The Evergreen Extension connects Coquitlam to the rest of Greater Vancouver through the Skytrain network. Originally envisioned as a LRT tram, plans changed in 2008 to incorporate it as a Skytrain extension. Construction began in 2012, and in September 2016, Translink announced that the line would be open before the end of the year.
Finally, the much-anticipated Evergreen Extension opened its doors on December 2, 2016. I was a bit late to the party, taking my first ride on December 27 to Lafarge Lake. Here are ten thoughts:
- Instead of being a separate line as originally planned, the Evergreen is an extension of the Millennium Line. This made sense because the latter used to share most of its tracks with the Expo Line, and any track/train issues along that stretch affected both, which is no longer the case.
- There are Next Train signs at both the entrance and the platform of the stations. But that’s not it- there are also escalators for both up and down directions. Slam dunk, Translink!
- The Evergreen trains are tiny. I mean yes, the Canada Line trains are also two cars long, but at least they’re wider. Plus, it has its own capacity issues.
- If you look hard enough, you can spot the Sushi California as you leave Lougheed Station. Their sushi is great, but right now is probably the furthest you can get from that sweet Cali sun.
- Coquitlam Centre Mall is not at Coquitlam Central station. Instead, it’s one station away at Lincoln Station. Sometimes life just doesn’t make sense.
- Speaking of Lincoln Station, it reminded me of Vancouver City Centre station on the Canada Line. It’s the one station where 99% of passengers get off. Seriously, the scene looks like a Mexican port-a-potty.
- Seriously though, the Evergreen Extension’s route is actually pretty scenic. I mean, even the stations are really, really nice.
- Once getting off at the terminus station at LaFarge Lake, I checked the map to find the actual lake. To my surprise, I was literally steps away from its gorgeous lights.
- The only thing in the way was Evergreen Cultural Centre. It was closed, but looked pretty sweet. Definitely going to have to go back and check it out.
- On the train ride back, I got to ride in one of the brand new Mark III trains, which was amazing because they have these gigantic windows.
Before today, my experience in Coquitlam was restricted to the Coquitlam Center Mall and the bus station next to it. The Evergreen Extension has essentially opened the door to a whole new world for me- one I am excited to explore. I just have to wait for the snow to melt first.