Sunday, September 30, 2012

Oliver Bowen CTrain Facility

... Zoe and Arta, ready for their morning adventure with Open Doors ...
I pulled out a newspaper supplement called Do YYC 2012 Visitor Guide which explained that on Saturday and Sunday all quadrants of the city are opening their doors, free of charge, to the public and providing revealing tours.

Then there was a map and descriptions of the sites available.

Tour # 8 promised that there would be a shuttle bus from McKnight station and a tour of the maintenance and storage areas of Calgary’ CTrain fleet and that we could ride a car through the CTrain wash.

How cool was that, I thought, so I arranged to have Wyona drop Zoe off at my house just a little after 8 am and we headed down to the Banff Trail Station to take our tour.

We changed CTrains at 8th Avenue and 8th Street, hung out at the gardens there, and waited for the Saddletowne Station extension of the LRT.
... park at 8th and 8th ...

We were booked for the first tour of the day – the inaugural tour, they told us, of opening up their facility for public tours.

Zoe got her picture taken in the driver’s seat of a city bus, in the driver’s seat of a handibus, and in the driver’s seat of a C-Train.

... art work at McKnight Stations where we caught the shuttle ...
As well, the two of us took a personalized ride on the Teddy Train (seen in the Calgary Stampede), she got her picture taken with CTrain Security and we toured the facility.

Who is more thrilled to talk about mechanics than people who actually do the job? Or more articulate?

... riding the Teddy Train ...
We hear about how the engines of the CTrains are rebuilt, we saw how the tires are replaced, and as a hostess gift, the mechanics had cut off small pieces of the train tire.

In hindsight, I should have taken one myself.

It is a lovely piece. Zoe’s looks like a stainless steel modern rendition of a lamb or a penguin, depending on where you imagine the legs are on this piece of tire, one that you might buy in a modern art shop.

And yes, we rode the CTrain through the car wash, looking out the windows to see beads of mist all around us. We saw the huge vacuums that are used to clean the trains.

We saw huge bags of paper garbage that are collected off of the trains at the end of the day.

One of the tour station stops was about vandalism on the trains.

... a photo op with security ...
“You want to know where the security cameras are placed,” the presenter said.

“No, I am not going to tell you that. But yes,they are on the inside and the outside of the trains and when we find damage, we review the tapes.”

Lighters burn the backs of seats, knives cut up the upholstery, sharp instruments scratch the windows.

The presenter showed a piece of film – actually, four piece of film that are placed over the windows. When graffiti is scratched onto window panes, the train is taken into the shop, one of the pieces of film is peeled off as though it is saran wrap and there are three left to go: $32 a sheet, but much cheaper than replacing whole windows.

... sheep , penguin ... or CT tire ...
The stainless steel lamb/penguin was not the only gift. When the tour ended there were bags of popcorn, bottles of water, 3-D puzzles, Frisbees, washable tattoos and buttons to wear on our shirts.

Zoe began to construct her model bus and CTrain on the ride home.

She had to hurry.

... now it is a penguin ...
Her afternoon was to be spent bowling.

If there were time I would go take one of the first ever public tours of the Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility tomorrow at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm.

Closed shoes required.



  1. You always hide at least one joke somewhere in your posts. "Closed shoes required." That one make me laugh out loud.

  2. Hi Zoe - I liked seeing pictures of your on your tour. My favorite is seeing you with the security guards. Which part of the tour did you like best? Was it scary being in the "c-train wash"? Was it loud?