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A MKII train on the Millenium line eastbound.


System Overview

Presently the Greater Vancouver area consists of a population of almost 2 million people spread over 20 municipalities. This is the third largest metropolitan community in Canada. SkyTrain is one of the key components of the public transit system that services some of the various communities. SkyTrain is a driverless linear induction powered rapid transit system. SkyTrain runs on a nominal 600 Volts DC and incorporates a "moving-block" automatic train control system developed by French - based Alcatel. At present the system consists of:

  • 49 km On the two lines (Expo & Millennium Lines)
  • 33 Stations between Expo & Millennium Line
  • 210 Vehicle Fleet (150 MK1 & 60 MK2 trains)
  • 39 min one-way travel time (Water Front > King George)
  • 27 min one -way travel time (Columbia > VCC Clark)
  • 23 mainline & 1 Yard power substations
  • 44 escalators / 26 elevators Expo line
  • 25 escalators / 22 elevators Millennium line
  • 1 600m Skybridge
  • 1x 1.6km Tunnel (Dunsmir)
  • 1x 0.3km Tunnel (New Westminster)
  • 1x 0.6km Tunnel (Columbia)

The system at present was built in 5 major phases. Phase one was the initial phase and consisted of track running from Waterfront station to New Westminster Station. Phase 2 was the addition of Columbia station with the 616m Skybridge connecting to Scott Rd. station. Phase three pushed the remained of the Expo line to King George and connected the busy suburbs with Downtown. Phase 4 was the first part of the Millennium line to go, the track ran to Braid Station via Columbia. The final phase of the Millennium line was the remainder of the M-line Lougheed through to Commercial Dr. station .

A Track diagram outlining track sections, entry points and platform locations is available here . Credits to DennisTT.

Vehicle Summary

SkyTrain currently runs with a fleet of 210 vehicle consisting of 150 Mark 1 trains and 60 Mark 2 vehicles.

  • Mark 1
    • Car length 12.7m
    • Car width 2.4m
    • Car height 3.13m
    • Seats 35-36
    • Capacity 80 per car
    • Vehicle weight 15000 kg
  • Mark 2
    • Car length 16.7m
    • Car width 2.4m
    • Car height 3.275m
    • Seats 44
    • Capacity 130 per car
    • Vehicle Weight 22,300 kg

Both versions can reach top speeds of 90 km/h with average guideway speeds of approximately 45 km/h. Trains can run in automatic with headways as little as 75 seconds between trains. During the years 1998-2002 the original 114 Mark 1 cars logged an average of 2,500,000 km per car.


Frequency Channel Tone
410.2875 CHANNEL 1 - Expo Line repeater
410.0625 CHANNEL 2 - Millennium Line repeater 82.5 Hz
410.4875 CHANNEL 3 - Maintenance and back-up repeater 67.0 Hz
408.5125 CHANNEL 5 - Yard control simplex frequency

Terms & Definitions

These codes are used by transit personnel to report various types of emergencies. They are used by combining a status code with the type of emergency. For example, a report of a possible unauthorized entry into the guideway (usually set off by an emergency system automatically) would be reported as YELLOW TANGO.

Type of emergency

Suspicious package or bomb threat
Human contact with train
Unauthorized entry into guideway
Weapon, gun
Weapon, knife

Status codes

Clear of emergency

Communication access control

Only staff directly involved in emergency can communicate on radios

Train Fault Codes

Code Description
FC1 Motion obstructed/brake
FC2 All fire and smoke detector problems
FC3 37 v dc. problems
FC4 VOBC halted
FC5 Brake or BAMS problems
FC6 Propulsion problems
FC7 VOBC halted
FC8 Train overspeed
FC9 Target point overshoot
FC10 Rollback
FC11 VOBC fault
FC12 Couple rejected
FC13 Doors fail to open
FC14 failure to get door status in station
FC15 Loss of door status, outside of station

