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Calgary Flood

Calgary Transit Impact and Response

@calgarytransit Thank you! You’re doing an awesome job keeping everyone up-to-date ~ via Twitter


LEFT: CTrain tracks flooded near Erlton/Stampede Station.

The flood of 2013 will be remembered for a long time as being both devastating and a force that brought Calgarians together. This is definitely true for Calgary Transit. From the first bus detour to repairing the extensive damage to our infrastructure, Calgary Transit employees pulled together and worked non-stop to provide the best service possible for our customers. This overview of the flood’s impact on Calgary Transit just touches on the surface. It’s not easy to capture everything that our employees and their families did to assist the relief efforts, but we could not have recovered as quickly as we did without everyone’s help. The evacuation of Victoria Park Garage and the Seventh Avenue Public Safety and Enforcement office was very disruptive and a number of critical resources had to be relocated, including staff, files and approximately 350 buses. In order to set up detours for buses, establish shuttle bus replacement service for the CTrains, communicate with and assist customers, and clean and repair track, tunnels and buildings, staff had to work all hours of the night and day.


Director’s message

We were confident we would be able to restore service on the south CTrain line for the start of the 2013 Calgary Stampede on July 5. Once again, thanks to the dedication and long hours of our staff and our partner organizations, we reopened two days early! As director of Calgary Transit, I want to thank everyone for their flexibility and commitment to Calgary Transit and to our city. Our employees showed unbelievable dedication, and their families showed caring and understanding. For those Calgarians impacted by the flood, including some of our employees, your perseverance in a time of great stress is commendable. It was my honour to work closely with you all. ~ Doug Morgan BELOW: Calgary Transit’s Victoria Park Garage surrounded by flood water.

HUGE props to the @calgarytransit! Was on the bus and C-Train. Dispatch is doing a great job, thanks to everyone! ~ via Twitter


RIGHT: Flood water inside Victoria Park Garage.


Calgary Flood 2013 Calgary’s flood of 2013 will long be remembered as a powerful force of Mother Nature. Its impacts on the city were great and it was devastating for many Calgarians. With damage to infrastructure, it shut down part of the city for a number of days. Public transportation was severely hampered as the flood waters washed out a large section of the CTrain (light rail transit) system, caused evacuations and the relocation of hundreds of employees, buses, files and equipment. Showing commitment and perseverance, Calgary Transit staff rallied together on very short notice to ensure the best transit service possible for its customers. From operators to office staff, everyone took advantage of every opportunity to communicate with customers, resolve issues, repair damage and restore service. Regardless of the type of job, everyone stepped up and did whatever was necessary to provide service, repair the system and keep customers informed.

BELOW: Flood waters shut down the Seventh Avenue CTrain corridor.

I am very impressed with @calgarytransit today. Great signage, good communication and keeping everyone moving this morning! ~ via Twitter

Your employees are in a position to help most of yyc during this disaster! Kudos for the hard work! Not an easy job. ~ via Twitter

Calgary Transit buses and Access Calgary vehicles were provided to evacuate residents who needed help relocating, including seniors who had to leave their care facililties.


Following a severe rain storm the night before, the morning of Thursday, June 20, 2013 began like most for Calgarians. Calgary Transit staff were busy getting service out as scheduled, but the situation quickly changed.

9:45 a.m. The City of Calgary’s Municipal Emergency Plan was activated due to rising river levels and the threat of ongoing rain in the forecast.

10:16 a.m. A State of Local Emergency (SOLE) was declared for the city of Calgary.


June 20, 2013

1:04 p.m. Bus Route 3 was put on detour due to flooding.

2:20 p.m. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for six communities along the Elbow River.

LEFT: Buses evacuated from Victoria Park Garage are temporarily stored at Spring Gardens Garage. RIGHT: Flood waters fill the Victoria Park Garage compound.

Huge props to @calgarytransit. Thankless job on a day like today. ~ via Twitter


RIGHT: Buses that couldn’t be moved from Victoria Park Garage were put up on hoists to keep them from being damaged by the flood water.


