SkyTrain for Surrey, not LRT!

Sept 10 – NEW: We have released a Gallery [CLICK HERE] containing several pictures of this new generation of INNOVIA Metro vehicles!

Bombardier Innovia Metro 300

Bombardier has changed the name of their automated rapid transit technology, which moves the SkyTrain (Expo and Millennium Lines).  The new branding is called “INNOVIA Metro”, and replaces the original branding “Advanced Rapid Transit” as well as the older “Intermediate Capacity Transit System”.


For over 25 years, Bombardier has been a world leader in the medium-capacity metro segment with its advanced rapid transit technology. Combining the success and engineering expertise of this platform, Bombardier is now offering its latest evolution – the new fully automated INNOVIA Metro 300 system.

Perhaps a realization by Bombardier of what the technologies comprising ART can effectively do, the new marketing name effectively puts the ART technology and rolling stock in line with other full-sized metro solutions that Bombardier is marketing, such as the MOVIA Metro.  This may be the first time that an automated rapid transit system is being mass-marketed to the specific markets that desire full-scale metro systems.  The key feature of all “INNOVIA” products is the driver-less automatic train control operation.

Bombardier appears to have done this quietly, with the renaming not yet having been accompanied by any press release. However, the change is becoming evident in Bombardier documents, such as their annual reports.  In the 2011 Bombardier annual report [LINK HERE], the INNOVIA appears alongside MOVIA as a “Metro” system in the list of marketed products.  This was not the case on the same pages in the 2010 annual report [LINK HERE], where the then-termed “INNOVIA ART” appeared as a “Mass Transit” system on page 118 alongside the INNOVIA APM (automated people over) and monorail systems, but not alongside the MOVIA as a “Metro” on the previous page.

The Innovia METRO is built upon the same Advanced Rapid Transit (formerly Intermediate Capacity Transit System as it was developed by UTDC in the 1980s) technology used in Metro Vancouver’s SkyTrain (Expo and Millennium Lines) and the new trains will be compatible with existing ART implementations.

Conceptual image of INNOVIA Metro 300 train on Vancouver's SkyTrain Millennium Line
Conceptual image of INNOVIA Metro 300 train on Vancouver’s SkyTrain Millennium Line

Previous to this recent change, The Innovia Metro was being marketed as the Innovia ART 300, and as a direct successor to the ART 200 (Mark II SkyTrain car), which succeeded the original ICTS (Mark I SkyTrain car) design.

Bombardier has not changed the specifics of the technology.  While the option of using standard rotary electric propulsion is available as an option that allows ART to cater to existing rapid transit lines, Bombarider continues to use Linear Induction Motor (LIM) propulsion technology and touts it as the advantageous option for INNOVIA Metro customers.  Bombardier markets the Innovia Metro using its own CITYFLO 650 automated train control technology, although this does not indicate an incompatibility with other train control technologies and software such as Seltrac by Thames, the technology used to automate the operation of Vancouver’s SkyTrain.  CITYFLO 650 is also marketed as an automated control technology for other INNOVIA products by Bombardier.

Image of Innovia METRO 300Image of INNOVIA Metro 300

The description paragraphs on Bombardier’s page offer a good look at the capabilities and technological specifications of Innovia METRO 300. Bombardier specifically touts the headway flexibility and the capacity that this can provide with shorter trains than otherwise usually found on high-capacity metro systems.

INNOVIA Metro 300 vehicles can operate as 1- to 6-car trains. With headway flexibility, as short as 75-seconds headway, achieved through consistent braking and acceleration, 6-car units can accommodate a capacity as high as 51,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) ensuring both frequent and reliable services.

Flexible route alignment options, together with the light guideway and short stations, the INNOVIA Metro solution minimises costs of infrastructural works. Tunnel costs are reduced due to lower floor height afforded by the more compact vehicles and radial steering bogies. In addition, excellent vehicle performance also enables alignments with steep grades and sharp radius curves, which requires less land for the system.

Previous to the discovery of this change on the Bombardier website, our analysts uncovered a Chinese document that contains the same technological details of Bombardier’s Innovia METRO 300 (then marketed as Innovia ART 300). The document, which gives the reader a full overview of the technical specifications of the rolling stock, can be viewed at [CLICK HERE].

INITIATIVE COMMENT: Bombardier is finally showcasing the true capabilities of the same technology used in SkyTrain, something we’ve pointed out time and time before (particularly in this article: About the Technology). We’re proud of you, Bombardier!

SkyTrain technology: Bombardier's ART now marketed as full-size "INNOVIA Metro"

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