The Edmonton Metro (Light Rail Transit)

Edmonton is one of the five biggest cities of Canada with its 800 thousand inhabitants. Even though it has a downtown area and it is a quite developed city, Edmonton maintains its country roots and cowboy origins, since it is surrounded by large areas where livestock is kept.

Additionally, it belongs to the important Runner Calgary-Edmonton region. This is one of the four regions which comprise a bigger region where 50% of the Canadian population lives.

Also, due to the fact that of being the capital of the Alberta state, Alberta transformed and became one the most important areas in the territory in terms of culture, education, and economics. Its population growth spiked after 1947, after the famous oil boom.

This spike in the population growth was an important benchmark for Edmonton, since the city became what it is nowadays after this event.

In just a few years, this city turned from a peaceful town to the west of Canada into a huge metropolis. Such a transformation resulted in a growing demand for more public service coverage, with special emphasis on a demand for public transportation.


On 1962, the city´s authorities hired a national firm with the purpose of researching the possibility of the construction of a massive transportation system, which would satisfy the needs of the new citizens.

On 1974, after many studies had been done, it was decided that the project would begin to be executed, which would consist on the construction of a fast tram of middle-sized capacity, and it had a budget of 64 million Canadian dollars.

Four years later, in 1978, the now called Light Rail Transit began working, having a track that was barely 6.9 kilometers long. Since then, this means of transportation has been gradually growing. Currently, it already has 24 kilometers of railway, 18 stations, two operational lines and another line under construction.

Lines

The Light Rail Transit system has two commercial lines.

The first line, called the Capital Line, which goes from the Northeast of Edmonton to the south of the city, and its journey goes through the downtown area, covering a distance of 21 kilometers, and it has 15 stations.

The second line, which is simply called the Metro Line, and transits alongside the first line since it runs through the same rails, goes towards the Northwest of the downtown area of the city. This line´s journey has a length of 16 kilometers, and it has stops on 14 stations.

Even though light rail trains tend to transit at surface-level, the Light Rail Transit transits in two ways: at surface-level tracks, and on underground tracks. This feature substantially increased the cost of the construction.

Future Edmonton LRT

Stations

  • Bay/Enterprise Square: This station is attended by the Capital Line and the Metro Line, and it is located on Jasper Avenue, between 103 Street and 104 Street.
  • Belvedere: This stop, which opened on 1978, is attended by the Capital Line. It is located between 129 Avenue and Fort Road.
  • Central: This station is attended by the Capital Line and the Metro Line. It is located on Jasper Avenue, between 100 Street and 101 Street.
  • Century Park: This station was recently opened, being inaugurated on 2010. It is located on 111 Street, near 23 Avenue. It is attended by the Capital Line and the Metro Line.
  • Churchill: This stop was opened on 1978. It is localized between 99 Street and 102 Avenue. It is attended by both lines, the Capital Line and the Metro Line.
  • Clareview: It was inaugurated on 198, and it is only attended by the Capital Line. It is localized near 42 Street and 139 Avenue.
  • Coliseum: Inaugurated on 1978, this station in only attended by the Capital Line, and it is located on 78 Street and on 118 Avenue, near the Northlands Coliseum sports complex.
  • Corona: The station was opened on 1983, and it´s located on Jasper Avenue, between 107 Street and 108 Street. It serves as a stop for the Capital Line and the Metro Line.
  • Grandin: The station began to offer service on 1989, and it´s located on 110 Street, between 99 Avenue and 98 Avenue. It serves as a stop for the Capital Line and the Metro Line.
  • Health Sciences/Jubilee: This stop was opened on 2006, and it´s located right on 114 Street, near 83 Avenue, and it is next to the Alberta University campus.
  • Kingsway/Royal Alex: The station began operating on the year 2015, and it is localized on the vicinity of the Royal Alexandra Hospital, to the north of Kingsway Avenue. It serves as a stop for the Metro Line.
  • Mac Ewan: It was opened on 2015, and it can be found right in front of Mac Ewan University, at 105 Avenue, between 103 Street and 104 Street. It serves as a stop for the Metro Line.
  • McKernan/Belgravia: This stop is located on 114 Street, on the intersection between 76 Avenue and the aforementioned street. It serves as a stop for the Capital Line and the Metro Line.
  • NAIT: It began operations on the year 2015. It´s located on Princess Elizabeth Avenue, to the south of the sports facilities of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. It serves as a stop of this Metro Line.
  • South Campus/Fort Edmonton Park: It can be found to the south of the Alberta University campus, on 113 street. It serves as a stop for the Capital Line and the Metro Line.
  • Southgate: The stop is located near the Southgate Centre mall, on 51 Avenue and 111 Street. It serves as a stop for both the Capital Line and the Metro Line.
  • Stadium: This station lies between 111 Avenue and 84 Street. It offers service since 1978, and it serves as a stop for the Capital Line and the Metro Line.
  • University: The station was opened on 1992. It´s located between 112 Street and 89 Avenue. It serves as a stop for the Capital Line and the Metro Line.

