The Canada Line, Canada, Delivery and Operations

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The Canada Line, Canada, Delivery and Operations

The Canada Line is a 19km, fully-automated commuter rail line and part of Vancouver’s SkyTrain network, one of the largest of its kind in the world. The Canada Line connects downtown Vancouver with existing heavy rail lines, bus services, commuter rail, sea bus and the airport. The driverless system includes eight underground, six elevated and two at-grade stations, as well as an operations and maintenance centre.

In 2005, SNC-Lavalin was awarded a contract for the total engineering, procurement, construction, partial financing, and operations and maintenance of the project until 2040. The Canada Line Project is a public-private partnership operating as part of a network of public transit services in metropolitan Vancouver. As part of this partnership, we provided one third of the equity and arranged hundreds of millions of dollars in loans. 


Our work on the Canada Line began with financing, design and much more. It has extended through every part of the project lifecycle, including procurement, construction and all the way to the operations and maintenance services we provide today. 

Collaborative approach

The client needed the project finished before Vancouver welcomed the world for the Olympic Winter Games. Timelines were tight, with a project schedule of just 51 months. Our integrated approach encouraged communication and collaboration between the equity provider, designer, constructor and operations and maintenance team. More than 400 design, supply and construction contracts were efficiently managed and coordinated in this way. Our approach paid off, with construction ending some 110 days ahead of the deadline.

Procuring the best vehicles

The Canada Line needed to be served by its own unique vehicle fleet. Our comprehensive procurement process selected the most technically suitable vehicle for the best price. We were also responsible for developing performance specifications for the new rolling stock, carrying out design reviews and monitoring the fleet’s manufacturing, testing, and commissioning. The vehicles were delivered on time and on budget.

Ongoing optimization of the line 

Numerous innovations have led to new tools on the Canada Line to support excellence in operations and asset management. For example, we’ve developed new systems to monitor train/track interface conditions in real time along the length of the line. Plotting the variations in traction conditions by location is helping us maintain extremely high availability performance. 


The Canada Line opened its doors to the public more than three months ahead of schedule and on budget.

Its ridership has greatly surpassed the original estimate of 100,000 passengers a day and now reaches 150,000 riders on busy week days. Running at an average availability rate of 99.8%, the Canada Line is setting standards for ridership and customer satisfaction. Its success led to plans to expand the service available on the line.


These are just some of the many honours the Canada Line project has received.

  • 2017 Gold Award for Service Delivery Excellence; Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships 
  • 2010 Schreyer Award; Canadian Consulting Engineer Magazine/Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Canada
  • 2010 Lieutenant-Governor’s Award and Award of Excellence (Transportation); Consulting Engineers of BC
  • 2009 Gold Award for Infrastructure; Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships
  • 2008 Award of Excellence, Transportation; American Council of Engineering Companies
  • 2006 Infrastructure Deal of the Year, Americas; Project Finance International
  • 2006 North American Transport Deal of the Year; Euromoney Project Finance Magazine

Key Facts

  • InTransit British Columbia GP Ltd.
  • Construction 2009
  • Operations & Maintenance 2009 - 2040
  • Vancouver and Richmond, BC, Canada
  • Mass Transit Systems
  • Light Rail
  • Automated Commuter Rail Services