Vancouver Transit Lines Shine for Olympics
“What seemed like a simple, straight-forward project managed to present a few challenges along the way. The track bed lies on a reclaimed industrial area dating back to the early 1900s. As our civil contractor excavated, they often uncovered ‘hidden treasures’ ranging from wooden sidewalks to abandoned sewers to vast concrete chambers. There were many instances of design-as-you-go depending on what was uncovered that day. I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the get-it-done ethic of our civil subcontractor RDM Enterprises.
“Access was very limited and the lay-down areas described in the tender documents didn’t become available. All our material deliveries had to be stored within the right-of-way and staged so as not to impact our construction activities. We modified our work sequencing and everything worked out fine. The spec only required we build track to Class 3 tolerances, but we threw a Mark IV tamper out there and left behind some pretty nice track. Dave Pearce, the tamper operator, did an excellent job on the surfacing."
Al said at the time that it was quite satisfying to see the Bombardier cars running on the track and hearing the comments regarding how the track rode. "I think it’d be great for the city to have streetcars running permanently again.”
Worldwide attention turned to Vancouver, British Columbia, for 17 days in February 2010 when 5,000 athletes from more than 80 countries competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics. New and existing transit lines played a pivotal role in transporting the more than 350,000 visitors to the metro area, which at the time already boasts a growing population of 2.3 million people.
PNR RailWorks, based just east of Vancouver in Abbotsford, BC, has worked over the last three decades to construct, extend and maintain the transit lines serving the region.
Expo Line – The oldest transit line in the SkyTrain System, the Expo light-rail line is named for the World’s Fair held in Vancouver in 1986. PNR RailWorks constructed the underground and Waterfront segments of the original line and two extensions: one in New Westminster and one in Surrey. Over the past seven years they also have changed out rail on various segments.
Millennium Line – In a joint venture partnership, PNR RailWorks constructed this 20-km light-rail line, the second line in the SkyTrain System, in 2000 and its extension in 2006.
Canada Line – The 19.2-km Canada Line, the third light-rail line in Vancouver’s transit system, opened in August of 2009 and connects Vancouver International Airport with downtown Vancouver and Richmond. PNR RailWorks constructed the track infrastructure for the maintenance facility.
Olympic Line – Known as the Olympic Line, the 1.75-km. demonstration streetcar project was constructed by PNR RailWorks especially for the Olympics. Two modern European-style streetcars carried passengers between the Canada Line, Olympic Village and the tourist destination Granville Island. More than 500,000 took the free, six-minute ride during the eight weeks the line operated. In addition to constructing the track, PNR RailWorks provided daily inspection and maintenance services while the line was in operation. Bombardier provided the streetcars.