Connections

Some of the Light Rail Transit stations have connections with the bus lines that transit the city of Edmonton. Below, you will see a detailed list of stops where you can make a transfer:

  • Belvedere: It has a connection with the buses from lines180, 99, 10, 181, 186, 512, 125, 152, 153 and 154. It also connects with the school buses from lines 620, 844 and 849.
  • Century Park: It has a connection with the buses from lines47, 347, 24, 324, 48, 540, 331, 79, 9, 747, 78, 46, 39, 339, 74, 1, 23, 25, 30, 35, 36, 37, 77, 17, 40 and 46. It also connects with the school buses from lines 613, 790, 791, 795, 885, 887, 888, 889, 892, 923, 972, 976 and 979.
  • Clareview: It has a connection with the buses from lines181, 512, 192, 193, 2, 149, 188, 190, 184, 580, 381, 2, 195, 137, 183, 185, 11, 10, 186, 187 and 302. It also connects with the school buses from lines 603, 844, 845, 849 and 903.
  • Coliseum: It has a connection with the buses from lines8, 141, 142, 10, 99, 125, 512, 39, 5, 8, 143 y 589. It also connects with the school buses from lines 620, 750 and 940.
  • Grandin: It has a connection with the buses from lines16, 52, 71, 160, 161, 162, 128, 130, 413, 403, 204 and 208.
  • Kingsway/Royal Alex: It has a connection with the buses from lines 8, 125, 143, 9, 12, 309, 202 and 203. It also connects with the school buses from lines 731, 822, 837, and 858.
  • South Campus/Fort Edmonton Park: It has a connection with the buses from lines562, 50, 53, 55, 32, 4, 30, 36, 43, 595, 139, 104, 105, 106, 54 and 138. It also connects with the school buses from lines 697, 728, 735, 738, 828 and 926.
  • Southgate: It has a connection with the buses from lines9, 17, 40, 41, 44, 45, 74, 301, 50, 53, 55, 319, 33, 38, 80, 52, 6 and 304. It also connects with the school buses from lines 786, 787, 790, 791, 795, 820, 886, 888, 889, 890, 895 and 923.
  • Stadium: It has a connection with the buses from lines2, 125, 512 and 120. It also connects with the school buses from lines 837 and 858.
  • University: It has a connection with the buses from lines4, 7, 54, 57, 94, 318, 106, 133, 51, 414 and 404. It also connects with the school buses from lines 735, 739, 763 and 926.
Edmonton LRT DuewagU2

Schedule:

The Light Rail Transit that is convenient enough to satisfy the high transportation demand on Edmonton, even though is not open all day long.

The trains begin to offer service beginning at 5:00 a.m., and the keep operating uninterruptedly until 1:00 a.m. The schedule remains the same through the week, as well as during Saturdays and Sundays. However, the train frequency varies depending on the day.

