Bear troubles block commuters from catching West Coast Express in Coquitlam
West Coast Express train rounds the curve near New Brighton Park as it heads east from downtown Vancouver along the waterfront on Aug. 17, 2010. (Ian Lindsay/ Postmedia Network/Files)
The West Coast Express Train 5 didn’t make its stop at Coquitlam Station during this morning’s commute due to bears in the area, according to a tweet from TransLink customer service.
A passenger arriving for the train reported seeing a bear cub on the platform just before its scheduled arrival at 8:10 a.m., said TransLink spokesman Chris Bryan, but there was no sign of its mother.
Another passenger reported seeing the cub climb over a fence and out of the station, but TransLink attendants evacuated the platform anyway and advised the train, the last one of the morning, to pass by the station.
Bryan said animal control, TransLink police and the Provincial Conservation Officer Service were advised of the situation.
“It’s just unpredictable,” Bryan said. “Any time you see a wild animal we need to put safety first (and) that’s what we did this morning.”
Typically about 275 passengers take the last train of West Coast Express’s morning service, Bryan said, which left them the less convenient option of taking SkyTrain’s Evergreen Line service to downtown.
Bryan said the station is near the same location where a bear cub was spotted in a tree earlier in September.
And it isn’t the first time TransLink has experienced close encounters of the wild kind, Bryan said.
In April, security cameras caught images of a pair of cougars sauntering through Port Moody’s Inlet Centre station on SkyTrain’s Evergreen Line.
“With the Evergreen extension we’re in an area of the city that’s got a lot of wilderness, which is wonderful,” Bryan said. “(But) it definitely means we have things like this happening from time to time.”
Bear sightings have been common occurrences in Coquitlam recently, particularly in the Burke Mountain area above the West Coast Express's stop in the city. Despite possible hazards, the announcement sparked some humorous responses, including a tweet from former B.C. MP James Moore.
TransLink police Const. Julien Pension also added a funny touch to his warning of potential disruptions to service at the station.
Bryan said the cub appeared to have gone on its way by the end of the morning commute but TransLink will “definitely make sure things are safe” for the afternoon commute.