Hopping aboard the new SkyTrain

TransLink’s new SkyTrain cars have closed-circuit cameras to detercrime and a raised overhead bar so tall people won’t smack their headstrying to move around.

TransLink’s new SkyTrain cars have closed-circuit cameras to deter crime and a raised overhead bar so tall people won’t smack their heads trying to move around.

The sleek cars, which are a storm-cloud grey with blue and silver and yellow highlights, are updated versions of the white Mark II cars that were introduced with the Millennium Line in 2002.

They should increase SkyTrain system capacity by 30 per cent.

“The impact for riders is very favourable and long overdue,” said Doug Kelsey, president and CEO of the B.C. Rapid Transit Company, as he led tours on one of the 48 new cars.

A four-car train holds about 500 people. Kelsey called them “platform sweepers” and said they are the equivalent of launching a Boeing 737 every 108 minutes during peak hours.

The seating layout is different from what is in the existing Mark II cars or the original red-and-blue Mark I, and is expected to be easier on people with wheelchairs, strollers and bikes.

There are also four onboard closed-circuit cameras, more stanchions and an overhead bar. Kelsey, who is six-foot-three, said the initial overhead bar was at his forehead level, but was raised after consultation with TransLink.

“You want to be able to reach them, but you don’t want to be smacking your head.”

The full 48-car order cost $193 million. TransLink paid $100 million and the remainder was split between the federal and provincial governments.

 
 
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