British Columbia Rapid Transit Company Ltd. (BCRTC), on behalf of TransLink, maintains and operates two of the three SkyTrain lines in Metro Vancouver — the Expo Line and the Millennium Line — as well as the West Coast Express commuter rail service.
BCRTC also manages the agreement with InTransitBC for the operation and maintenance of the Canada Line.
The Expo and Millennium SkyTrain Lines connect Downtown Vancouver with the cities of Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Moody, and Surrey. The Canada Line connects Downtown Vancouver to the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and the city of Richmond.
Both SkyTrain lines operate out of BCRTC's Operations and Maintenance Centre in Burnaby. BCRTC has more than 1,100 dedicated staff who work in the areas of administration, engineering, elevator and escalator maintenance, field and train operations, scheduling, vehicle maintenance, and wayside (station and guideway) maintenance.
Read the quick facts about the Expo and Millennium Lines:
BCRTC currently serves about 350,000 passengers per weekday and has an on-time service delivery performance rating of 96.5%.
Launched in December 1985, SkyTrain is the oldest and one of the longest fully-automated, driverless, rapid transit systems in the world.
SkyTrain runs on a mostly elevated guideway, high above city streets, though there are a few stations located underground. The name SkyTrain is derived from these views of Metro Vancouver our commuters enjoy during their journey.
The SkyBridge is a double-tracked, 616 metre cable-stayed bridge and was the first structure of its kind in the world built exclusively for transit use. Opened in 1990, it connects the cities of New Westminster and Surrey.
Trains operate at a maximum speed of about 80 km/h over much of the line. Trains are at a reduced speed around stations and in some curves. BCRTC has 342 train cars available for service.
SkyTrain first opened on December 11, 1985 for eight days of free service prior to officially starting revenue service in January 1986 as a showcase of Expo ‘86, with its first line, the appropriately named Expo Line. The Millennium Line joined the service starting in January 2002 with two stations. Now, it has 17 stations connecting key hubs in the area. Our latest addition to SkyTrain was the Evergreen Extension of the Millennium Line which opened in 2016, adding six stations and connecting the cities of Coquitlam and Port Moody to the network.
As an essential part of the transit system within Metro Vancouver, SkyTrain is growing and will serve more communities soon. The Broadway Subway is a 5.7km extension of the existing Millennium Line past its current terminus at VCC-Clark reaching as far west as Arbutus. Work on the extension is due to begin in fall 2020, with completion scheduled for 2025 bringing six extra stations to the line.
SkyTrain represents a modern family of automated rapid transit systems also known as Advanced Rapid Transit (ART). The system takes conventional rapid transit principles (such as from subway systems) and mixes these with new applications such as the Linear Induction Motor (LIM).
The Expo and Millennium Lines run mostly on an elevated guideway, with approximately 8 km of the guideway in-cut or at-grade.
Automatic Train Control
SkyTrain uses the Thales (formerly Alcatel) SelTrac communications based moving block system to provide the functions of automatic train operation, protection, and regulation through the following three-tier hierarchy:
Vehicle On-Board Control (VOBC): a dual processor computer on the train that controls propulsion, braking, direction and door operation, and monitors speed and critical faults.
Vehicle Control Centre (VCC): the computer group located at the BCRTC Operations and Maintenance Centre that controls track switches and the safe distance between trains through a radio frequency inductive loop cable that is fixed between the running rails. SkyTrain has five VCC territories (Expo Line West, Expo Line East, Millennium Line, Evergreen extension and the OMC yard). Each territory is controlled by its own set of three IBM micro-computers running in synchronization to ensure consistency of safety-critical actions and to provide redundancy in case of failure.
System Management Centre (SMC): the supervisory level that performs system-wide schedule regulation of trains and provides the primary interface for SkyTrain Control Operators in routing and monitoring trains.
