TransLink CEO, Kevin Desmond Must Resign!

The sheer incompetence of TransLink was on show yesterday with a SkyTrain melt down.

The Canada Line is former Liberal brainchild Premier, Gordon Campbell’s, attempt to have a P3 transit project. Well the result is a capacity constipated transit line that is not compatible with the rest of the SkyTrain system, with the operating consortium headed by Canada’s current favourite Company, SNC Lavalin.

Transport Canada must investigate this incident as customers were held hostage for three hours by Translink’s utter incompetence.

Kevin Desmond must resign or be fired!

SkyTrain passengers on a Canada Line train stuck for 3 hours in Richmond


By National news anchor  CKNW

It was a tense and very cold evening for SkyTrain passengers stranded on a Canada Line train for three hours Monday night.

The train became stuck between the Aberdeen and Lansdowne stations at about 8:20 p.m, halting all service between Bridgeport and YVR stations.

TransLink thinks heavy ice on the power rail may be the culprit but it needs to verify that.

Technicians initially tried to recover the train by rocking it back and forth. When that failed, they sent a rescue train to bail out the folks stuck onboard.

Passenger Masooda Shahi tells Global News reporter John Copsey what happened next:

“There was a rescue train, after maybe an hour, right behind us. That was the time the train was moving back and forth, like maybe 10 metres, and that also got stuck.”

Technicians managed to recover the stuck rescue train and tried coupling it with the first train, but there wasn’t enough power to haul both.

Finally, after nearly three hours, customers got out of their train and walked across the guide way to one on the opposite track.

Translink says customers were not evacuated to the opposite guide way right away, as it was not safe to lead them along the elevated guide way in the hazardous weather conditions.

“We extend a sincere apology to these customers,” Translink spokesperson Jill Drews says in an email.



11 Responses to “TransLink CEO, Kevin Desmond Must Resign!”
  1. Bill Burgess says:

    Vancouver car drivers never suffer delays due to weather.

    The Calgary C train is never delayed. Well only for 22,640 minutes over the 5 years from 2013 to 2018.
    7,834 minutes were due to “internal reasons” and 14,806 for “external” reasons.

    ( )

    Zwei replies: Very disingenuous, even by your standards. As the C-Train operates to an advertised schedule, delays, even of one minute are recorded. TransLink and SkyTrain, oh no, there is no advertised schedule except for a train every 2 or 3 or 5 or 6 minutes. TransLink does not record stoppages under 5 minutes. it is all apples and oranges.

    But that is not the issue, sunshine, it was TransLink abandoning customers on the Canada line for 3 hours! That TransLink does not seem to have any plan for an emergency, except piss about doing nothing and leaving customers stranded for three hoursd would lead to investigations or even criminal investigations in other countries. In metro Vancouver, it is just business as usual.

    Damn lucky I wasn’t on, I be dialing 911 after 20 minutes, which, by the way is the law for evacuating stranded passengers on a train in Germany!

    This is Translink incompetence in the extreme and Kevin Desmond must be censured and/or dismissed.

  2. Causa Causans says:

    On our side of the pond we treat transit customers quite differently and yes in some counties there is law the deems how long a customer can remain stranded on a train before rescue.

    In Germany, there would be a criminal investigation, as it is the law, but is is also good public relations as the customer knows action will take place.

    In Vancouver it seems that your translink play cards while people are in distress. We just cannot imagine translink would treat its customers so shabbily.

  3. Bill Burgess says:

    I should have made clear the C-Train numbers are for “major” delays – only 10 minutes or more are included in the above numbers.

    Of the almost 297 such delays listed over the 5 year period, 183 were for 30 minutes or more.

    If Skytrain only records stoppages that are 5 minutes are more and if this data is available, let’s compare!

    Zwei replies: Again you distort the story, how many Calgary C-Train customers were held captive for 3 hours during a loss of service?

    Seriously, this fiasco demonstrates that TransLink has no emergency or evacuation plan and for 3 hours ran in circles without thinking about the customers. I hope Transport Canada investigates. The lack of any coherent emergency plan, I’m afraid, is laid at the desk of the CEO. Time for him to depart.

  4. Rob Sutherland says:

    Tuesday 6pm. I’m currently a stones throw from the Canada line near Lansdowne- nothing running…

  5. Niall says:

    There is nothing wrong with the Canada line. It was built by Hyundai rotem. It is quite a big company making subways all over the world. It just that the stations on the Canada line are a bad design with short platforms which prevent easy expansion of trains. Kevin Desmond had nothing to do with this.

    Zwei replies: You are in error, the cars are built by ROTEM and the Line built by a SNC Lavalin lead consortium, to a design approved by the provincial government and TransLink.

    Holding customers hostage on a failed train for more than three hours is Kevin Desmond’s responsibility; having an evacuation plan is Kevin Desmond’s responsibility; having any sort of emergency plan is Kevin Desmond’s responsibility. Translink and Desmond failed spectacularly!

  6. zweisystem says:

    I have several emails from acquaintances that all the SkyTrain Lines had major issues during the evening rush. The problem is, our Vichy media do not do accurate reports on SkyTrain and I have been told by a reporter that orders from back east are to cool it with negative stories about SkyTrain.

