondents indicating they would like to see some perimeter side seating, which would allow for more standing space, increasing the overall capacity of the train.

Hong Kong MTR subway

Interior of a Hong Kong MTR subway train with perimeter seating. (Shutterstock)

The public transit authority says bidders for the new fleet are required to consider these preferences while still maximizing the overall seating capacity when creating their designs.

TransLink is expecting a number of bids from international manufacturers, due at the end of the year. The first trains from this additional order are slated to arrive in 2023.

These new trains, the largest single order to date by TransLink, will be used to increase capacity and replace the ageing, Expo-era Mark I cars.

The car order is part of a $1.47-billion upgrade of SkyTrain infrastructure, entailing a new additional train maintenance and storage yard, upgrades to the existing Edmonds train operations and maintenance centre, and new train control and operating systems, including a new operations and control centre for the entire SkyTrain network.

According to the request for proposal (RFP) on the new train order issued in July, the new SkyTrain cars will be the longest trains for the system yet, reaching a length that will tough both ends of the 80-metre length platforms of the Expo and Millennium lines.

Bombardier Mark III Metro Innovia 300 skytrain

Artistic rendering of a Bombardier Innovia Metro 300 train vehicle, currently known on Metro Vancouver’s SkyTrain system as the Mark III. (Bombardier)

The RPF requests bidders to come up with pricing and related information for five order options spanning the course of the coming decade.

The first option would be for up to 30 cars (six five-car trains) for exercise by the end of 2021 and delivery by the end of 2025.

In 2024, TransLink retains the right to exercise a second option of up to 70 cars (14 five-car trains) for delivery by 2028.

The final three options are the largest, each providing up to 100 cars (20 five-car trains) for a total of 300 cars, with exercise dates in 2026, 2028, and 2030, and delivery dates in 2032, 2034, and 2036.

Previous TransLink reports note the Expo Line’s capacity will need to grow to its ultimate capacity — without any platform extension beyond 80 metres — of 25,700 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) by 2041 to support peak hour ridership demand. Currently, the Expo Line’s current operating capacity during peak hours is roughly 15,000 pphpd.

Altogether, the exercised options could create a combined total of up to 400 new cars to create 80 five-car trains.

TransLink is also currently still in the process of being in the receiving end of 56 new Mark III cars from Bombardier, which should be fully in use by 2020.

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Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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