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Here’s why you may hear ‘mini explosions’ and see smoke on the SkyTrain

The snowstorm has caused significant delays and long waits for public transit users across Metro Vancouver.
Heavy snowfall has caused long waits and significant delays for Metro Vancouver public transit users. Some are seeing smoke and mini explosions on the SkyTrain.

With several inches of snow blanketing Metro Vancouver, transportation has been significantly delayed or put to a halt.

Locals who rely on public transit have had to endure long waits, service disruptions, and even slippery road conditions. TransLink strongly advised commuters to avoid travel Friday morning (Dec. 23).

Ice along the SkyTrain's guideway has caused multiple track issues and significant service disruptions, but some passengers have heard "mini explosions" and seen smoke. 

Why is there smoke, explosions, sparks on the SkyTrain?

According to a TransLink spokesperson, "sparks can sometimes be seen from SkyTrains due to something known as train arcing," they tell Vancouver Is Awesome.

They explain that "arcing is caused when electrical contact is interrupted temporarily between the train and the power rail. This is more common when there is ice or snow built up on the power rail."

Arcing is commonly seen worldwide for any trains that are powered by electricity.

@onibs The alarm went off, we ran off the train. A few more mini explosions and we were in panic, already running off the platform 😮‍💨 #surreybc #skytrainvancouver ♬ ItsbeginningtolookalotlikefThis - Nathan Gibson