Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for November 25th, 2010

Canada Line fails to stand up to snow

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I would like to say that I am surprised – but I am not. News 1130 reports

The big problem was on the bridge that runs over the Fraser from Richmond-Brighouse to the Marine Drive station. Chan says they ran trains all night hoping to prevent stoppages like this morning’s, but it was something that was unexpected.

Really? He did not do that “wrong kind of snow” thing that they still talk about in Britain. But given that the Canada does NOT have a LIM rail – which is the weak link on SkyTrain when it comes to snow and ice – I am a bit nonplussed by the “unexpected” bit. The forecast was spot on. And it was not the first snow this year either.

Now I will confess I was less than prepared myself. I do have a snow shovel. It lives in the shed most of the year, and I did not get it out last night, prior to the snow. I was relying on that “it will turn to rain by lunchtime” bit of the forecast which so far (3pm) has yet to materialise. So to get to the snow shovel I had to put on my wellies and traipse through four inches of the stuff! It’s not exactly arctic out there either.

No doubt further details will emerge later. It will either be blowing snow in the switches – something of a regular feature when I commuted by GO train from Union Station in Toronto.  It usually led to delays rather than outright cancellations – or more likely conductor rail problems. A bit like the issues Translink has with the new trolleys.

British Rail – and London Transport – used to keep a fleet of retired trains equipped with brooms and deicing fluid to run when snow was about. ProTrans does have track maintenance machines that can run under their own power  – they had one out at the airport on that pocket track between the end of the line and Sea Island Centre a few days ago.

I cannot help but feel that at the base of the issue as usual is the penny pinching attitude of the P3 which puts all the emphasis on profit at the expense of customer service.

And as it happens I need to get to the airport tonight. Maybe I’ll take a cab instead. Like the pizza guys they seem to be able to keep running in all weathers

Written by Stephen Rees

November 25, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Posted in transit

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