Canada Line

Canada Line

Infobox rail line
name = Canada Line

caption = A Canada Line train parked during testing near the YVR-Airport Station
type = Rapid transit
stations = 16 (at opening)
open = November 30, 2009 (scheduled)
start = Waterfront
end = YVR-Airport & Richmond-Brighouse
operator = SNC-Lavalin
gauge = RailGauge|sg (standard gauge)|

Canada Line, formerly known as the Richmond-Airport-Vancouver Line ("RAV Line"), is a new 19 kilometre (11.8 mi) long rapid transit line of the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (TransLink) in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Currently under construction, the line will be the third in Metro Vancouver, although it will not use linear induction motor technology as the existing SkyTrain lines do; it is unclear whether it will be branded as a third SkyTrain line. The line will connect downtown Vancouver to the Vancouver International Airport and Richmond City Centre in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics. The line is scheduled to open November 30, 2009.

Governance of the project is through RAV Project Management (RAVCO), a subsidiary of TransLink. The line is being built by SNC-Lavalin, which will also operate it for 35 years. The line is expected to carry 100,000 passengers per day at launch and 142,000 passengers by 2021. [ [ Canada Line ] ]


* In 1995, BC Transit (a crown corporation responsible for public transit) expressed desire to create a special service of either bus rapid transit (BRT) or automated light rapid transit service connecting the cities of Richmond, Vancouver, and the Vancouver International Airport in one of the transit improvement plans.
** Underground rights-of-way were reserved at the Concord Pacific development close to the Cambie bridge.
* In 2003, ten companies or consortia submitted 'Expressions of Interest' in this project.
* In December 2003, this was short listed down to three who were given a 'Request for Proposal'. These three consortia were:
** RAVLink Transportation, which included Fluor Canada, Siemens AG Canada, MTR Corporation, and Balfour Beatty Capital Projects,
** RAVxpress, which included Bombardier, AMEC, Bouygues Travaux Publics, and Bilfinger Berger, and
** SNC-Lavalin/Serco, which included SNC-Lavalin and Serco.
* On June 30, 2004, after twice voting to cancel the project, the TransLink Board approved the RAV line but maintained the right to cancel the project if none of the bids meet the approved budget of $1.35 billion.
* On November 19, 2004, RAVCO recommended that the SNC-Lavalin/Serco (now known collectively as InTransitBC) proposal for a fully automated, grade-separated system be accepted. This 'Best and Final Offer' bid was $343 million over the approved budget. The project was, however, brought to within the funding allowance, through various cost trimming measures, including design changes, the contractor agreeing to lower their bid, and the province contributing another $65 million.
* On December 1, 2004, the TransLink board gave final approval for the project.
* On July 29 2005 the final contract to design, build and operate the RAV Line was signed between InTransitBC and Translink. Serco is no longer a partner to InTransitBC and 2 pension funds have been brought into the partnership.
* In October 2005, the utilities relocation and roadwork was started.
* On November 25, 2005, the design of the new trains was unveiled and Rotem was announced as the supplier of the trains.
* The line is expected to be operational in November 2009, just in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver.

Project funding

RAVCO was set up by the agencies funding the transit line to oversee project design, procurement, construction and implementation. The public contributions to the budget comes from the following sources:

* Government of Canada: $450 million
* Government of British Columbia: $365 million
* Vancouver Airport Authority: $300 million
* TransLink: $400 million

The British Columbia government initially committed $300 million but when the project went over-budget, they contributed an extra $65 million, and TransLink committed an extra $100 million by selling some of its assets.

These sums are all in 2006 dollars, except for the Government of Canada's contribution which will be paid out when constructed, and is estimated to be equivalent of $419 million 1993 dollars.

In addition to the public funding, the line will be built as a private-public partnership where the private contractor, InTransitBC, will provide the project for a fixed price. InTransitBC will be responsible for the remaining costs to construct the project, including any increases in construction costs (other than changes to the scope of the project). Since the contract was signed, InTransitBC's $300 million contribution has escalated by $400 million due to increases in construction costs. The total private sector funding of the project is approx. $700 million.

The private sector will operate the line for 35-years in return for a share in the operating revenue of the line.

