The South Korean-built trains that will run on the new Canada Line rapid transit system between downtown Vancouver and the city's airport will double the capacity of the current SkyTrain cars.


The new Canada Line trains are built by South Korean company Hyundai. ((CBC))

The two-vehicle trains will give commuters more leg room and more space for wheelchairs and bikes than SkyTrain cars, B.C. Transportation Minister Kevin Falconsaid during the unveiling ceremony Friday.

"Between these two cars you can fill up 400 people on this train, which is a tremendous improvement over the existing SkyTrain. It's virtually doubling the capacity," Falcon said.

"That's going to be important, too, as we move lots of people particularly during the Olympics."

The Hyundai Rotem Company won the contract to build 20 fully automated trains for the $2.05-billion line, which is scheduled to open in 2009. Four trains have already arrived and the remaining ones should be delivered through to August next year.


B.C. Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon says the new Canada Line trains can hold about 400 passengers. ((CBC))

Asked why the contract was awarded to a South Korean firm and not a Canadian one, such as, Bombardier, Falcon said it's about pricing and building Asia-Pacific investment.

"They [Hyundai] probably had a more competitive price and were able to deliver on terms that were acceptable to the concessionaires," he said.

"Not only are we seeing Asian investment come to British Columbia, we're see British Columbians investing in Asia and that's what you're going to see as we go forward..."

Officials said the new look of the white, blue and green trains was chosen to reflect the Lower Mainland's signature mountains, forests and trees.

With files from the Canadian Press