TransLink activates snow plan ahead of forecasted snowfall

Jan 9 2020, 2:12 pm

TransLink has activated its snow plan ahead of the conditions forecasted for Metro Vancouver tonight and throughout Friday.

An Environment Canada Special Weather Statement is currently in effect, calling for widespread snowfall across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

In a release, TransLink says it is planning ahead to ensure that “transit service stays as reliable as possible.”

Extra staff have been called to assist customers and coordinate service, municipalities have been contacted to coordinate snow clearing, Millennium Line trains have been organized into four-car configurations to increase capacity while SkyTrain attendants monitor guideways, special trucks have been deployed to spread anti-icing solution on trolley wires, and some trolley buses have been equipped with brass “cutters” to help slice through ice if wires are frozen.

TransLink says that if conditions are severe, it will do the following:

  • Replace articulated buses with 40 conventional buses when necessary, as they are more agile on steep, slippery areas.
  • Install tire socks on buses on Burnaby Mountain and on key North Shore routes where hills and traction are an issue.
  • Position attendants at the front of each Expo and Millennium Lines train to improve reliability on the system by limiting emergency braking triggered by heavy snowfall.
  • Run a special SkyTrain that sprays de-icer on the power rail to keep trains moving.
  • Run trains through the night if snow is especially heavy, to keep tracks clear.
  • Send HandyDART out with two staff per vehicle to ensure customers get safely to their door and assist in digging out the bus if required.
  • Activate further staff increases to assist customers right across the system.

Naturally, customers are advised to dress for the elements, expect occasional delays, and stay tuned to TransLink’s Twitter account for up-to-date information.

Environment Canada says that a low tracking system is spreading moisture across the south coast of British Columbia. Since temperatures are near the freezing mark, a mix of rain and snow is forecasted through the region.

At this point in time, it’s believed that the Frazer Valley, Howe Sound, and higher elevations of Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island “have the potential for snowfall accumulations to exceed 5 cm through Friday morning.”

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