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August 18, 2009

Vancouver opens Canada Line

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THE city of Vancouver celebrated the opening of its third Skytrain automated light metro line on 17 August with the inauguration of the $C 2 billion ($US 1.8 billion) Canada Line. The 19km line links Vancouver's waterfront and city centre with Richmond, and includes a 4km branch from Bridgeport to the International Airport. The Canada Line has 13 stations, with park-and-ride facilities at Bridgeport, and three more stations are planned.
The opening day saw 30,000 passengers flocking onto trains in the first three hours, although around 6,000 passengers per hour are expected to use the line in its first few months of operation. TransLink expects passenger numbers to reach 100,000 per day by 2013.
The line was originally scheduled to open in November, but the line has been opened early in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics, when passenger numbers are expected to increase dramatically. "The new line will have the capacity to move a very large number of people in a reliable travel time," says Translink spokesman Mr Ken Hardie. "When it has its own right of way, it's not subject to traffic congestion."
SNC-Lavalin, Canada, built the Canada Line under a design-build-operate-maintain (DBOM) contract, and has a 35-year operating concession. The Canadian federal government contributed $C 450 million to the project, while the British Columbian provincial government, Vancouver International Airport Authority, and TransLink each provided $C 300 million.
 
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