Approved changes in scope that have increased the cost of the project include the addition of a pedestrian and bike path to the North Arm bridge and the double tracking of the line near the future Capstan Station. A decision on the installation of fare gates is expected in fall 2006.

Route description

The Vancouver section of the line will run underground from Waterfront Station (with a cut-and-cover tunnel under Granville Street between Hastings and Dunsmuir, and a bored tunnel under Granville and Davie Street and False Creek) to Olympic Village Station on Cambie Street, along which it will run in a cut-and-cover tunnel as far south as 64th Avenue with the two directions either side-by-side or stacked on separate decks.

and terminating at Vancouver International Airport. Portions of the airport branch will be at-grade in order to accommodate a future elevated taxiway for aircraft over the line. In addition, segments of the Richmond and Airport branches are single tracked instead of double tracked to cut project costs and to appease Richmond City Council, which considered the overhead line an eyesore and had been fighting for an at-grade line.Fact|date=February 2007

There is a proposal to extend the Millennium Line SkyTrain west along Broadway to Cambie Street, allowing for a transfer to the Canada Line at Broadway-City Hall Station. As indicated in material presented by the City of Vancouver at public meetings in early 2006, this station is being designed with such a future extension in mind.

Travel times southbound from downtown Vancouver will be 25 minutes to Richmond Centre and 26 minutes to the airport terminus (YVR). Northbound, trains will leave Richmond City Centre and YVR every six minutes heading to Vancouver. The departures will be coordinated to allow for a train every three minutes on the main line in Vancouver. [ [ Canada Line ] ]


Stations are proposed to be built in two stages: 16 stations will be built for the line's projected opening prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics, with up to four additional stations being added after the line opens. The proposed stations are listed below.

Each station along the Canada Line is planned to be slightly different in appearance, and designed to blend in with the surrounding neighbourhood. Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, for instance, may be built in brick to match Yaletown's heritage whereas Langara-49th Avenue Station will fit into a more traditional residential neighbourhood.

Recent concerns about the location of the Broadway-City Hall station have led to discussions about moving the station north 50 metres, placing it closer to Broadway. Such a change would cost approximately $3 million, which is to be shared equally among the City of Vancouver (which has approved the expenditure), Translink and InTransitBC.Fact|date=February 2007

Station platforms will be only 40 metres long, extendable to 50 metres long. The YVR terminus and the Richmond-Brighouse terminus will each be single-tracked, whereas the Waterfront Station terminus will be double-tracked to accommodate the shorter headways required for interlined service from the two branches. King Edward Station will be the only station with a stacked configuration and Broadway-City Hall Station will be the only station with a double height ceiling over the platforms. Vancouver City Centre Station will be linked to Pacific Centre Mall and Vancouver Centre Mall in addition to having street level access. There will be no direct connection from Vancouver City Centre Station to the Expo Line's Granville Station. All direct transfers to the Skytrain will be made at Waterfront Station.

All stations will be configured to allow for the future installation of fare gates if required.

Every station will have elevators and an escalator travelling up, but will not necessarily have an escalator going down (except for the airport stations, which will have escalators travelling in both directions). []

Vancouver section

All Vancouver stations will be underground except Marine Drive which will be elevated.
* Waterfront (connection to Expo and Millennium Lines, West Coast Express and SeaBus)
* Vancouver City Centre (Granville Street at Robson Street)
* Yaletown-Roundhouse (Davie Street near Mainland Street)
* Olympic Village (Cambie Street at West 2nd Avenue; planned for after 2010, but included in the initial project after the City of Vancouver provided funding)
* Broadway-City Hall (Cambie Street at West Broadway; connection to 99 B-Line)
* King Edward (Cambie Street at King Edward Avenue)
* Oakridge-41st Avenue (Cambie Street at West 41st Avenue, next to Oakridge Centre)
* Langara-49th Avenue (Cambie Street at West 49th Avenue)
* Marine Drive (Cambie Street at Southwest Marine Drive)

