First new SkyTrain Mark III train enters testing routine in Vancouver

Dec 7 2018, 10:24 pm

The first train of a new forthcoming batch of seven four-car Mark III trains (28 cars) are now being tested on the SkyTrain Expo Line.

According to TransLink’s Buzzer Blog, the first train that arrived is now being tested and commissioned on the Expo Line during non-peak hours.

This train will be making stops at all stations and the doors will be open, but no passengers are allowed to board these trains. All of the doors will be taped and SkyTrain attendants will be present to ensure nobody boards the train.

All of these new generation trains require at least eight hours of testing during operating hours as part of the second stage of system testing. The first completed stage involved running 80 kms on the Expo Line and Millennium Line during the non-operating overnight hours, while the third and final coming stage will involve running the train in regular service while transporting passengers.

New SkyTrain car train Mark III

This new Mark III train is currently completing a certain number of hours in a variety of different service situations. Taken December 2018. (TransLink)

During TransLink’s Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, staff said the trains are also conducting 5,000 kms of testing on test track loop at the Bombardier plant in Kingston, Ontario.

Extensive testing in Kingston has allowed the manufacturer to identify faults and problems with the train at the manufacturing plant instead of at the Burnaby operations and maintenance centre, where the focus should be more on commissioning.

The problems that were experienced with the first batch of 28 Mark II cars that arrived in 2016 are now being avoided.

“The prior order, the cars that were purchased through the Evergreen project, were a troubled order. They were troubled at the manufacturing plant, and they were troubled when the vehicles got here. It was very rocky as they were commissioning, and we had challenges,” said Kevin Desmond, the CEO of TransLink.

“But this order has been night and day. I think it’s a combination of the lessons learnt at SkyTrain in terms of just the techniques and project management that we brought, and the lessons we brought to executive management at Bombardier — all across the company. Whether it’s at the very senior levels or at the plant level, they have been like hawks at the plant level with very good engagement. It is really showing up in a much better quality build for us.”

TransLink SkyTrain

New SkyTrain cars being delivered to Vancouver from Kingston, Ontario. (TransLink)

The first new train arrived in Vancouver in September, and it will be another year before all seven trains are fully commissioned. Each four-car train is delivered to Burnaby on four separate flatbed trucks, and then assembled by TransLink into a fully-articulated train.

Six more trains (24 cars) will arrive in early-2019, and a second batch of seven trains (28 cars) will arrive by the end of the same year. Both batches of new trains for the Expo Line and Millennium Line will cost $210 million, while a separate order of 12 two-car trains for the Canada Line from South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem will cost $88 million.

The new cars will increase capacity on the train systems significantly, with a 10% increase on the Expo Line, 23% increase for the Millennium Line, and 30% increase for the Canada Line.

The new Canada Line trains will begin to arrive in late-2019.

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