From Academic Kids

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Calgary Transit have recently introduced new SD-160 vehicles to complement their ageing original trains.

C-Train is the name given by Calgary Transit to their light railway, in operation since 1981. Currently two major routes are operated on 42.1 km (26 miles) of track, running into the southern, northwestern, and northeastern sections of the city. There are also currently plans to build additional lines running to the west, north and the southeast of the city. Most track is at grade with its own right of way. The downtown portion is shared right of way. 8% of the system is underground, and 5% is grade separated (elevated). Trains are powered by overhead electric wires and pantographs.



The first line of the C-Train opened on May 25, 1981 following three years of track work. This line, the 'South Line', ran from downtown Calgary south to Anderson Station (see South Line below for details). The other two current sections of line, the Northeast Line and the Northwest Line opened on April 27, 1985 and September 17, 1987. Since those opening dates, six new stations have been added:

  • August 31, 1990 - Brentwood Station (Northwest Line)
  • October 9, 2001 - Canyon Meadows Station and Fish Creek-Lacombe Station (South Line)
  • December 15, 2003 - Dalhousie Station (Northwest Line)
  • June 28, 2004 - Shawnessy Station and Somerset-Bridlewood Station (South Line)

The C-Train initially used Siemens-Duewag U2 trains (originally designed for German metros, and used by Edmonton's earlier ETS light railway), which constituted the entire fleet until mid-July 2001, when the first cars of the newer Siemens SD-160 trains began arriving. There are now thirty-two SD-160s and eighty-two U2s in service (the eighty-third U2 was lost in a March 2001 accident).

As of 2004 there is a total of 42.1 km of track; the three lines are 20.7 km (the southern line or A-Line), 9.8 km (the northeastern line or B-Line), and 11.0 km (the northwestern line or C-Line) in length.

Route details

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There are currently two major routes in operation: Route 201 (Somserset-Bridlewood/Dalhousie) and Route 202 (Whitehorn/City Centre).

Stations common to Route 201 and Route 202

There are eleven stations in the downtown core which serve all three lines. Five of these stations are accessible only to westbound trains: they are (from east to west) 3 Street Southeast (used only by Route 202 trains), Olympic Plaza (formerly 1 Street Southeast; renamed because it is directly across from the site of the awards ceremony from the 1988 Winter Olympics), 1 Street Southwest, 4 Street Southwest and 7 Street Southwest.

Another five stations are accessible only to eastbound trains: they are 8 Street Southwest, 6 Street Southwest, 3 Street Southwest, Centre Street, and City Hall (formerly 2 Street Southeast; renamed because it is directly north of City Hall, plus 2 Street Southeast through downtown is actually the northernmost part of Macleod Trail). The eleventh station is 10 Street Southwest, which serves as the terminus station for trains inbound from the northeast, as well as a few southbound trains which start their runs there.

The 1 Street Southwest station is being reconstructed one block east of the old station and is slated to open in the spring. The remaining downtown platforms will be rebuilt or renovated (some will be relocated as well) in an effort to modernize the infrastructure and provide accommodation for four-car trains. This coincides with the redevelopment of 7 Avenue (the transit corridor) to make it more pedestrian-friendly. The renovations are being completed in stages so as to minimize transit and traffic disruptions.

Route 201

This route comprises two lines: the South Line, which was the first of the three lines to be built, and the Northwest Line, which is the newest of the three lines to be built. Currently there are eleven stations on the South line (of which two opened on 28 June, 2004) and seven on the Northwest line.

South Line

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Somerset-Bridlewood station on the south C-Train line.

Seven stations on this line opened on May 25, 1981, as the first light railway line to serve the city. From north to south, they are Victoria Park/Stampede (originally Stampede), Erlton/Stampede (originally Erlton), 39 Avenue (originally 42 Avenue), Chinook, Heritage (also the site of the Haysboro LRT Storage Facility), Southland, and Anderson (also the site of the Anderson LRT Yards). On October 9, 2001, two new stations were added: Canyon Meadows and Fish Creek-Lacombe. On June 28, 2004, two more stations opened: Shawnessy and Somerset-Bridlewood. A twelfth station - Silverado (most likely in the area of 194th Avenue SW) - is planned for the future once the community of Silverado in the south is developed, likely beyond 2020.

