May 18, 2017
workers repairing track

With 45 CTrain stations, 60 km of track, 134 km of overhead wire, switches that open and close thousands of times a week, and general wear and tear from trains carrying 285,000 passengers every day, you depend on us to keep you moving.

That’s why during spring, summer and fall we take advantage of the warmer weather to perform necessary maintenance on our CTrain system. This means that we occasionally close CTrain stations temporarily to perform the work. We know it’s an inconvenience, but regular maintenance is necessary for us to keep the LRT system safe and reliable, which is part of our Customer Commitment. When CTrain stations are closed we provide shuttle bus service so you can still get where you need to go.

Scheduling work at stations and on the tracks is challenging, especially with Calgary’s many festivals, concerts, game days and special events. That’s why we work with stakeholders to come up with solutions and perform maintenance on days with the lowest number of riders, which are weekends and holidays. We also perform as many different jobs as we can at one time to take advantage of the closure.

Can the work be done at night?

Every day, CTrains are running for almost 22 hours. They start around 4 a.m., and they keep going until about 2 a.m. That leaves only a two-hour window of time where there are no trains on the tracks, and that’s not long enough to complete major maintenance or repair projects.

Our crews work around the clock (24 hours a day) to complete projects as quickly as possible. We do as much as we can during regular CTrain operating times and in that two-hour window when no trains are on the system.

Why do stations have to be closed during maintenance work?

It’s all about safety. We close stations to complete maintenance work if:

  • The work presents a safety concern to our customers
  • Workers are on the tracks adjacent or leading up to a station
  • We are removing essential components such as track sections, power systems or signal systems

During closures, we work on several components at once so we don’t have to close the same section of track multiple times in a year.

What is some of the most common maintenance work we do?

  • Ballast renewal – The ballast is the rock bed that you see around the train tracks. The ballast helps keep the track geometry in place, which creates a smooth ride and keeps trains in line with platforms. It needs to be replaced occasionally (especially on older sections) to keep the track in good shape.
     
  • Replacing rails – Taking out older pieces of rail due to wear and tear, cracks or internal flaws and replacing with new pieces of rail.
     
  • Replacing or repairing switches – A switch simply allows a train to change from one track to another. Work usually involves taking out older switches/turnout components due to wear and tear and replacing with new switches components.
     
  • Crossing replacement/rehabilitation – There are many places along the CTrain system where cars cross over the tracks. This causes a lot of wear and tear on the tracks, so crossings need regular maintenance work, and have to be replaced every 10-15 years.
     
  • Overhead contact wire – The contact wire (bottom wire, which touches the pantograph) wears down like an eraser. Once the wire gets thin, it needs to be replaced. Also, we measure and adjust the wires to make sure they are at the correct height.

How can I find out about closures before they happen?

  • Website - Detailed information about each closure will be made available on our website 1-2 weeks prior to each closure.
  • Calgary Transit App – Check “service updates” in the main menu.
  • Calgary Transit on Twitter - Follow us for service updates.
  • Information panels at stations – Look for signs informing customers of upcoming closures.
  • Digital signs on platforms – Upcoming closures are advertised

 

The ballast (rocks surrounding the tracks) need to be replaced periodically to maintain the track geometry.