Main Street SkyTrain reopened after false alarm

Tensions are running high on Vancouver's SkyTrain system a day after an explosive device was found on a Surrey, B.C., SkyTrain track.

Vancouver's Main Street SkyTrain station was reopened Saturday evening after a police incident stopped service for about half an hour.

According to Transit Police spokesperson Anne Drennan, a station attendant doing a site sweep spotted something suspicious on the guideway next to the track at about 4:30 p.m. PT.

The station was immediately shut down and police were called to the scene.

"The attendant ... went out to take a look, saw a handbag with a wristwatch attached to the outside of the handbag. They felt that it was safe enough for them to approach and actually take a closer look and were able to determine very quickly that this was not an explosive device but in fact a handbag with a wrist watch on it, bizarrely enough," Drennan said.

"They were able to remove it, bring it back off the tracks and get the trains up and running within about 25 minutes."

Explosive on tracks

Transit Police are on high alert after an explosive device was found on a Surrey, B.C., SkyTrain track, Friday afternoon.

This explosive device was found on the SkyTrain track in Surrey, B.C., on Friday. (Transit Police)

The device was found between Scott Road and Gateway stations at about 3 p.m. PT. The RCMP called in its bomb disposal, and bomb squad officers later collected and detonated the device.

Officials are now describing the device as dangerous but unsophisticated.

Drennan says it was made up of three empty canisters strapped to something explosive.

"It's not known whether or not this device could have gone off in the state in which it was found," she said.

"However the bomb disposal members state that it may not have been viable in the state in which it was found. In other words, it may have had to have been lit in some way, manually or electronically, before it went off."

Transit Police are canvassing witnesses and collecting evidence from the scene. Specialized investigators from the Transit Police Crime Reduction Unit are sifting through video and forensic evidence but have not identified a suspect to date.

Transit Police have also stepped up their presence across the entire public transportation system.

"We had additional officers called in [Friday] night — uniforms, high visible presence, all across our lines," Drennan said.

"We did a full sweep of the system — and we're talking the entire system: rail, bus, bus loops, SeaBus, all terminals … Sweeps will continue again [Saturday] and it will be line-wide, however obviously there will be more of a focus in that Surrey area."

Transit was halted at three different stations Friday night when officers spotted other suspicious packages, all of which turned out to be false alarms.