During peak hours, which are between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., the rolling stock stops at the stations each five or 10 minutes during the journey that goes from Clareview to downtown Edmonton.

The same journey takes 15 minutes during off-peak hours.

Meanwhile, on the one hand, the vehicles that depart from Century Park towards downtown Edmonton arrive every five minutes during peak hours. On the other hand, during off-peak hours, the frequency is of 10 minutes. After 10:00 p.m., the units arrive each 15 minutes.

Fares

The Light Rail Transit has an integrated fare system that is managed by the transportation authorities of the city of Edmonton. This means that the tickets and reloadable cards for the public transportation are valid for both the light rail and the bus lines. Below, the different payment options will be shown:

Youth passes:

These passes are for young people between 13 and 17 years of age. It includes discounts for some of the fares.

  • Single: These simple tickets can be acquired while boarding the public transportation units of Edmonton, including buses and light rail services. These tickets must be paid in cash, and have a cost of 3.25 Canadian dollars.
  • Ticket (Book of 10): These passes allow you to board the city´s light rail trains and buses for a total of 10 times. They do not have an expiration date, so you can use them whenever you want until you use them for the tenth time. Its price is of 23 CAD.
  • Monthly Pass: The monthly passes are for users that frequently use the city´s public transportation. For 30 days, you can travel unlimitedly on the metro´s units and the buses. Its price is of 75 CAD.

Adult Passes:

The adult passes are for all users between the ages of 18 and 64. This is the most standard fare.

  • Single: These simple tickets can be acquired while boarding the public transportation units of Edmonton, including buses and light rail services. Since you have to pay in cash to get them, their price remain at 3.25 CAD.
  • Ticket (Book of 10): These passes allow you to board the city´s light rail trains and buses for a total of 10 times. They do not have an expiration date, so you can use them whenever you want until you use them for the tenth time. This variation of these tickets has a higher price, having a cost of 26.25 CAD.
  • Monthly Pass: The monthly passes are for users that frequently use the city´s public transportation. For 30 days, you can travel unlimitedly on the metro´s units and the buses. This pass costs 95 CAD for adults.

Senior Pass

The Senior Passes are for passengers aged 65 and older.

  • Single: These simple tickets can be acquired while boarding the public transportation units of Edmonton, including buses and light rail services. Its price remains at 3.25 CAD.
  • Ticket (Book of 10): These passes allow you to board the city´s light rail trains and buses for a total of 10 times. They do not have an expiration date, so you can use them whenever you want until you use them for the tenth time. The senior version of this pass costs 23 CAD.
  • Monthly Pass: The monthly passes are for users that frequently use the city´s public transportation. For 30 days, you can travel unlimitedly on the metro´s units and the buses. The price is of 15.50 CAD for seniors.
  • Annual Pass: The annual pass is only available for senior users. It allows passengers to travel for a whole year on the city´s public transportation units via a single payment. Its price is of 136.50 CAD.

Note: Children under 12 can travel for free if they travel with an adult. If they travel alone, they will have to pay for the youth passes.

People with disabilities can receive special annual passes. In such cases, they will need to contact the firm ETS directly, which is in charge of the light rail service.

Security

  • All of the Light Rail transit stations are being watched by surveillance cameras in order to watch for possible crimes.
  • The transport units are equipped with alarm systems that allow the operators to communicate with the passengers at all times and vice-versa.
  • The stops also have emergency phones that communicate with the security center of the firm ETS, which will help you in case of an emergency.
  • Also, police officers transit the facilities frequently.

Fun facts

  • The entire Light Rail Transit network transports over 110 thousand passengers per day.
  • Even though it is considered a light rail service, the Edmonton Metro has the same features as a heavy train service, including underground stops and tunnels that cross the north of the Saskatchewan River.
  • Regardless of all of the security measures taken by the Light Rail transit authorities, 328 crimes were recorded on the trains and stations just in 2008.
  • The future Valley Line has caused controversy among the Chinese community of the city, since the line will go in front of a residence for seniors of Asian origin. However, regardless of the protests, the Edmonton City Hall decided to carry on with the project anyways.
  • The light rail stops have works of independent artists. This is done so that people get to know these lesser-known artists, as well making the waiting times more enjoyable for the passengers.