3:00 p.m. Calgary Transit’s Emergency Response Plan was activated and began providing 24-hour staffing at the Emergency Operations Centre. The number of communities being evacuated increased throughout the evening to a total of 26, affecting approximately 110,000 Calgarians. Calgary Transit peace officers were dispatched to assist with evacuations and to support various evacuation centres across the city. Calgary Transit buses and Access Calgary vehicles were provided to evacuate residents who needed help relocating, including seniors who had to leave their care facilities. In addition to helping Calgarians evacuate, Calgary Transit was forced to evacuate Victoria Park Garage and the Seventh Avenue Public Safety and Enforcement office by the end of the day. This involved moving the Operations Control Centre (OCC), the Security Control Centre (PS100), the Call Centre, operators and other staff, as well as 350 buses to Spring Gardens and Anderson garages. Buses that couldn’t be moved were hoisted up to avoid the flood water and were used to store tools and other valuables. Staff moved computers and files, and peace officers had to move their fleet and 9,000 arrest warrants to higher ground. By midnight that first day, CTrains stopped going into the core and several bus routes were detoured or cancelled. The no service zone included the area south of 16th Avenue, east of 14th Street, west of Barlow Trail and north of Glenmore Trail. As a result, CTrains could only go from Crowfoot Station to SAIT Station in the northwest, 69th Street Station to Downtown West/Kerby Station in the west, Somerset-Bridlewood Station to Heritage Station in the south, and Saddletowne Station to Franklin Station in the northeast.

Three hundred and fifty buses had to be moved from the Victoria Park Garage during the evacuation.

So grateful for the updates from @calgarytransit. Everyone stay safe and sound. ~ via Twitter

LEFT AND BELOW: Evacuated staff from the Operations Control Centre, the Security Control Centre and the Call Centre work out of a temporary location at the Spring Gardens administration building.

LEFT: Calgary Transit staff review a detour map during the flood.

~ via Twitter

Hundreds of operators, office and maintenance staff had their shift and work locations changed due to the flood. LEFT: The employee entrance to the Victoria Park Garage. RIGHT: Calgary Transit staff updated detour information every night.


Thank u @ calgarytransit for quick updates and being on top of everything. The hard work and the long hours are greatly appreciated.



RIGHT: Calgary Transit employees helped out at evacuation centres set up to accomodate flood evacuees.


A volunteer’s perspective I attended the Fish Creek evacuation centre on the Friday and Saturday after the flood. I was put in charge of registering the evacuees and organized a group of volunteers to receive them. One of the evacuees came in with chest pains and hadn’t brought his nitro inhaler. We arranged for medical assistance and he was soon transported by EMS . There weren’t a large number of evacuees coming in and the whole operation quickly shifted to the task of receiving 320 seniors from two nursing homes. While we were still able to receive other evacuees the focus turned to setting up a makeshift nursing home. I assisted where I could in setting up an access point and check-in system to control who was coming and going, but by Saturday everything was running smoothly with an abundance of volunteers. The coordination of CEMA, City of Calgary staff, YMCA staff, Red Cross and Alberta Health Services was amazing. When a few nurses showed up to help and they saw how many seniors were coming in that required medical attention, they sent the word out and nurses started coming in from all over Calgary, some after working a full shift. That, and the number of Calgarians who came in to offer all manner of assistance, made it quite the uplifting experience. I was glad to be a small part of it. ~ Randy Neufeld, Calgary Transit Peace Officer BELOW: Volunteers assist with the registration of evacuees.

@calgarytransit I would like to also thank all the folks at CT for all their help and dedication through all this. ~ via Twitter

My mom was evacuated from Bridgeland Place on one of your buses. Says she never felt safer. Thanks :) ~ via Twitter

@calgarytransit well done to all of you at Calgary Transit, for keeping us informed on route changes! ~ via Twitter

LEFT: Looking east from City Hall as flood waters fill the East Village.

