SkyTrain Columbia Station reopens after flooding, regular service resumes

Nov 15 2021, 3:09 am

Heavy rainfall throughout Sunday led to the flooding of SkyTrain’s Columbia Station tunnel in downtown New Westminster.

As a result, late this afternoon and into the early evening, Columbia Station was closed, and it forced the cancellation of all train service running through New Westminster, including the cancellation of all train services across the Fraser River to reach Surrey. Bus bridge shuttles were deployed.

As of 6:55 pm, the station reopened and regular service on the Expo Line resumed, but it will take some time for crowding to subside and for trains to return to their normal pacing. The Millennium Line was unaffected by the Expo Line’s issues.

Based on TransLink’s service disruption reports, a decision was made at approximately 5:30 pm to shut down Columbia Station and turn around trains.

But there were also flooding issues at this station earlier in the afternoon that affected train schedules. Regular Expo Line services resumed just before 5 pm, but only briefly, as flooding issues quickly returned.

Columbia Station’s tunnel is susceptible to flooding as the station’s tracks are exposed to the elements, allowing water to pool. As well, water funnels into the station from both ends of the sloping tunnel entrances.

This is not the first time there has been a major flood-related service disruption within the Columbia Station tunnel. On December 11, 2018, heavy rainfall flooding a segment of the tunnel led to hours-long service disruptions.

Columbia Station flooding on November 14, 2021:

Columbia Station flooding on December 11, 2018:

Conditions across much of BC deteriorated throughout the day, when the worst of the “atmospheric river” hit, dumping up to 150 mm of rain within the Lower Mainland.

Flooding on the Stanley Park Causeway led to the brief closure of the Lions Gate Bridge early this afternoon.

The provincial government’s emergency response division has issued a rare flood watch for the Fraser Valley due to heavy rainfall in the BC interior and accelerated snow melt. Flooding, mud slides, and rock slides have resulted in the closure of several mountain highways, including serious impacts to the Coquihalla Highway.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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