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Vancouver Transit Lines Trips 2/7/2010

by Chris Guenzler

Bob, Elizabeth and I arose and had breakfast before we drove to the Edmonds Amtrak station where Bob dropped us off. He would then drive to Vancouver and meet us at Pacific Central Station. Elizabeth and I waited for the morning Cascades train to Vancouver.

A BNSF freight passed through Edmonds prior to our train's arrival.

Amtrak Cascades 510 2/7/2010

Amtrak Cascades 510 arrived and we boarded Car 5 for our trip to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Our train crossed the Snohomish River.

A scene just before the new stop at Stanwood. The movie was the same one as a few days ago, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" so I did not watch it again.

A point along the Puget Sound.

Chuckanut Bay just before Bellingham.

We passed the Peace Arch and entered Canada before crossing a branch of Boundary Bay.

Later we crossed the Fraser River into New Westminster.

VIA F9A 6300 acts as the shop switcher at Vancouver.

VIA F40PH-2 6421 waits for its next trip. The Cascades arrived at Vancouver and we were let off car-by-car to go through Canadian Customs. I was asked the most questions I had ever been asked by Customs. Elizabeth took a little longer but soon was reunited with Bob and we all walked out to his car.

Vancouver 2/7/2010

We drove into downtown, having to detour because of the Winter Olympics that begin next week. We drove south down Howe Street to the Quality Inn and checked in. I had Room 516 with a great view then checked e-mails and uploaded yesterday's story. Soon Bob and Elizabeth knocked on my door and we walked six blocks to the Yaletown/Roundhouse Station of the Canada Line.

The Canada Line

We bought day passes and went down the stairs to wait for the first train going outbound.

The Brief Facts

The Canada Line is a rapid transit line in Greater Vancouver, British Columbia and is part of the SkyTrain system. The line is owned by TransLink and InTransitBC, and is operated by ProTrans BC. It operates as an airport rail link between Vancouver, Richmond and Vancouver International Airport. The line comprises 16 stations and 11.9 miles of track; the main line runs from Vancouver to Richmond while a 2.5 mile spur line from Bridgeport station connects to the airport. It opened on August 17th, 2009, ahead of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

It begins in Downtown Vancouver at Waterfront station in a cut-and-cover subway tunnel beneath Granville Street. It quickly goes into twin-bored tunnels, heading southwest beneath Granville Street, then curving southeast to follow Davie Street through Yaletown. The tunnels then dive deeper to pass below False Creek before rising back up to Olympic Village station. There, the line transitions back to a cut-and-cover tunnel (which is noted by the tunnel changing from a circular to a square shape) heading south under Cambie Street, some portions of which have the two sets of tracks stacked vertically. The line emerges from the ground just south of 64th Avenue, climbing to an elevated guideway. The line continues elevated across the North Arm Bridge over the North Arm of the Fraser River, leaving Vancouver and entering Richmond. Just beyond Bridgeport station at the flying junction, the line splits, with the Richmond branch heading south on elevated tracks along No. 3 Road and terminating at Richmond-Brighouse station. The airport branch turns west and crosses the Middle Arm Bridge over the Middle Arm of the Fraser River, connecting to stations on Sea Island and terminating at YVR-Airport station. Portions of the airport branch are at grade in order to accommodate a future elevated taxiway for aircraft over the line. Both branches narrow to a single track as they approach their respective terminus stations. Just before Bridgeport station is the OMC (Operations and Maintenance Centre) facility, which houses the trains when not in use.

Our Trip

We boarded the first train, which happened to be going to the Vancouver Airport. The Canada Line is in a tunnel from the Waterfront station all the way to just before the Marine Drive station. This whole line will be new mileage for me.

In the tunnel, we stopped at the Olympic Village, Broadway-City Hall, Oakridge/43rd Avenue and Langara-49th Avenue stations.

The route exited the tunnel just before Marine Drive station.

Marine Drive station.

An inbound Canada Line train.

The Canada Line bridge across the Fraser River.

A stored Canada Line train.

An inbound Canada Line train.

The Bridgeport station.

The junction with the Canada Line to Richmond.

The Templeton station.

An inbound Canada Line Train.

The Sea Island Centre station.

A stored Canada Line train.

We headed for the last stop on this line at the YVR-Airport station.

Our train at the YVR-Airport station which we took back to Bridgeport station.

Our train proceeding north to Waterfront station.

Station monitor.

Our train to Richmond coming into Bridgeport station.

The Bridgeport station.

The junction of the line that heads west to the Vancouver Airport.

Aberdeen station.

View along the Canada Line.

Lansdowne station.

An inbound Canada Line train.

View along the Canada Line before we reached the south end station at Richmond-Brighouse.

Our train ready to take us back to Vancouver at Richmond-Brighouse station, the south end of the Canada Line. We took the Canada Line back north to the Olympic Village station where we detrained and followed the signs to our next ride of the day.

The Olympic Line

The City of Vancouver will host a transportation showcase project during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and reintroduce the streetcar to Vancouver streets. From January 21 to March 21, 2010, a demonstration streetcar project "The Olympic Line - Vancouver's 2010 Streetcar" will run between Granville Island and the new Canada Line Olympic Village Station at West 2nd Avenue and Cambie Street. State-of-the-art Flexity Outlook streetcars will be provided and operated by Bombardier Transportation for the 60-day demonstration project (on loan from Brussels, Belgium). Bombardier is a highly respected Canadian company and is recognized as a world leader in rail and mass transit solutions.

The Olympic Line will be free for all riders and operate between 6:30 am and 12:30 am, seven days a week. It will provide reliable and sustainable transportation for athletes, visitors and residents alike, as often as every seven minutes between stations.

This transportation showcase project will be an important first step in realizing an overall "Downtown Streetcar" line. It also signals a commitment to return the streetcar to Vancouver, which once had an extensive network. Actual ridership and success of the Olympic Line project will help determine the feasibility and future timing of building additional rail infrastructure to complete the Downtown Streetcar. This demonstration line already has a dedicated right-of-way, with 1.8 kilometres of track used for a restored heritage streetcar that presently runs on weekends during tourist season. This track is being replaced prior to the demonstration, so that both heritage and modern streetcars would be able to use it after March 2010.

Our Trip

A sign about the Olympic Streetcar Line.

The Streetcar came into view. Once most people detrained, we all boarded and took a place at the rear of the car so we could take pictures.

We left the boarding area near the Canada Line Olympic Village station.

Passing the streetcar barn of the Downtown Historica Railway, which operated on this trackage from 1998 to 2011.

Looking back at the car barn.

Scene along the Olympic Line.

At a midway point is a siding and we passed the other streetcar.

View of the siding.

Scenes along the Olympic Line. We reached the other end station at Granville Island and detrained, only to reboard for the trip back to the Olympic Village station.

The east end of the Streetcar.

The west end of the Streetcar.

Streetcar 3050 heads out on another run.

A Belgian streetcar behind the car barn.

Streetcar 3051 returned from its trip to Granville Island. From here we walked back to the Olympic Village Canada Line station.

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