Equipment, Guideway & Train References

Code Description
AARU Automatic Assured Receptivity Unit
APS Aux. Power Supply
ART Advanced Rapid Transit
BAM Brake Assurance Monitor
BCEU Brake Control Electronic Unit
BCRTC British Columbia Rapid Transit Company.
BLS Blue Lighting System
BO Bad Order
BOGIE A wheeled undercarriage pivoted below the end of a rail vehicle. Sometimes referred to as the truck.
BOT Bad Order Track
CB Coffee Break
CESS Central Emergency Stop System
CIS Control Insulator Section
COMSET communications set
COS Control Supervisor
CREW TRAIN The train that is run behind the last revenue train to pick up various employees so that they can get home at night.
CS Coupler status
DCA Designated coupling/uncoupling area
DCCB Direct current circuit breaker
DC Dual Control (track switch)
EAT Emergency Access Track
EB Emergency Brakes
ECB Electronic Control Bin
EEC Emergency equipment cabinet
EER Emergency equipment room
EER ROOM Electrical Equipment Room
EMO Emergency Manual Operation
EMTB Emergency Magnetic Track Brakes
FC Fault category
FCP Fire Fighters Command Post
FID Feed-in device
FOCS Fibre Optics Communication System
FP Fouling point - A fouling point is the last possible section on a track that you can be on before having a risk of being hit by another train traversing the switch.
GIDS Guideway Intrusion Detection System
GIES Guideway Intrusion Emergency System
GIMS Guideway Intrusion Monitoring System
GREEN PLUG Procedure conducted by field staff to correct a disturbed or faulty switch
GVTA Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority; The legal name of TransLink, given legal power to oversee the region's transportation network encompassing roads, highways, buses, rapid transit, and basically anything else that helps you get around
HMP Health Monitor Panel
HMU Health Monitor Unit
HOLD The controlled stopping of a train before it enters a station, or the delaying of a train at a station
HOT LUNCH Vomit, Puke
HPM Health Performance Monitor
HPU Hydrolic Power Unit
HVAC Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning
IANS Integrated Alarm Notification System
I/B Inbound track towards Waterfront
ICTS Intermediate Capacity Transportation System (that's you SkyTrain)
LIM Linear Inductor Motor
MAINLINE SkyTrain control center
Mark II The second generation of SkyTrain vehicle
Mark I The first generation of SkyTrain vehicle
MBTC Moving Block Train Control - developed by Alcatel it allows for continuous real-time control and tracking of trains.
MHA Mental Health Act
MOW Maintenance-Of-Way (track)
O/B Outbound track away from waterfront
OMC Operations and Maintenance Center. Operates SkyTrain, a subsidiary of TransLink.
OP Occupancy permit
PAA Passenger Assistance Alarm
PCU Power Conversion Unit
PIES Platform Intrusion Emergency System
PIP Passenger Intercom Panel
PLEDS Platform (light emitting diode) sign
PPCS Propulsion Power Cut off switch
PTE Permission to enter
RAV Richmond/Airport/Vancouver. The pseudo-name for a proposed north-south rapid transit line that would go from downtown to Richmond via Cambie with a spur to YVR. See
RCH Royal Columbian Hospital
RE-ENTRY If a train has 'timed out' (is lost by the ATC system), then someone must drive the train over the re-entry point at a steady velocity for the system to pick it up again.
RE-ENTRY POINT If a train has 'timed out' (is lost by the ATC system), then someone must drive the train over the re-entry point at a steady velocity for the system to pick it up again.
SCADA Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (used to control power on SkyTrain)
SCS Switch control system
SCU Switch Control Unit
SESP Station Emergency Stop Processor
SESS Station Emergency Stop System
SLEEPER someone sleeping on the train
SMC System Management Center
STA SkyTrain Attendant
T&C Testing & Commissioning
TIDES An early version of the GIES in use exclusively at Stadium outbound. It makes use of a laser to detect an unauthorized entry into the track.
TIME OUT Train loses communication with VCC
TLTS TransLink Transit Security
TOOLBOX Safety meeting for staff
TP Transit Police
TRACK SECTION A unique, numbered section of track that is approximately 5 meters in length. Track sections are how the ATC system keeps track of where each train is. Don't read the numbers upside down!
TRIMS Train Radio Information System
TVM Ticket Vending Machine
TVS Tunnel Ventilation System
TZ Transition Zone (track)
UA Unattended
UTDC Urban Transportation Development Corporation
VCIF Vehicle Cleaning & Inspection Facility
VIP Visually Impaired Person / Special Needs Person
VOBC Vehicle On Board Computer
VPD Vancouver Police Department
VRS Vehicle Radio System
VVAU Vehicle Voice Announcement Unit (Big Mouth)
WT Wash track
YRA Yard run around
ZULU Bathroom break

Train Status Lights

Each train has three lights on the front end, side, of the train. Each light performing a different action means a different code to the STAs and other Translink Employees.

Light Status Station
No Lights All is OK on board train.
Flashing Amber Light Passenger Activated Alarm
Flashing Blue Light No power to the train
Solid Red Light Emergency Brakes Activated

Station IDs

Expo Line

ID Station Address
WF Waterfront 601 West Cordova St
BU Burrard 635 Burrard St
GV Granville 655 Seymour St
ST Stadium-Chinatown 590 Beatty St
MN Main Street-Science World 1395 Main St
BW Broadway 1725 East Broadway
NA Naniamo 2450 East 24th Ave
TN 29th Avenue 2790 East 29th Ave
JY Joyce-Collingwood 5099 Joyce St
PT Patterson 6128 Patterson Ave
MT Metrotown 4401 Beresford St
RO Royal Oak 5200 Beresford St
ED Edmonds 6944 18th Ave
TS 22nd Street 649 22nd St
NW New Westminster 46 8th St
CO Columbia 32 4th St
SR Scott Road 12515 110th Ave
GW Gateway 10858 University Dr
SC Surrey Central 10307 135th St
KG King George 9875 King George Blvd

Millennium Line

ID Station Address
VC VCC-Clark Keith Dr at East 6th Ave
CM Commercial Drive 1725 East Broadway
RE Renfrew 2898 East 12th Ave
RU Rupert 2698 Rupert St
GM Gilmore 2199 Gilmore Ave
BR Brentwood Town Centre 4533 Lougheed Hwy
HO Holdom 2111 Holdom Ave
SP Sperling-Burnaby Lake 2800 Sperling Ave
LC Lake City Way 3191 Lake City Way
PW Production Way-University 8491 Lougheed Hwy
LH Lougheed Town Centre 9755 Lougheed Hwy
BD Braid 81 Braid St
SA Sapperton 200 Spruce St
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