TransLink launches bidding process for 205 new SkyTrain cars

Aug 7 2019, 2:26 pm

The procurement process for the acquisition of hundreds of new SkyTrain cars for the Expo Line and Millennium Line has officially launched.

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TransLink issued the request for proposals (RFP) for the new acquisitions at the end of July, calling for at least 205 new cars to create 41 five-car trains.

These will be SkyTrain’s longest trains yet, reaching a length that will reach both ends of the 80-metre length platforms on the Expo and Millennium lines, and it is also the largest single-train order to date for the public transit authority.

In this minimum order, a small number of trains can be four-car trains expandable to five-car trains.

The RFP seeks 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.

These cars will be used as both capacity additions and as replacements of the ageing fleet of 150 Expo-era Mark I cars. By the end of the coming decade, these cars will be well past their intended lifespan.

In January, TransLink launched a survey seeking public feedback on a number of interior design change considerations for these new trains, such as perimeter/sideways seating to provide additional standing capacity and more efficient movement, bike racks in flex areas, leaning rails, and flex areas for individuals with mobility devices, strollers, bicycles, and luggage.

While the existing trains on the Expo and Millennium lines are all designed and manufactured by Bombardier, the forthcoming order is being opened up to international manufacturers with experience in building linear induction motor propulsion technology.

Earlier this year during the request for information process, TransLink said it received significant interest from possible bidders around the world as a result of the economies of scale of the significant order. And with the scale, bidders are encouraged to develop innovative designs and solutions to fit to TransLink’s specifications.

“Bidders are encouraged to use and incorporate innovative and creative elements in their proposed design and engineering of the Work that meet the requirements of the Specifications,” reads the RFP.

“Bidders may include different or additional specifications to those set out in this RFP provided that any such changes to, or non-compliance with, the Specifications are clearly identified, technically acceptable to TransLink and supported by the Bidder.”

Bidders have until the end of the year to submit their detailed proposals to TransLink.

The minimum order of 205 cars 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.

The provincial government is contributing $579 million, the federal government is allocating $493 million, and TransLink is covering the remainder of $398 million. This investment is a component of Phase Two of the Mayors’ Council’s 10-year transit expansion and improvement plan.

The new fleet is not to be confused with the 56 new Mark III cars previously ordered from Bombardier and scheduled for a full delivery by the end of 2019.

By early January 2020, the Canada Line will also see its train fleet capacity expanded from 40 cars (20 two-car trains) to 64 cars (32 two-car trains).

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