The situation became worse when all City phones went down, including those for the OCC, PS100 and the Call Centre. Communication to customers was limited to the Calgary Transit website and Twitter, which were updated frequently. Help phones were also down, so staff quickly placed stickers on them to advise customers. Peace officers were in attendance on platforms and throughout the Seventh Avenue corridor to assist people and direct traffic. Shuttle buses were set up to replace CTrain service for the morning of Friday, June 21. Damage to the tracks on the south line around Erlton/Stampede Station was extensive and for safety reasons, shuttles were not able to stop at some stations. There were 15 bus routes on detour and all express routes and 16 regular routes were cancelled. Calgary Transit staff went out to various CTrain platforms to put up signage and help customers get to their destinations. Customers were understanding and many expressed their appreciation for the hard work undertaken by Calgary Transit.


June 21, 2013


June 22, 2013 Changes to bus routes continued to occur frequently and Calgary Transit staff were busy planning and implementing detours, as well as re-establishing cancelled routes. Operators showed enormous flexibility as their schedules were adjusted daily and many had to report to work at different garages. Crews worked non-stop to restore power and to extend CTrain service further into the downtown core. Huge effort went into communicating with customers through Twitter, the website and by putting informational posters out on the system, as well as establishing a visible presence on the system.

The Calgary Transit Twitter account gained more than 4,000 new followers during the flood.

Throughout the event, 344 buses were dispatched to assist evacuees and volunteers. Over 500 people in wheelchairs were transported in 144 Access Calgary vehicles. BELOW: Cemetery Hill tunnel is filled with flood water.

LEFT: Access Calgary customers are returned home after being evacuated to shelters and various long-term care centres.


RIGHT: Working on the CTrain tracks after the flood. BELOW: CTrain tracks near Erlton/ Stampede Station looked like a roller coaster after the flood waters receded.

38,500,000 litres of flood water that had to be pumped.

BELOW: Flood waters cover the CTrain tracks coming into downtown.

I am so impressed with @calgarytransit! They’re trying so hard to get everyone where they need to go and are doing an amazing job! ~ via Twitter


The CP Rail Tunnel by City Hall had about


RIGHT: Volunteers organize donated clothing at an evacuation centre.


Volunteer finds joy in giving back I was fortunate to not be directly impacted by the floods and like so many Calgarians, I searched for opportunities to help out. I was excited to receive a call from CEMA asking for assistance at the Southland evacuation centre. There were 155 evacuees sleeping on canvas cots, most had been there since the flood hit. Anxiety and worry was high that night. My duties were in the food service area but my main responsibility was to listen and comfort those needing an ear. The grateful smiles and tears of appreciation were wonderful sentiments that I will remember forever. I also received a request for support from Calgary Transit to assist customers. During a Transit shift I noticed a gentleman walking along the platform – he was one of the evacuees that I had come to know. When I approached him he grabbed my hands in his and with a huge smile shared that he was back in his own bed. I was so glad to hear this news and he thanked me for being there for him. A couple of hours later I was astonished to see two more evacuees from Southland. They hugged me in tandem and informed me that they were also back in their own cozy beds. I’m thankful for the opportunities to assist during the Calgary flood. There is no greater joy than to give back and help your community to recover and rebuild during such a tragic event. ~ Eliza Davis, Calgary Transit Return-to-Work Co-ordinator

RIGHT: Volunteers had specific responsibilities at the evacuation centres, but were also there to listen and comfort those affected by the flood.

@calgarytransit Wow… what an amazing crew at Calgary Transit… awesome. thx from all of us. ~ via Twitter

We have such a great team fighting for our city. Thanks, @calgarytransit ~ via Twitter

@calgarytransit finally reached Access Calgary. Sounds like their phone system has been downgraded. Eventually got through. good service ~ via Twitter

LEFT: The Seventh Avenue CTrain corridor remained closed while staff worked to restore power.

