It has taken the construction of the west leg of the C-Train, for Calgary to get it’s first bona-fide underground LRT station. There are sections of track that duck underground for a stretch on the other lines, and ‘trenched’ stations, like the one at 69th St., but unlike other cities with their Metros and Tubes and free-flowing downtown traffic, Calgary seems to have resisted the notion of burying it’s rapid transit. Maybe Calgarians need to see where all their money went.
Needless to say, I’ve been looking forward to visiting this station simply for the novelty. For the longest time, it was a huge hole obstructing my access to Westbrook Mall, and a school was torn down to accommodate the huge pile of dirt beside the hole. (Ernest Manning High School was rebuilt at the west end of the line).
The Mall featured a ‘display’ of sorts, with images and artist’s renderings of what the new stations would look like. I might have glanced at those displays a few times in the past but I never really ‘got’ what the stations would look like or how they would function. It may explain my fascination with exploring them in person now that they are done.
Westbrook Station has two entrances, north and south. The north one is marked by a building with office space and the south one blends nicely into the surrounding features with its copper roof and elipitcal design. I barely knew the south entrance existed, and I guess I never thought about the aesthetic aspects of the pathways and benches in the open space between the two entrances.
Inside the station I was confronted, once again, with flights of stairs, supplemented by escalators (both up and down) as well as elevators for those who really cannot negotiate steps. The day I explored this station it was cold enough outside to affect the ambient temperature on the platform waiting for the next train to arrive. It was quite cold down there. I’m sure that the chill is a function of the fact that even though there is a long stretch of station /tunnel underground, the tunnel is open to the elements at both ends and cold air pours in and settles into the low areas like the fog spilling out of a bowl full of dry ice.
I took a detour to the mall nearby and saw plenty of signs warning commuters not to park in the adjacent lots, which got me wondering about a park and ride. The current information I’ve found indicates it is a ‘walk on’ station without plans for desgnated transit parking. Be warned, I’ve seen by-law officers patrolling the area and chalking tires in and around all of the transit stations.
I’ve included extra pictures of Westbrook Station and I’ll include the City of Calgary’s infographic as well. Or take a ride and check it out for yourself when you get a chance.