Update: Expo SkyTrain fully restored, transit free for rest of today
UPDATE 12:19 p.m. The Expo line has been fully restored, according to a TransLink news release.
"As a goodwill gesture to our customers, TransLink announced this morning that transit would be free on all modes for the rest of today," the company announced in a news release. "We also plan to provide something for our customers with monthly passes and those who already purchased their tickets."
TransLink is urging people who take the SkyTrain Expo Line to find other travel arrangements this morning, caused by a fire last night.
Although some trains appear to be running as of 6 a.m. between Joyce and Waterfront station, the latest tweet from TransLink indicates that service could still be delayed.
Here's the text from the TransLink website:
Customers who take the Expo Line between Waterfront and Joyce stations are being advised to find alternate travel arrangements this morning.
Service is down due to a fire last night that damaged equipment, which is still being repaired.
Repairs will take several hours, and service is not expected to be restored until late morning or early afternoon.
Staff have been working through the night to restore service as quickly as possible and to mobilize buses, staff, and additional resources to deal with the expected rush-hour volume.
We are asking customers to find alternate travel arrangements if possible, as we are expecting very high passenger volume and crowding on buses and on the Millennium Line and Canada Line this morning.
Customers should plan for significant delays and allow extra time for their journey.
People can use the Trip Planner at translink.ca and select the dropdown menu "do not take skytrain" to find alternate travel/bus routes.
A bus shuttle will operate between Waterfront station and Joyce station where passengers can board the Expo Line.
However, this service is expected to have heavy crowds as buses cannot replace the passenger-carrying capacity of SkyTrains.
We recommend passengers consider some of our many alternate route options:
- Passengers leaving from the Surrey area skytrain stations should consider other transit routes (bus and Canada Line) if they need to get downtown.
- People who must take the Expo line from Surrey should consider transferring at Columbia Skytrain station onto the Millennium line to continue their journey.
- Avoid Broadway SkyTrain station, one of our busiest routes.
- From Expo line take a #100 from 22nd street station to Canada Line.
- Take the #49 from Metrotown to Canada Line
- Take #41 or #43 from Joyce to Canada Line
- Take #25 from Nanaimo to Canada Line
- Try to avoid the major stations and busiest bus routes. Try a bus route heading west along the Hastings corridor to downtown.
The fire that started at approximately 11 pm last night damaged or destroyed approximately a metre of communications cable.
The fire was ignited when a spark produced by track grinding equipment caused a bird's nest to catch fire under the guideway approximately 150 metres east of the Main Street SkyTrain station.
Routine track-grinding work is done to keep noise levels down and the track in good condition.
The repair work is difficult due to the location, which is above the centre lane on Terminal Avenue.
The cables have to be spliced from the top-down, and workers need to lay on their stomachs to do the repairs.
Bird netting is in place in strategic areas across the SkyTrain system where birds have been known to nest.
There was no netting in place at this particular location, as it has never been identified as a problem area.
It would also be extremely difficult to place netting in this area, which is under the viaducts and above the roadway (where two viaducts merge above Terminal Avenue heading east.)
"We know this will cause a major inconvenience to our customers, and our dedicated people are doing everything they can to get service up and running as quickly as safely possible." said Colleen Brennan, Vice President Communications and Customer Engagement.