Northwest Line

Five stations on this line opened on September 7, 1987. From the most central to the most northwesternly, they are Sunnyside, SAIT/ACA&D/Jubilee (the station name in full is "Southern Alberta Institute of Technology/Alberta College of Art and Design/Jubilee Auditorium"), Lions Park, Banff Trail, and University. On August 31, 1990, Brentwood station was opened as a new terminus, and on December 15, 2003, Dalhousie Station was opened. An eighth station - Crowfoot - is planned to open in 2008, as well as a ninth station - Tuscany-Rocky Ridge - beyond 2023. An intermediate station near Northland Drive is possible in the future as well (between Brentwood and Dalhousie).

Route 202

This route comprises one line: the Northeast Line. All seven of these stations opened on April 27, 1985; from most central to most northeastern, they are: Bridgeland/Memorial, Zoo, Barlow/Max Bell, Franklin, Marlborough, Rundle, and Whitehorn. An eighth station - McKnight/Westwinds - is planned to open in 2010, along with a northeastern LRT yard, although due to the large budget surplus in Alberta in recent years, there are currently plans to move the opening date of the extension forward to 2007. Two more stations - expected to be named Martindale and Saddleridge - could be added beyond 2023.

Future lines

Plans exist to build two additional lines from the city centre: a westbound line (which would serve as an extension to Route 202), and a southeastern line (which will likely be called Route 203). A third, northern line is to be planned beyond 2023, and will likely be called Route 204. A possible Route 205 spur is also planned, which would branch off of Route 202 and travel to the Calgary International Airport.

West Line

The plans for this line, which runs west from downtown, have existed since the beginning of construction of the South Line in 1978; it is expected to open in 2018 in the Bow Trail and 17th Avenue SW corridors. Seven stations have been planned; they are expected to be named (from east to west): West End, Sunalta, 26th Street West (Shaganappi), Westbrook, 45th Street West (Glendale), Signal Hill, and 69th Street West. It is also possible that the line may eventually continue as far west as 85th Street West (or even 101st Street West) once that area is developed.

Southeast Line

This line is planned to run from downtown to the new communities of Douglasdale and McKenzie in the southeast. Thirteen stations have been planned, of which up to seven are expected to be built by 2023. From the most central to the most southeasterly, they are: East Village (possible), Inglewood/Ramsay, Highfield/Bonnybrook, Lynnwood, Millican-Ogden, Glenmore/Riverbend, Douglasdale (the last station expected to be built by 2023), Shepard, New Brighton, McKenzie Towne, Auburn Bay, Health Campus (adjacent to a planned southeast hospital - the station likely will share the name of the hospital), and Seton.

North Line and Airport Spur

Although it is not expected to be built until beyond 2023, this line (for which a route has not yet been determined) would likely go to serve the Country Hills community and go as far as the planned Stoney Trail beltway. In addition, an airport spur (which could include a connection with a proposed high-speed rail service to Edmonton) is also possible, hence creating two lines running concurrently from 64th Avenue NE through to downtown.

Other future improvements

Although newer models have been purchased, almost all of Calgary's original trains remain in service.
Although newer models have been purchased, almost all of Calgary's original trains remain in service.

Currently, Calgary Transit operate three-car trains. The five newest stations—Dalhousie, Canyon Meadows, Fish Creek-Lacombe, Shawnessy, and Somerset-Bridlewood—have been built to accommodate trains of four cars, and it is planned to expand the original stations to support four cars. The downtown stations and the South Line will be upgraded first, ending in 2013; followed by the Northwest Line (so as to be able to run four-car trains on Route 201) in 2015 and the Northeast Line in 2017. By 2023 Calgary Transit also plans to begin replacing some of the original Siemens-Duewag U2s (as of 2004 eighty-two of the original eighty-three are in service, and are nearing twenty-three years of service, and by 2023 will be forty-two years old).

The city may also choose to implement its original plan to move the downtown portion of the system entirely underground (beneath 8th Avenue). Though some tunnels were built (and still exist), the plan was scrapped early on due to the high costs. However, it will almost certainly be necessary to revisit the plan and the old tunnels in the future as the population of central Calgary increases and the ability of 7th Avenue to accommodate the higher train volumes diminishes. This is, however, unlikely to happen before 2023.

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