By Sunday, June 23, the focus shifted from disaster response to operational recovery. The infrastructure under Seventh Avenue was worked on, inspected and cleaned, and staff continued to communicate CTrain service and bus detours to customers daily. Staff were in attendance on CTrain platforms each day to assist customers. With the downtown customer service centre unable to open, June low-income transit passes and senior annual transit passes were extended to July 15 to allow these customers time to purchase their new passes. Emergency power to Victoria Park Garage became operational, and sweeper and vacuum trucks were hard at work cleaning the sediment in the garage. The CP Rail tunnel by City Hall had about 38,500,000 litres of flood water that had to be pumped. The entrances to the CP tunnel were cleared of water although some water remained inside, and a lot of debris was removed. Pumping of the Cemetery Hill tunnel continued. With no power on Seventh Avenue, CTrains were pushed along the avenue using machines called pettibones. This allowed enough trains to be moved to the northeast and northwest lines to provide five to 10 minute service starting Monday, June 24. A major focus was to re-establish phone connections for the Call Centre and to get more phone lines and cell phones working for Access Calgary. Information Technology specialists were hard at work and managed to get some phone lines and cell phones working, but there were still technical issues. Access Calgary was still operating (except into the downtown core and other evacuated areas), although the demand for services was lower due to many programs being closed. Access Calgary continued to assist with the evacuation of those in need and started allowing customers to send requests by email to reduce phone traffic.

During the flood, average daily hits to the Calgary Transit website went up 1,000 per cent from 14,000 to 140,000.


June 23, 2013



Nearly 450 staff were deployed to help customers find their way on the Calgary Transit system over the course of the event.


RIGHT: The CP Rail tunnel near City Hall filled with flood water.

BELOW: A pettibone machine pushes a CTrain along Seventh Avenue while power is out.

Thank u @calgarytransit for quick updates and being on top of everything. The hard work and the long hours are greatly appreciated! ~ via Twitter

@calgarytransit you guys are doing such an amazing job at getting thing back to normal and responding to people. Thank you so much! ~ via Twitter LEFT: Calgary Transit employees were stationed at CTrain platforms to assist customers during the flood.

ABOVE: Victoria Park Garage surrounded by flood water.

LEFT: Water rushes along the CTrain line near Erlton/Stampede Station during the flood.


Calgarians show appreciation Like many CT staff, I was reassigned to assist in getting our customers moving as best as possible after the flooding. My shifts were very early mornings at Franklin and then Bridgeland – throwing switches to get the CTrains moving in the northeast. After my shift, I went and did some errands. For 11 years, going to a grocery store or gas station in my Calgary Transit uniform usually only garnered a polite nod from most folks. After the big flood and the response by all City of Calgary staff, I was approached on several occasions by members of the public. They went out of their way to ask how I was doing and to say a very warm thank you for my help to the city. I know paramedics, fire fighters and police officers often get this type of attention but this was a first for me. I found it very humbling and made me even more proud to wear the Calgary Transit logo. Knowing that, as a group, we earned so much respect from our employers – the tax payers. ~ Sean Brown, Calgary Transit Training Officer BELOW: Debris piled up along CTrain lines as flood waters receded.

@calgarytransit the two men in yellow vests at crowfoot telling people trains are only going to 8th are super kind. Made my day! ~ via Twitter


For the next few days, many Calgary Transit employees and employees of partner organizations worked throughout the day and night to restore power, remove water and debris, begin track repair work and update customers on the CTrain and bus service. The OCC, PS100 and the Call Centre were able to return home to Victoria Park Garage on the evening of Monday, June 24, thanks to the clean-up and temporary generators.

June 25, 2013 Once power was restored to Seventh Avenue, full revenue service on the 202 CTrain line from Saddletowne Station in the northeast to the 69th Street Station in the west began on Tuesday, June 25, with the exception of the stations at City Hall, Centre Street and 1st Street S.W. The 201 CTrain line was able to go as far as Heritage Station from the south and 8th Street W Station from the northwest. With traffic lights still down in some areas of the core, Calgary Transit peace officers were dispatched to direct traffic along the Seventh Avenue corridor in the affected areas.