  7. Haveacow says:

    OTTAWA IS CANCELLED TODAY! After 25 cm of snow last week, followed by 2 days of plus 3 Celsius and freezing rain, then a return to our normal -25 C plus windchill temperatures, we had just finished digging out and clearing away the last things that had frozen in place when the temperatures dropped back to normal. Starting about 3 pm yesterday (eastern time zone) until now we got 29 cm of snow. They expect 5 cm more snow today. Confederation Line testing ended at midnight when workers were ordered home. The danger is coming from the 40-60 km/h wind gusts that are creating instant but massive snow drifts. If it isn’t moving it maybe turned into a snow drift in under a minute. For now the wind gusts have eased?

    The O-Train Trillium Line (Line 2) is still running at a reduced schedule frequency of 15 minutes (2 trains running on the entire line). The buses are running, whether they getting anywhere is anybody’s guess. For now I am getting supplies and plan to shovel, whether I actually make any difference at all doing this is well, anybody’s guess! ENOUGH, UNCLE, WE GIVE UP, WE SURRENDER! Just stop snowing!

    Zwei replies: Well I am in 20 cm of snow, but most of the main roads are plowed The big problem are the idiots in 4×4′s going 80 kph or more!

    There are many problems with the Expo/Millennium lines and the official story is that the intrusion alarms keep going off, so Translink runs fewer trains with attendants. Unofficially, Translink does not want to pay for a full complement of attendants running the trains.

    The Canada line is a different story altogether as problems persist.

    I did get a call from a reporter who told me they have been told to cool it on stories on SkyTrain, but he told me that there are major problems and not just intrusion alarms ore iced up doors.

    The Canada line has a power issue and I do not think it is about an iced 3rd rail. They couldn’t get a rescue train to be next to it to get customers off after 3 hours. Evidently a few passenger dialed 911 but Translink told the emergency services all was in hand, which was not quite true.

    it is a big mess out here.

  8. Bill Burgess says:

    Mr Zwei, I did not dwell on the stranded passengers on the Canada Line because I just don’t share your outrage about this incident.

    I noted there are also delays on Calgary’s LRT, so I will now add that I came across a CBC story (see ) on Expo/Millenium line delays of 5 minutes or more.

    Adding up the numbers in the CBC story, there were a total of 172.3 hours of 5 minutes or more delays on the E+M Line in 2016. (CBC got this data through an FOI application, and the Canada Line is excluded because the latter claims their data is not subject to FOI.)

    The Calgary data ( covers Jan 1 2013 to Jan 31 2018, and over those 61 months there was an average of 74.2 hours delay of 10 minutes or more per year.

    So, Vancouver’s 5+ minute delays per year (in 2016) are more than twice Calgary’s 10+ minutes delays per year (from 2013 to 2018).

    We don’t know many C-Train delays are between 5 and 10 minutes. Since it partly runs at grade and in mixed traffic I can imagine there are quite a few. They would reduce the above gap between Calgary and Vancouver delays, but by how much, and enough to moderate Mr Zwei?

  9. Tom says:

    Actually, Translink and Kevin Desmond are not reponsible for what happens on the Canada Line. Translink has many operating companies that operate independently from each other. The only thing they have in common is the compass card that ties them all together. Operating companies are: 1. Coast mountain bus company, 2. West Vancouver Bus, 3. BC rapid transit company (expo & millenium lines), 4. Intransit BC (Canada line), and 5. Westcoast express.

    IntransitBC is responsible for service issues on the Canada line. IntransitBC is a joint venture between SNC Lavalin, the Investment Management Corporation of BC (bcIMC), and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.
    IntransitBC invested $750million in Canada line and have a 35 year contract with Translink to operate the line. Translink owns the line but has little input in how it is managed. The private sector will operate the line for 35 years in return for a share of its operating revenue.

    Zwei replies: Thank you for this as it shows what a tangled web Translink is.

    Still, not having a credible evacuation plan is just plain irresponsible.

  10. Bill Burgess says:

    p.s. Another CBC story reported there were delays of five+ minutes that totaled 411 hours in 2016 on the TTC subway in Toronto. (

    If Toronto has 76.9 km of subway and the E+M line is 60.4 km (Wikipedia), then Vancouver’s 2.9 hours per km of 5+ minute delays in 2016 was considerably less than Toronto’s 5.3 hours per km of 5+ min delays in 2016.

    Let’s keep our eye on the real issues with transit in Vancouver!

    Just to let you know, you cannot compare the two statistics as they are compiled somewhat differently, as I have just been told in a private email.

  11. zweisystem says:

    Memo to Bill Burgess. You are a definite Translink troll and as that, you will be sent to spam in the future.

    The issue was about 60 passengers abandoned on a unserviceable Canada line train with a Keystone Cop response by TransLink.

    Obviously you want to sway the conversation to how good SkyTrain is from the fact of Translink’s and Translink’s CEO callous indifference for customers being trapped on a cold train for 3 hours. That is the story sunshine and by our comments, you don’t give a damn.

    TransLink must have a credible plan for evacuating customers within a 20 minute period, just as the law is in Europe. Maybe jail time for Desmond may change Translink’s contemptuous treatment of its customers. It is a safety issue and all you do is provide your interpretation of statistics to suit your pro SkyTrain screed.

    Why don’t you apply at Translink, you are just the type they want.

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