IT was all about birds – more specifically, a bird’s nest that caught fire thanks to a spark produced by track grinding equipment under the guideway approximately 150 metres east of the Main Street SkyTrain station.
The fire that started at approximately 11 p.m. yesterday and damaged or destroyed about a metre of communications cable.
That shut down the SkyTrain system from Joyce station to Waterfront station and Translink arranged for shuttle buses to transport anxious commuters from all the stations between the two points.
Translink said routine track-grinding work is done to keep noise levels down and the track in good condition. The repair work is difficult due to the location, which is above the centre lane on Terminal Avenue. The cables have to be spliced from the top-down, and workers need to lay on their stomachs to do the repairs.
Bird netting is in place in strategic areas across the SkyTrain system where birds have been known to nest. There was no netting in place at this particular location, as it has never been identified as a problem area. It would also be extremely difficult to place netting in this area, which is under the viaducts and above the roadway (where two viaducts merge above Terminal Avenue heading east.)
“We know this will cause a major inconvenience to our customers, and our dedicated people are doing everything they can to get service up and running as quickly as safely possible,” said Colleen Brennan, Vice President, Communications and Customer Engagement.
Meanwhile, TransLink, to pacify angry and frustrated commuters, announced that all transit would be free for the rest of the day (Friday).
TransLink interim CEO Doug Allen said that they also plan to provide something for their customers with monthly passes and those who already purchased their tickets.
The full service was back to normal by noon.