Transformers… and not the cool robot kind

After my complainy comment in Jeffery’s earlier post that nobody had news on what’s happening downtown, details are starting to come together. But first, some downtown geography secrets – if you’re familiar with Richards and Pender, you know the park across from the Holy Rosary Cathedral? OK, how about, one block East of The Railway Club? Weird park, with concrete structures with locked doors? Right, well, that a substation in Vancouver’s downtown power system. Rumour, and possibly hyperbole, has it that the structure is 8 stories deep. And, according to the news, one of the power transformers contained therein went blooey. That’s science talk for “kerpow.” This in turn saw smoke escape up through manholes, vents, and envelope a couple of nearby buildings – which, considering the toxic nature of transformers, seems like a design flaw.

The BC Hydro website is saying the outage is due to a switch that failed at 9AM this morning. Which seems a little underwhelming an answer, given the, you know, smoke. For a look at the area affected, check out BC Hydro’s outage map.

As, as you’d imagine, they’re not something you can replace with a wrench – as such, it appears downtown may be without power tomorrow as well.

No word yet on if this affects the SeaBus service (which is right on the edge of the outage) or the SkyTrain (which runs underneath the affect area.) If anybody can confirm that they’re fine or not, maybe comment on the matter.

And all this comes one day after Burnaby and a chunk of East Vancouver lost power for 20 minutes yesterday (I was sitting in Metrotown Silvercity – last ten minutes of Hancock. Can you believe that?)

[UPDATE]
– Apparently SeaBus and Skytrain are running. The West Coast Express is operating too.
– Officials are asking motorists to stay out of downtown. With so many lights out, it’s just causing havok – no need to get in the middle of it.
– The Vancouver Sun’s newsroom was affected, so… they’re off the hook! For now…

1 Comment so far

  1. Lori K. (dlfvan) on July 14th, 2008 @ 5:47 pm

    Seabus and Skytrain were behaving as normal, however they were really, really full from about 11 AM on through the work day. Many people could not get their cars out of underground garages or thought it would be too much of a hassle to try to drive out of downtown with no stop lights.

    Also, two or three people were trapped in my office building elevator in Gastown for the better part of three hours.



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