Saturday marks the 10-year anniversary of the opening of the Canada Line, which carried its first passengers on Aug. 17, 2009.

Opened ahead of schedule and months before the 2010 Winter Olympics, the line has been "a real success story" from the start, said TransLink spokesperson Ben Murphy.

"Back when it was being contemplated, there were some skeptics," Murphy said. "Some people didn't think it was going to achieve the ridership it achieved, but really from day one we saw some pretty incredible figures."

There were 36 million boardings in the Canada Line's first year of operation, a number that has grown steadily, reaching 48 million this year.

The line's average weekday ridership is 147,000, a roughly five per cent increase from last year, Murphy said. He said growth has been especially strong at YVR Airport Station, where there were three million boardings last year, an increase of 14 per cent.

All of that growth has led to significant overcrowding during rush hour, something TransLink hopes will be alleviated with the arrival of 12 new trains.

"Right now during the peak, you're seeing trains operate roughly every three minutes or so," Murphy said. "Once the new trains are fully in service at their peak, that'll come down to every two minutes or so. So, you're going to see faster service, and we think that'll alleviate some of those overcrowding issues as well."

The new trains will be fully operational by the beginning of next year, he said. They will add about 25 per cent capacity, carrying an additional 1,400 people per hour during rush hour.

Since it opened, the Canada Line has also spurred on some six million square feet of new construction along the Cambie Street corridor, Murphy said.