Richmond section

Trains outbound to Richmond's commercial centre will stop at:
* Bridgeport (north of Bridgeport Road in Richmond; major transit exchange for suburban buses; link to Airport branch)
* Aberdeen (No. 3 Road at Cambie Road)
* Lansdowne (No. 3 Road at Lansdowne Road; 3-4 blocks away from the Richmond Olympic Oval speed skating venue)
* Richmond-Brighouse (No. 3 Road at Cook Road, adjacent to the Richmond Centre shopping mall)

Airport branch

Trains outbound from Vancouver to Vancouver International Airport will split from the main line after Bridgeport Station, stopping at:
* Templeton (likely to be located north of Grant McConachie Way, near Templeton Street)
* Sea Island Centre (likely to be located on Grant McConachie Way, near the Air Canada service centre)
* YVR-Airport (adjacent to the main terminal of Vancouver International Airport)

Post 2010


* 33rd Avenue (Cambie Street at West 33rd Avenue, next to Queen Elizabeth Park)
* 57th Avenue (Cambie Street at West 57th Avenue)


* Capstan Way (No. 3 Road at Capstan Way)

YVR Airport

* YVR 3


The Canada Line will not use the proprietary Bombardier Advanced Rapid Transit linear-induction technology found on the Expo and Millennium lines, but rather another model of fully automated train, using more conventional motors.

This was largely a consequence of the scope of the Request for Proposals process for the Public-Private Partnership, the terms of which did not allow Bombardier to include efficiencies in combining operations or rolling stock orders for the new line with those for the existing SkyTrain lines. This placed all bidders on a level playing field, albeit at the cost of not necessarily picking the most efficient choice for long-term operation. The RFP also required that the system have an ultimate capacity of 15,000 pphpd (leaving the choice of technology and platform length to the proponent) and required a maximum travel time between YVR and downtown Vancouver of 24 minutes. [ [ Best and Final Offer Stage Report & Recommendations] (PDF) ]

The trains were designed and are being built by Rotem Company, a division of Hyundai Motor Group. [ Cars testing]

In total, forty fully-automated articulated trains are on order. The capacity of the new trains is estimated at 334 people, with a top speed of 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph). Married pairs of gangway-connected cars will be 41 metres long and 3 metres wide, similar in dimensions to Ottawa's O-Train, but both longer and wider than the ART fleet used by the current SkyTrain lines, and will have electronic ‘Next Destination’ signs on each train.

Canada Line ROTEM EMU specifications

*Car Builder: ROTEM, South Korea
*Car Body: brushed stainless steel, with a vinyl wrap at the outer ends
*"'Unit Numbers: TBD
*Fleet of: 20 (2 car train set)
*Car Length: 41 m
*Car Width: 3 m
*Car Height: 3.6 m
*Track Gauge: standard gauge of 4'8.5"/1435mm
*Total Weight: 76 tonnes (empty)
*Propulsion System: Conventional AC traction motor
*Max. Speed: 80 km/h
*Braking System: N/A
*Total Seating: 394-400 (per train; seated and standees)
*"'Capacity: 5,000 to 20,000 passengers per hour
*Coupling/Numbering Arrangement: All married pairs.
*Air Conditioning System: Yes
*Price per car
*Overall cost:


The plans for the new line have generated much controversy. Opponents have claimed that the approval process was undemocratic and dishonest. They say that the projected ridership figures were grossly inflated, [ [ Come clean on RAV line, MacPhail tells Campbell] [ Larry Campbell's RAV Reward] ] which will mean that taxpayers and transit passengers will have to cover the shortfall in revenue, that the official claim that the project had nothing to do with Vancouver's bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympics was not credible. [ [ Privatization: Cabinet leak proves Liberals will do anything for a P3] ]


Opponents of the RAV line's public-private partnership believe it was politically motivated and that it will cost more money because of the private involvement. The private involvement has, however, allowed for the costs to be known and largely fixed up-front.Fact|date=July 2008

As the funding is likely to be provided by property taxes collected from throughout the Lower Mainland, this would mean that many communities that would be most hurt by the funding crunch (such as the North Shore, which is served primarily by buses and aging SeaBuses) could end up paying for a disproportionate share. (The western North Shore municipalities have the highest real estate prices in the Lower Mainland and therefore the highest property taxes.)

