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Federal Funding Helps TransLink Refurbish Aging SkyTrain Vehicles

November 20, 2013

Project made possible thanks to Canada’s Gas Tax Fund

Burnaby, British Columbia – With the support of the federal Gas Tax Fund, today TransLink put in service the first of its refurbished SkyTrain vehicles, which would have otherwise reached the end of their serviceable lives.

“Our government is proud to invest in infrastructure projects, such as the refurbishing of SkyTrain vehicles, as we focus on creating jobs, promoting growth and building strong, prosperous communities across Canada,” said the Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, Minister of National Revenue. “This investment will keep residents and visitors moving, contribute to productivity, and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions emitted across the greater Vancouver area.”

“I’m encouraged by TransLink’s decision to refurbish these vehicles and save money,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone. “TransLink serves an area about twice the size of Toronto and provides over one million trips a day. Senior government funding, like the Gas Tax Fund, helps TransLink provide a world-class transportation system for communities and families.”

“The contributions of the federal government to important local infrastructure projects through programs such as the federal Gas Tax Fund have been critical to local governments being able to successfully respond to the needs of the region,” said Metro Vancouver Chair and Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore. “I am very pleased that the federal government has elected to continue their support through the new Building Canada Fund for another ten years.”

The 114 Mark I SkyTrain vehicles being refurbished have been in service since 1986 and have reached their design life of 25 years. To extend the lives of these trains, work will include upgrading the electrical system, expanding the interior passenger capacity, refurbishing passenger doors, replacing interior amenities, and repainting the vehicles exterior. This will extend each vehicle’s lifespan by 15 years to a total of 40 years in operation. All SkyTrain vehicles will be fully revamped by December 2016.

TransLink is extending the life of these existing vehicles at a cost of $37.9 million, with $28.5 million from the federal Gas Tax Fund, and the balance through TransLink’s capital budget. New SkyTrain vehicles of the same capacity would have cost an estimated $262 million.

“The current Gas Tax Fund has provided TransLink with access to over $122 million a year, helping us increase passenger capacity and lower regional greenhouse gas emissions,” said Ian Jarvis, Chief Executive Officer of TransLink. “TransLink absolutely relies on funding through programs like the federal Gas Tax Fund to help us maintain our vehicles fleets and service — without it, we would see degradation in both areas.”

“These upgrades to our older cars will improve our customers’ experience by making them more comfortable, maintaining service levels and promoting system reliability,” said Fred Cummings, President of British Columbia Rapid Transit Company. “Restoring these trains shows TransLink’s commitment to keeping the system in a state of good repair while providing our customers with a transit system that is dependable.”

Since its inception, the Gas Tax Fund has provided $554 million to replace, refurbish or purchase over 1,000 vehicles to serve the Greater Vancouver Area, including numerous fuel-efficient hybrid and gasoline alternative vehicles. The Fund has also supported construction of the Hamilton Transit Centre, improvements to the SkyTrain Operations and Maintenance Centre and contributed to the rehabilitation of TransLink’s vehicle fleet giving customers one of the newest, fully accessible and environmentally friendly bus fleets in North America.

Canada’s Gas Tax Fund transfer provides long-term funding to municipalities across the country to build and revitalize their local infrastructure. The Government of Canada has now made the Gas Tax Fund a permanent transfer that will grow from its current $2 billion per year while providing increased flexibility on how the money can be used to fund local infrastructure priorities. Between 2006 and 2014, British Columbia will receive more than $1.56 billion from the Gas Tax Fund to improve local infrastructure. The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) administers the Gas Tax Fund in BC, in collaboration with Canada and British Columbia.

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