June 24, 2013

June 26, 2013 To help move more people into the downtown, Calgary Transit worked with Roads to install temporary bus-only lanes on northbound Macleod Trail from 61st Avenue S to City Hall, and on southbound Macleod Trail from 12th Avenue S to 61st Avenue S. This service began on Wednesday, June 26. The downtown customer service centre on Seventh Avenue also reopened to the public on June 26. BELOW: Work was done night and day to repair damage to the CTrain line.

100 metres of track near Erlton/Stampede station had to be fully rebuilt due flood damage.

RIGHT: More track repairs are undertaken by a Calgary Transit employee.

Thanks @calgarytransit for getting the train back into service so quickly. Very impressive and very much appreciated. ~ via Twitter

ABOVE: Repairs begin on the CTrain tracks near Erlton/Stampede station.

@calgarytransit Kudos! Great job getting transit back to normal so quickly! ~ via Twitter

LEFT: Calgary Transit employees bring water and snacks to flood recovery volunteers.


Service changes included 12 days of major network changes and six major changes to LRT terminals.

LEFT: Repairs under way at the Cemetery Hill tunnel.

ABOVE: A Calgary Transit employee inspects the track damage near Erlton/Stampede Station.

So thankful to the @calgarytransit workers who got the LRT up and running again. ~ via Twitter

LEFT: Mayor Nenshi thanks employees for their hard work to repair the CTrain line.

On Thursday, June 27, Centre Street Station reopened, allowing customers better access into the downtown and easier access to the B201 CTrain replacement shuttle to the south. Landline phone service started working, and with it, the Call Centre phone number was back in full service, as well as some help phones. Buses that were relocated to Spring Gardens Garage returned to Victoria Park Garage after the Thursday afternoon peak period.

June 28, 2013 By Friday, June 28, all bus routes were back in service, although some detours remained. CTrain service from City Hall to Heritage stations heading south was still on hold. Calgary Transit made a public commitment to have the south CTrain line back in service in time for the 2013 Calgary Stampede, and with everyone’s hard work, this looked possible. On the same day, volunteer Calgary Transit staff boarded a bus lead by Director Doug Morgan and his family to visit some of the hardest hit areas. Calgary Transit service lane staff donated funds from recycled bottles and cans left on buses and trains to purchase bottled water and healthy snacks for volunteer workers involved in the recovery.

July 3, 2013 On Wednesday, July 3, two days before Stampede officially began, Calgary Transit was pleased to announce the complete reopening of the 201 CTrain line. An event was held that day and Mayor Naheed Nenshi drove the train to Erlton/Stampede Station to thank all Calgary Transit staff for their commitment to restoring transit service in our city.


June 27, 2013



RIGHT: Bus operators ready to roll out and get back to full service.


Conclusion Some work remains to return all of Calgary Transit’s service and facilities to the state they were in prior to the flood. However, thanks to the dedication and flexibility of all Calgary Transit employees and partners, as well as their families and all Calgarians, service was provided to thousands of customers who needed it. Although service was adjusted frequently due to rapidly changing conditions, this was communicated quickly and initiative was taken to tweak detours to ensure the best service for our customers. Transit operators exhibited outstanding commitment and flexibility to provide adjusted service and to maintain scheduled service to areas of the city unaffected by the flood, even if/when their work schedules were adjusted and/or they had to report to different workplaces.

BELOW: Buses ready to return to the Victoria Park Garage.

The ctrain line is fixed. And that, in case you don’t realize it, is incredibly impressive. @calgarytransit ~ via Twitter

@calgarytransit Congratulations! Unbelievable, given the destruction! Thanks for all you do to keep us moving! ~ via Twitter 2013-1534

Onward/ Calgary Transit provides a safe, accessible, customer-focused public transit service.

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Calgary Transit and the June 2013 Flood  

An overview of how the flood impacted Calgary Transit and how we responded.

Calgary Transit and the June 2013 Flood  

An overview of how the flood impacted Calgary Transit and how we responded.