De­spite de­lay, new Sky­Train on track for year-end de­but

Vancouver Sun - - CITY - JEN­NIFER SALT­MAN jen­salt­[email protected]­ twit­­salt­man

De­liv­ery of four new SkyTrains is be­hind sched­ule due to delays by the man­u­fac­turer.

“We’re run­ning about 60 to 90 days late on the de­liv­er­ies, which is pretty good con­sid­er­ing the chal­lenges that we’ve had,” Haydn Ach­e­son, in­terim pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager of the B.C. Rapid Tran­sit Com­pany, which main­tains the Expo and Mil­len­nium lines, told the TransLink board of di­rec­tors this week.

The delays in de­liv­ery of the four-car Mark III trains had been caused by is­sues with paint­ing, wiring and assem­bly at the Bom­bardier man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity. Ach­e­son said TransLink had spent a “fair amount of time” work­ing with Bom­bardier and mea­sures had been put in place to re­duce delays for fu­ture or­ders.

The first of 14 new Mark III trains was shipped from Bom­bardier’s Kingston, Ont., test­ing fa­cil­ity and de­liv­ered to the B.C. Rapid Tran­sit Com­pany’s Burn­aby op­er­a­tions and main­te­nance cen­tre in mid-Septem­ber. The sec­ond train ar­rived about two weeks ago.

The first train is in the sec­ond stage of a three-stage test­ing process, while the sec­ond train has just started the first stage.

In the first stage of test­ing, the train is op­er­ated for 80 kilo­me­tres af­ter ser­vice ends. In the sec­ond, the train is op­er­ated dur­ing non­peak hours with no pas­sen­gers. Next, the train is op­er­ated dur­ing reg­u­lar hours with pas­sen­gers on board.

Test­ing is ex­pected to be com­pleted and the first train put into full ser­vice by the end of the year.

A third train is be­ing tested in Kingston and a fourth train is be­ing man­u­fac­tured in Platts­burgh, N.Y. It is ex­pected to be done by Dec. 31.

When new trains are put into ser­vice, they will pro­vide an ex­tra trip dur­ing the peak of rush hour — an ex­tra 525 pas­sen­ger po­si­tions per train.

Mike Richard, vice-pres­i­dent of op­er­a­tions for the B.C. Rapid Tran­sit Com­pany, said once the four trains are ready to be in ser­vice, there will be a Sky­Train sched­ule ad­just­ment. Sched­ule changes are ex­pected to take place in April, Septem­ber and De­cem­ber 2019.

By the end of next year, the goal is to have seven trains or 28 cars in ser­vice, which will in­crease ca­pac­ity by 14 per cent.

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said there had been im­prove­ment since the last large or­der of rail cars for the Ev­er­green Line, which he called “fairly rocky,” both in terms of man­u­fac­tur­ing and the trains’ ini­tial per­for­mance. “This or­der has been night and day (in terms of im­prove­ment),” he said.

TransLink has or­dered 56 new Sky­Train cars to add ser­vice to the Expo and Mil­len­nium lines as part of the first phase of the May­ors’ 10Year Vi­sion for Metro Van­cou­ver Trans­porta­tion and 45 re­place­ment cars as well. The sec­ond phase of the plan will see 108 cars added to pro­vide new ser­vice and 50 cars re­placed.

New SkyTrains are un­der­go­ing test­ing and one could be in ser­vice by the new year once the process is com­plete.

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