Although the contract is supposed to ensure that no cost over-runs are passed on to TransLink and thus the public, there is a concern that it may somehow cost the public more in the future. The primary risk to TransLink is that it is required to guarantee 90% of projected ridership and to make up the shortfall in revenue if this is not achieved. The other potential risk would be if TransLink were to cause delays in the project by not meeting its responsibilities; it might be required to pay the costs for these delays and to ensure that the project is completed in time.

Arbutus Corridor

Given that Arbutus Street is currently zoned for transit use with space available for transit lines, running the line down the Arbutus corridor may have been more cost-effective than tunnelling under Cambie. The planners, however, countered that the Arbutus corridor does not have the major concentration of transit destinations and origins that exist along the Cambie Street corridor, such as Vancouver City Hall, Vancouver General Hospital, Oakridge Shopping Centre, and Langara College that are necessary to provide the ridership required for this project to be successful. Also the Arbutus corridor is longer than the Cambie corridor and would cause longer travel times, and contributions by the federal government and the airport authority were contingent on service times that such a system would not have been able to achieve.

The City of Vancouver plans to run a streetcar line down the Arbutus corridor and in February 2006, won a Supreme Court of Canada decision against the Canadian Pacific Railway upholding the City's right to rezone the lands for a transportation corridor (the CPR had wanted to develop the corridor with housing). []

Impact on expansion of other transit options

Some observers claim that the portion of the cost of the Canada Line that TransLink is covering will be at the expense of improving bus service in Greater Vancouver. It has been pointed out that construction of the Canada Line will do nothing to improve transit or alleviate congestion on the Broadway corridor, which serves a majority of the more than 100,000 weekday trips to the University of British Columbia, Greater Vancouver's most frequent weekday destination after the downtown core. In addition, the Evergreen Line rapid transit project has been delayed (until 2014).

Construction methods

Hiring practices

There have been several labour disputes related to wages and unionization between employees and contractors working on the construction of the Canada Line. On September 21, 2006, Canada Line construction workers planned a strike over racial issues, claiming that foreign workers were being hired at a fraction of the pay of Canadians working on the line. The BC Labour Relations Board, however, has ruled otherwise, taking into consideration the fact that the workers were being paid for their stay in Vancouver while doing tunneling work. The BC Human Rights Tribunal has not ruled on the complaint as of this writing. [Cite_news|title=Labour strife plagues Canada Line construction|work=CKNW News Talk 980|url=|accessdate=2006-10-19]

On November 13, 2007, the BC Human Rights Tribunal ruled that a group of Latin-American workers had been intimidated from being represented in a union by the Canada Line contractors. [Cite_news|title=BC transit line builders coerced workers, tribunal rules|work=Canadian Broadcasting Corporation|url=|accessdate=2007-12-23] [Cite_news|title=Official document on the ruling|work=BC Human Rights Tribunal|url=|accessdate=2007-12-23] The tribunal found that the workers were forced to sign a petition in the fear of possibly losing future job prospects with their employer. The petition would have prevented them from being represented by a union before the tribunal, and it would also have created evidence that could have jeopardized the ongoing investigation by the tribunal over perceived inequalities between foreign and domestic workers. [Cite_news|title=Canada Line companies intimidated foreign workers: Tribunal|work=Global Television Network|url=|accessdate=2007-12-23]

Name of the line

Initially called the "RAV Line", the line is now officially known as the "Canada Line".

Other names were also considered:
* Olympic Line: Although not officially tied to the 2010 Winter Olympics, hosting the Olympics was a part of the rationale for building the line. This would have tied the line in with the existing Expo and Millennium Skytrain lines, which were named after significant events occurring at the time of construction.
* RAV Line: The original working name, RAV being an acronym for Richmond-Airport-Vancouver.

See also

* 98 B-Line


External links

* [ Canada Line ] - Project Site by RAVCO
* - Report on project by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
* [ Richmond-Airport-Vancouver Rapid Transit] - TransLink's page for the line.
* [ TransLink] - The regional transportation authority of Metro Vancouver.
* [ A 2003 study]
* [ Press release on station names - May 9, 2006]

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