British Columbia·Photos

SkyTrain on Expo, M-Line trains stalled for 2.5 hours during rush hour

TransLink says 19 packed trains were stalled between stations due to a technical issue during the rush-hour commute on Tuesday evening.

19 trains were stalled between stations

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      TransLink says 19 packed trains were stalled between stations due to a technical issue during the rush-hour commute on Tuesday evening. 

      Spokesperson Anne Drennan says 17 of those 19 trains have been manually driven into nearby stations and have been fully evacuated.

      Expo Line and Millennium line trains timed out around 4:20 p.m. PT between Royal Oak station in Burnaby and Waterfront station in Vancouver. Service was restored around 7 p.m., nearly two and a half hours later. pregnant woman onboard one of the trains had an anxiety attack, but she was assisted by fellow passengers. Crews prioritized getting that train into a station as quickly as possible, Drennan said.

      "Timing out apparently means the trains have lost communication with the control centre, so this is a technical issue," Drennan said. 

      Frustrated passengers vented their irritation on social media.

      Carolyn Cody tweeted it was an "absolute nightmare" at the Edmonds bus loop while others were concerned they might miss the Shania Twain concert tonight at the Rogers Arena.

      But it seems like the Canadian songwriter empathized with those stuck in transit, because the concert will start late. 

      "Transit police have advised the staff there of the issue and they have agreed to hold the concert so those people that will be coming in using the SkyTrain won't miss out," Drennan said.

      TransLink defends track record

      Meanwhile, some people stuck on a train pried open the doors and got off onto the tracks around Metrotown station, while others tweeted they were at the mercy of TransLink, using the hashtag #SkyHostage. 

      TransLink, however, strongly dissuades passengers from leaving train cars. 

      In September, within minutes of a TransLink train stopping, some passengers broke open the emergency door release and walked on to the train tracks, which carry a 600-volt charge and could have caused an electrocution. 

      "Passengers who climbed out of the cars didn't help their fellow passengers any, because they added at least 30 to 40 minutes onto the delay time," Drennan said. 

      "There's no way you can have any trains through that area until the track is completely cleared."

      TransLink has been riddled with several delays and shutdowns in the past few months. However, Drennan defended its record saying all the problems have been caused by "different issues."

      "The last one was a result of a spark in a bird's nest that burned out cables. Before that we had a switch issue and this is a technical issue involving computers," she said. "So they are all different issues that crop up on systems of this size." 

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