SkyTrain Car Specifications
The average SkyTrain car operates more than 180,000 kms per year – equivalent to 12 hours a day, every day. The initial fleet of 150 Mark 1 cars has averaged more than 4 million kilometres per vehicle since we launched service in 1986, with several more years of useful service life remaining.
Mark 1 (MKI): Built in Kingston, Ontario, by Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC), the MKI car is comparable in dimensions to a bus: 12.7 metres (41 feet) in length and 2.5 metres (8.1 feet) in width. The MKI cars have a normal capacity of about 80 passengers per vehicle. Cars are permanently joined together and can be run as two-, four-, or six-car trains.
Mark 2 (MKII): The Millennium Line introduced a new SkyTrain vehicle, the MKII. 60 new MKII train cars were delivered from 2002 to 2003, with much of the vehicle assembly taking place at the former Bombardier assembly plant in Burnaby.
With an overall length of 17.1 m, the MKII’s are 35% longer than their MKI counterparts and can carry about 60% more passengers. The MKII’s operate as two-car and four-car trains.
New MKIIs: In 2009, an additional 48 MKII cars, built by Bombardier, were added to the fleet, increasing peak hour capacity by about 30%. The new MKIIs have 34 seats and increased standing and wheelchair, stroller, and scooter capacity.
Mark 3 (MKIII): Bombardier designed the newest generation of SkyTrain vehicles, which were introduced into the rapid transit system in 2016. Together with deliveries of this train model between 2018 – 2020, there are now 84 of these train cars operating on the system.
The MKIII trains are all four car units and offer a complete walk through interior from the front to back of the trains. These trains are just over 68m in length.
President & General Manager
Michel brings a wealth of senior leadership experience and decades in the transportation industry to his role of President and General Manager of British Columbia Rapid Transit Company. Joining BCRTC in August 2019, he is excited to grow our fleet, expand service across the region, and encourage ridership growth.
Michel joins us after moving from Auckland, New Zealand where he previously served as Managing Director for Auckland Transport Rail, managed by Transdev. With a focus on employee engagement, customer satisfaction and safety programs, he oversaw a team that transformed the organization into a high-performing business that now consistently exceeds its performance targets.
Prior to becoming Managing Director, Michel served as Transdev Auckland’s Chief Operating Officer. As COO he oversaw the complete transition of the fleet from diesel railcars to modern electric units. Following this change, annual ridership more than doubled from 10 million trips to 21 million trips in less than four years.
Michel began his career in the Netherlands, where he grew up. His responsibilities there included managing operations in the Hague area for Dutch Railways, preparing the company’s cross-border services under the European Rail Traffic Management System, and leading the team that introduced the Netherlands’ first high-speed rail service.
He is a keen hiker, and takes a special interest in 19th century art. He holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Maastricht.
Vice President, Operations
Since 2001, Mike has been Vice President of Operations, responsible for all rail operations in the region, including the Expo and Millennium Lines and West Coast Express commuter rail service. On behalf of TransLink, he also oversaw management of the 30-year operating agreement with the private operator of the Canada Line.
Mike is one of BCRTC's original employees, with over 35 years of public transit experience in Metro Vancouver. Mike joined BCRTC as a SkyTrain Attendant prior to the Expo Line launch, and progressed through the organization to his current position.
Vice President, Maintenance
Dan brings over three decades of maintenance and engineering experience to the Vice President role. He joined BCRTC in 2019 from CMBC where he held several leadership positions within their Maintenance division.
Before joining the enterprise, Dan spent 20 years in engineering and maintenance management roles in the bulk loading, cement and paper industries. He’s been responsible for multi-million dollar engineering projects and annual maintenance shutdowns.
Dan has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of British Columbia, a management certificate from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and is a registered professional engineer (P.Eng.) in the province of British Columbia.
Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Services
Tracy originally joined BCRTC in 2011 as the Manager of Finance. Two years later, she became Director of Finance. She assumed her current position as Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Services in January of 2018. Tracy oversees accounting, financial reporting and planning, payroll, purchasing and inventory, training and occupational health. She also serves as the Corporate Secretary at BCRTC and West Coast Express along with being the privacy officer for TransLink’s Privacy Committee.
Tracy is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) and she holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia. In addition, she was a part of TransLink’s inaugural LEAN Academy class that focuses on the philosophy of continuous improvement. She obtained her LEAN Green Belt Certificate in December 2017.
Chris Lythgo is currently the President of Seajay Consulting Ltd., based in Surrey, B.C. Prior to establishing Seajay Consulting in 2003, Mr. Lythgo served for eight years as Vice-President, Technical Services British Columbia Transit Corporation, and subsequently, Coast Mountain Bus Company, a subsidiary of TransLink. In this role he was responsible for all technical engineering support including the delivery and maintenance of all operating infrastructure and fleets, and environmental due diligence. As a member of the Executive Management Team at BC Transit he was actively involved in developing that company’s corporate vision and objectives and two strategic service plans.
Mr. Lythgo is a veteran of the Canadian Forces holding appointments, among others, of Chief Engineer, Canadian Army. Mr. Lythgo brings considerable experience from his time in the Canadian Forces in the areas of strategic planning, operations, negotiation of international agreements and protocols, capital program definition and development, project implementation, real property management, fleet management, organization change management, approvals processes and procedures at the federal, provincial and municipal levels.
Mr. Lythgo is a registered Professional Engineer in the Province of British Columbia and a Certified Project Management professional. He is a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada (B.Eng.), Queen’s University (MBA), the Royal College of Defence Studies, the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College, and the Land Forces Command and Staff College. He recently completed the Institute of Corporate Directors Program for Not-for Profit Boards. He is a past member of the Board of Governors of the Royal Military College of Canada and the Board of BC Corps of Commissionaires Enterprises Ltd. and past Chairman of the Board, Commissionaires BC. He currently serves as Chairman of the National Board of Commissionaires Canada.
Dianne leads from a faith-based perspective, with a focus on integrating compassion and social justice within the BC health system. A hallmark of her leadership has been the intentionality with which she has fostered a culture that is mission driven. In September 2006, she was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Providence Health Care (PHC), one of Canada's largest faith-based health care organizations operating 17 facilities in Greater Vancouver, BC, including St. Paul's Hospital. During her 12-year tenure as CEO, PHC has made a significant impact on the health and well-being of many of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our society. PHC was recognized in 2012 and 2016 as one of B.C.’s Top Employers as well as one of the best employers for new Canadians in 2012. Additionally, Providence was accredited in with Exemplary status by Accreditation Canada in 2013 and 2017. The organization received the Coaching Wise Designation from the International Coaching Federation in 2016 and, most recently, PHC was listed BC Business’ Top 100 Companies in 2017.
Dianne’s values are demonstrated outside of her profession in her volunteer work for many non-profits, and her incredible ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. Dianne has been active in her church and community, supporting many non-profit groups with her time and expertise.
Dianne is the recipient of numerous leadership awards including a Lifetime Achievement award from the Health Leaders Association of BC, top 100 Most Powerful Women award from the Women’s Executive Network, and an Award of Distinction from the College of Registered Nurses of BC.
Dianne is recognized as a champion of Catholic health care provincially and nationally. She has held numerous positions including Chair for Catholic Health Association of Canada, the Denominational Health Association of BC and Catholic Health Association of BC. Dianne was also the inaugural Chair of the BC Health Care Leaders Association, subsequently serving as board member for several years.
Dianne has a BSN from the University of Ottawa and an MSN from the University of British Columbia. Her health leadership credentials include a CHA in Health Services Management, a CHE Certification, and Fellowship in CCHL. She brings more than 30 years of senior executive experience in health care to her role.
Dianne’s husband Ken Robinson is a BC Coast Pilot and they have three adult children, Ashley, Chris and Melissa.