Local News

Calgarians question decision to not add 4th CTrain car to handle Stampede crowd

With hundreds of thousands of people making their way down to the Calgary Stampede this week, attendees using Calgary Transit are getting rather close to one another.

“The trains are very full, and there’s no room for people to get on,” said Brad Dewhirst, who rode the CTrain to Stampede Park Tuesday. “We were kind of getting moved around in the crowd standing up, which isn’t always a good thing.”

Tuesday was a busy day on the grounds for TC Energy Community Day, which offered free admission until 2 p.m. and free entry for seniors (aged 65 and over) and military veterans all day.

It follows more than 200,000 people visiting Stampede Park on Sunday, which broke the Calgary Stampede’s single-day attendance record.

Calgary Transit officials told Global News they’re working to “meet the level of service demand” during the 10-day event, with 24-hour CTrain service throughout the Calgary Stampede.

“It was very packed,” Trish Koziel said after getting off the CTrain at the Erlton Stampede station. “They need to have four cars instead and not three during Stampede.”

According to Calgary Transit, four-car trains aren’t running on the Red Line during this year’s Stampede due to expansion work at the Haysboro Storage Facility to accommodate the longer CTrains.

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Work began on the project earlier this year and is expected to be complete in the fall of 2025.

“They should have them out,” Dewhirst said. “There’s a lot of people getting on the trains and it’s the best way to come down here.”

Some four-car CTrains began running across the LRT network in December 2022 after Calgary Transit shortened the trains to three cars due to reduced ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the process, we have to run the three cars … We have to run with what we’ve got,” said Melissa Morrow, a transit relations specialist with Calgary Transit. “We are running with a higher frequency though so we can match the capacity of the four-car trains.”

That frequency is every 10 minutes between 5 a.m. and 9:30 p.m., then every 15 minutes until 1 a.m. and every 40-50 minutes between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

There are also two shuttle express routes directly to Erlton Stampede station every 10 to 15 minutes from North Pointe (Route 504), and McKenzie Towne and Douglas Glen Terminals (Route 507).

“We know it’s really busy and really packed right now, but if we can let people get off and people get on, it would be a huge help for everyone,” Morrow told Global News. “Just make sure to give yourself some extra time and if the train is packed, another one will be coming along shortly after.”

Transit officials also recommended riders travel to Erlton Stampede station rather than Victoria Park station for shorter lines to get onto the grounds.

The CTrains will be running 24 hours per day until the morning of July 15.

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