07/17/2013 08:14 EDT | Updated 09/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Switch Problems Delay SkyTrain Service Once Again

Thousands of SkyTrain commuters were delayed for the second time this month because of a broken switch at New Westminster's Columbia Station.

TransLink says the station's switch is used 500 times a day because Columbia Station serves as a hub between the Millennium and Expo lines.

"This one is the most active switches in the entire system," said TransLink spokesman Derek Zabel.

"We do recognize that more wear and tear is going to occur on that switch. We try to keep regular maintenance, we try to stay on top of it, but anything mechanical, it can break down."

So far this year, TransLink says there have been 13 switch-related service disruptions, three more than the same period last year.

Zabel says TransLink will be stepping up maintenance to help prevent delays happening in the future, noting some sections of the system are nearly 30 years old.

Many passengers described chaos and expressed frustration this morning. Some were stuck on trains while others were stranded on crowded platforms for more than an hour.

Twitter user @majomo wrote, "Yay late for work. Awesome skytrain. Always that switch in Columbia station. Just fix it."

While @ToddMundle tried be patient: "Long waits at SkyTrain station this morn," he wrote. "Switch is out between Columbia and Scott Road stations #stayingpatient."

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