As the caption up top says North America’s first modern light rail went to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, a city system I had the pleasure of visiting and fully photographing the small LRT in last May in the middle of rather circuitous 2 week road trip back from Colorado Springs. Anyway this fairly small but heavily used light rail line in the quite cold and relatively rich Canadian province of Alberta opened in 1978 (only five out of the 13 stations were never a LRT terminal station), also pioneered the POP payment system. The system is definitely is much closer to a heavy rail (witch can’t have grade crossings) line than most. Trains run underground through Downtown Alberta and beneath the University. The northern elevated portion of the line fallows a freight ROW with only a spattering of grade crossings. Each station has it’s own under or overpass area where passengers enter and exit the station, with the platforms within the POP zone. The line has high platforms and LRVs to match. Only the newest (opening in stages in the past two years) section feels like a conventional light rail with the train line running at a grade alongside larger city streets and these are the only light rail stations that require passengers to cross tracks to access the station platforms (interestingly, their all island platforms). Originally it used conventional fare control means with turnstiles at each station, but having to staff every entrance (all downtown stations have two, one at either end of the platform) proved extremely expensive and the line almost immediately converted to the Proof-of-Payment system that all modern American Light Rail systems (built after this time) have adopted. At all stations except the three newest (where the platforms don’t even require POP since the TVMs are directly on them), it would be extremely easy to re introduce a barrier fare collection system.
Anyway enough of how interesting I found America’s first light rail, Here’s the link to the system, and its 13 Stations with over 271 photos total (each station is worth a visit they all have lots of content):
Enjoy! Also, these pages I’ve created a hybrid format so now only photos where captions are really relevant (and that aren’t explained in the station’s summery text) will have captions while others wont with pages looking quite decent. Calgary should be next, and more importantly a genuine homepage for Canada.SubwayNut.com, a seperate sub-site for my Canadian coverage