Switch problems delay SkyTrain service once again

Thousands of SkyTrain commuters were delayed for the second time this month because of a broken switch at New Westminster's Columbia Station.

The Columbia Station switch is used more than any other in the SkyTrain system

Columbia Station switch has failed twice this month 2:24

Thousands of SkyTrain commuters were delayed for the second time this month because of a broken switch at New Westminster's Columbia Station.

TransLink says the station's switch is used 500 times a day because Columbia Station serves as a hub between the Millennium and Expo lines.

"This one is the most active switches in the entire system," said TransLink spokesman Derek Zabel.

"We do recognize that more wear and tear is going to occur on that switch. We try to keep regular maintainence, we try to stay on top of it, but anything mechanical, it can break down."

So far this year, TransLink says there have been 13 switch-related service disruptions, three more than the same period last year.

Zabel says TransLink will be stepping up maintenance to help prevent delays happening in the future, noting some sections of the system are nearly 30 years old.

Stuck on the SkyTrain

Many passengers described chaos and expressed frustration this morning. Some were stuck on trains while others were stranded on crowded platforms for more than an hour.

Twitter user @majomo wrote, "Yay late for work. Awesome skytrain. Always that switch in Columbia station. Just fix it."

While @ToddMundle tried be patient: "Long waits at SkyTrain station this morn," he wrote. "Switch is out between Columbia and Scott Road stations #stayingpatient."