Trains to and from Calgary Airport (YYC)
Calgary International Airport is the fourth largest airport in Canada, handling between 12 and 13 million passengers per annum, and is located nearby downtown Calgary, a city in the Alberta region of the country. It is nearby to the popular Canadian Rockies, and is a very well known location for tourism. Calgary Airport is recognised by its airport code of YYC. Although there is no Calgary Airport train station available for arriving and departing passengers, many airport buses take passengers to a variety of destinations, including some of the city’s train stations, for connections to Calgary’s Light Rail Transit Lines.
Calgary Airport is a large establishment in Canada, with a terminal building covering a surface area of over 140,000 square metres. The building has four concourses for domestic and international departures and arrivals, a special area for U.S. Preclearance facilities and by 2015, another terminal will be opened for Calgary Airport which will be known as the International Terminal. A new runway is currently under construction as well, and will be the longest runway of any airport in Canada, capable of handling today’s large aircraft carriers. However, although a large and important airport, there is no Calgary Airport train station. Vancouver International Airport on Sea Island, Vancouver, is the only Canadian Airport with direct rail connections. Calgary Airport is, however, well served by a variety of local and long-distance buses, which provide useful connections for airport passengers.
In order to reach the light rail services of Calgary, airport passengers will need to travel on either the Route #100 airport bus or the Route #430 airport bus. They are both public bus services, operated by Calgary Transit, the same company that manages the light rail system of the city. The Route #100 bus takes passengers to the McKnight-Westwinds CTrain Station, and the Route #430 bus takes passengers to the Crowfoot CTrain Station.
‘CTrain’ is the current name for Calgary’s light rail services. The public airport buses are frequently available from nearby the terminal’s arrival area, and are low-floored buses, therefore able to accommodate disabled travellers. Bus tickets can be purchased on board the bus, or various transport passes may be used. Buses to the McKnight-Westwinds station depart from the airport every twenty to thirty minutes, and the buses to Crowfoot station depart every thirty to sixty minutes (every hour over weekends).
Calgary’s light rail train system is a very popular way to travel in the city, and generally consists of two lines, known as the Route 201 and the Route 202. The train services began their operations in May 1981, with a line between Anderson Station and 8 Street West Station. Since then many improvements have been made, and many of the lines have been extended. In 1985 the North East line opened from Whitehorn Station to 8 Street West Station, and in 1987, the North West line was opened. This line now travels from Anderson Station to the University of Calgary. The South West, North East and North West lines were all extended over the next years, and their extensions included the McKnight-Westwinds Station and the Crowfoot Station, from where airport connections are available. Still further extensions are planned for the future. Currently, Calgary’s light rail system has 44.9 kilometres of track and 36 stations which are served by 156 light rail vehicles.
The McKnight-Westwinds CTrain Station is on the North-East line, and provides access to the Route 202 of the CTrain light rail system. It is a fairly new station, having only been in operation since December 2007, and is located adjacent to the community of Castleridge. To the north, are the communities of Martindale, Taradale and Saddle Ridge. Currently, it is a terminus station, but only until the new extension is completed in 2012. The extension will be 3.1km in distance, and will link the station to Saddle Ridge. Another interesting aspect regarding McKnight-Westwinds Station is the Oliver Bowen Maintenance Facility that was built just south of the station. It will be used for the storage of twenty-two new light rail trains that are planned for purchase over the next years. Before the station and maintenance facility was built, trains for the North-East line had to come up from Anderson or Haysbro. The McKnight-Westwinds CTrain station consists of a centre-loading, walk-on platform with no stairs.
The Crowfoot CTrain Station is located along the Route 201 of the CTrain light rail system, and is an even newer station, opened in June, 2009. It is alongside the community of Scenic Acres and the business district of Crowfoot. The station has a centre platform as well, and a parking area of 1,345 spaces. Additional stations on the North-West Line include Dalhousie, Brentwood, Lion’s Park and Sunnyside, while the North-East line includes the stations of Franklin, Marlborough, Rundle and Martindale. Route 201 has many stations in the Downtown area as well, and stations such as Victoria Park, Southland, Anderson, Canyon Meadows and Fish Creek on the South Line.
Passengers making use of the city’s light rail transit system will need to purchase a ticket or a travel pass. All tickets and passes should be validated (stamped) at the station before boarding the trains, and the valid ticket should be kept by the passenger at all times during the journey. The downtown portion of the CTrain which travels along 7 Avenue is a free fare zone, and passengers need not buy tickets when travelling this route. Free rides can be taken between 3 Street East and 11 Street West, and along 7 Avenue. Outside of the downtown area, train fares will be applicable.
By train is a wonderful way to see the country of Canada as well, and various train companies provide journeys, for example, the Royal Canadian Pacific takes tours of the Canadian Rockies, Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions can be taken on authentic steam powered trains and VIA Rail Canada offers transport between many of the major cities in Canada.
Although there is no Calgary Airport train station, passengers will find the airport buses to be a reliable form of transport, and that plenty of connections to the city’s and country’s railway systems are available.