British Columbia·Photos

SkyTrain's Expo Line shut down: Free transit all day today

All modes of transit are free throughout Metro Vancouver today after thousands of rush-hour commuters were left stranded by the closure of the Expo Line SkyTrain between Joyce Station and Waterfront Station.

TransLink service partially restored after severe disruption this morning

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      All modes of transit are free throughout Metro Vancouver today after thousands of rush-hour commuters were left stranded by the closure of the Expo Line SkyTrain between Joyce Station and Waterfront Station.

      At 9.45 a.m. PT  TransLink announced service was restored between Joyce and Commercial Drive stations.

      'I've had better mornings'

      Vanesa Zapala says she was travelling on the Expo Line from Surrey to downtown Vancouver when she became stranded.

      "It would have been nice to get an announcement. I actually started getting text messages from my brother, and my boss saying the SkyTrain was down and I'm like, 'Well we're on it. Everything seems fine.' And then about three stations later we got the announcement," she said.

      "​By the time they told us, we could have either gotten off at Columbia or we could have gotten off at Metrotown. But we didn't hear until later and so we came all the way to Joyce."

      ​Florian Schuck was also on his way downtown for work when he got stuck waiting for a bus.  

      "Hundreds and hundreds of people are looking to get to work somehow, and it looks like it's going to be quite a wait to even get on the bus," he said. 

      "I've had better mornings"

      Bird's nest caused fire

      TransLink is blaming the service interruption, which began a little after 11 p.m. on Thursday, on a fire on the Expo Line guideway.

      The fire began when sparks from a grinder that a worker was using for routine maintenance ignited a bird's nest, which burned about a metre of communication cable.

      TransLink says a team of 20 people worked through the night and will continue to work through Friday morning to repair the damage, but it's not an easy job.

      "It's fibre strands, fibre cable, so it's not easy to work with and it's in a really tricky spot. The guys actually have to lie on their stomachs and do it from the top down," said Brennan.

      "It's one of those things we wish didn't happen."

      Alternate routes suggested

      A bus bridge has been put in place to replace the SkyTrain service between Joyce Station and Waterfront Station, but heavy crowding is expected. 

      Brennan said some commuters can expect delays of up to two hours and is advising people to find alternate routes.

      We just feel terrible about this for our commuters, for our customers. It's a major inconvenience for them," TransLink spokeswoman Colleen Brennan told CBC Radio One's Rick Cluff.

      "For those who do have a choice, and I know not everyone does, if you have a choice not to come into the downtown core this morning ... then I would say that would be a good idea. However, that's not an option for many people, so at least try to avoid the major stations."​

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