Connection to the airport

The Light Rail Transit does not have any station that disembarks directly into the Edmonton International Airport. However, it is possible to take a bus from the Airport Express line at Century Park station, which will take you directly to the airport.

The line can be identified with the number 747, and it begins to offer service even before the time when the metro network starts operations. The first vehicles depart the stop at 4:10 a.m., while the last units depart the stops around midnight. The price of the ride is of 5 Canadian dollars. There are no stops in-between the bus station and the airport.

The journey is quite short, taking between 20 and 25 minutes to complete it. During the journey, you can enjoy the beautiful landscape of the meadows on the outskirts of Edmonton, and even use the available free Wi-Fi.

In case that you wish to board the units of the 747 line from the airport, you will have to depart from door number 8, where, right in front of it, the buses stop. You will also find taxi lines, in case that you desire to have a more comfortable ride, and rent-a-car agencies, in case that you want more autonomy during your stay in the city.

Future expansions

Among the works that are currently being done by the Light Rail Transit authorities includes the construction of the Valley Line, which will have 27 kilometers of railway length. Many of the facilities are currently being constructed.

According to the metro´s blueprints, this line will go from the southeast of the city to the west, beginning at the Mill Woods Neighborhood, and ending at the Lewis Farm region, crossing through the downtown area.

The line will be constructed through two phases. The first phase will consist on the construction 13.1 kilometers of tracks, where the trains will depart from Mill Woods towards the downtown area. The passengers that board this line will be able to transfer to the Capital and Metro lines at Churchill station. The works began on April 22nd, 2016, and the network is planned to be inaugurated on 2020.

According to the estimations done by the project´s authorities, the Valley Line will transport 100,000 passengers per day once the line is completed.

Besides the Valley Line, there are expansions scheduled for the existing lines. The construction of these expansions are currently in progress.

For instance, on the Capital Line, there are currently works being done to extend its tracks towards the northeast and the south. In the former case, 2.1 kilometers will be added to the system, as well as a station on the Gorman Towne Center sector. Meanwhile, at the south, four additional stations will be added, as well as 4.5 kilometers of tracks. With the southern expansion, the metro will reach the Anthony Henday Drive route.

Touristic attractions

If you visit Edmonton, you cannot miss the Francis Winspear Music Center. This is a Performing Arts Center opened on 1997, very close to the Churchill Station. Its name comes from Dr. Francis G. Winspear as a way to honor him, who donated 6 million Canadian dollars for the construction of the building. This was the largest private donation in Canada´s history. In this place, you will be able to enjoy theater plays, symphonic orchestra performances, ballet, and other scenic performances.The performances available change constantly, so you will always find something new to watch.

Meanwhile, near Corona station, you will GTFO Escape Entertainment Game Center, an escape room complex for adults, who can play by finding clues that allow them to escape from the different rooms. This is an attraction in Edmonton that has gotten a lot of good reviews due to how fun its facilities are, where teamwork is fundamental. It is an ideal place to escape from the daily routine, and it is a way to explore new ways to socialize. Without a doubt, this is quite a unique experience that you should get to know.

Metro map of Edmonton

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Edmonton LRT map

  • Also Known As: LRT
  • Passengers/Day 101000
  • Fares: $3.20
  • 24h operation: No
  • Air Conditioning: No
  • Walk between platforms: No
  • Driverless trains: No
  • Screen Doors Platforms: No
  • Max. Speed: 70km/h
  • Operator: Edmonton Transit System
  • $3.25
  • Edmonton Metro Official Website
  • Tlf: +1 780 442 5311
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