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Finally: 35-year-old SkyTrain escalators to be replaced in downtown Vancouver

TransLink finally has a plan for the station - and those aging, original escalators - after two false starts.
Burrard SkyTrain Station
Burrard SkyTrain Station is getting new escalators, at last.

After much stopping and starting, much like a SkyTrain itself, plans for the much-needed Burrard SkyTrain Station upgrades are finally coming together.

Initially, TransLink announced that it intended to close the busy downtown transit hub for two years for renovations though they eventually scrapped that plan earlier this year in favour of gradual updates. TransLink cited increasing costs of construction for this new avenue and says that the escalator replacement project is part of a "rescoped" upgrade plan.

According to a recent news release, "starting October 17, TransLink will begin work to replace all five escalators at Burrard SkyTrain Station, with completion expected by Spring 2024."

The current escalators that serve the Expo Line are from the original station construction and have been operating since 1985 but with the growing population of the city and number of transit users, replacement is "critical" to keep up with the passenger volume.

The new escalators will reportedly feature smoother operation and braking systems for passenger safety, LED step lighting for better visibility, variable speed options for power saving, and improved maintenance accessibility to minimize downtime.

The station will remain open at full capacity during construction but there will only be partial escalator access so TransLink asks people to expect congestion. Burrard is the fourth-busiest SkyTrain station in Metro Vancouver, seeing an average of 12,000 daily boardings on weekdays. In 2019 alone, over 7.6 million people used the Expo Line. The Bentall and Royal centres will remain fully accessible and there are elevators on every level that will remain unaffected for those with mobility issues.