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West Coast Express

West Coast Express
The West Coast Express at Waterfront Station.
Overview
Owner TransLink
(through West Coast Express, Ltd.)
Locale Lower Mainland, British Columbia, Canada
Transit type Commuter Rail
Number of lines 1
Number of stations 8
Daily ridership 10,600 (Q4 2014)[1]
Operation
Began operation November 1, 1995[2]
Operator(s) Bombardier Transportation[3]
Reporting marks WCE
Technical
System length 69 km (43 mi)[2]
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
System map
Travel
time
0:00 Waterfront
0:25 Port Moody
0:30 Coquitlam Central
0:36 Port Coquitlam
0:46 Pitt Meadows
0:50 Maple Meadows
0:56 Port Haney
Albion (2011)
1:13 Mission City

West Coast Express (reporting mark BCVX) is the only interregional commuter railway in British Columbia, Canada. Opened in 1995, it links Mission, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Port Moody with Waterfront Station in Downtown Vancouver, where it interchanges with SkyTrain rapid transit, SeaBus and other public transportation services.

Contents

  • Operation 1
  • Map 2
  • Fares 3
  • Fleet 4
  • Future 5
  • Accident 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Operation

The West Coast Express operates from Monday to Friday excluding holidays, with five trains per day running from Mission to Vancouver in the morning peak hours and returning to Mission in the evening peak. A one-way trip takes 75 minutes, which is faster and more reliable than driving to Downtown Vancouver. In addition, there are two buses (called the "TrainBus") which operate to Vancouver in the morning (after all the trains depart) and five operating eastbound (two mid-day, and three after all trains leave Vancouver eastbound), stopping just at West Coast Express stations. The commuter railway is owned by TransLink, the transportation authority of the Metro Vancouver region, and a member of Canadian Urban Transit Association. The South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service, as well as Transit Security Officers conduct random fare inspections within the Fare Paid Zone at stations and on board trains. Persons caught without valid fare are removed from the train and/or fined $173. Contracted Commissionaires provide Station Attendant services and a security presence, even checking fares on occasion at stations. Commissionaires do not conduct enforcement. Enforcement of fares and other regulations is conducted by the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service and Transit Security.

Map

Passengers wait to load at Coquitlam Central Station
A map of the West Coast Express line
The map is scaled relative to the shorter SkyTrain and SeaBus services.

Fares

West Coast Express "TrainBuses"

From Waterfront Station, effective June 8, 2015:[4]

Destination (for Adult Fare) Zone 3:
Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam
Zone 4:
Pitt Meadows, Maple Meadows, Port Haney
Zone 5:
Mission City
One-Way (Cash) $7.25 $9.00 $12.25
One-Way (Stored Value) $6.05 $7.45 $10.25
Return Pass $13.00 $16.25 $22.00
Monthly Pass $201.00 $244.00 $335.75

The Compass Card commenced use on West Coast Express on June 8, 2015, along with new card vending machines. Existing paper fares were honored until July 24, 2015.[4]

West Coast Express fares can also be used as a three-zone fare on other TransLink services. A one-way fare expires 180 minutes (three hours) from the time of purchase, all other fares work as an all-day pass. See TransLink Fares for more information on the pricing of the West Coast Express' fare.

Fleet

Bi-level Coaches at Waterfront Station
Type Manufacturer Model Units Notes
Locomotive Electro-Motive Diesel F59PHI 5
Locomotive Motive Power MP36PH-3C 1 Backup unit, arrived December 2006
Rail Coach Bombardier BiLevel Coach VI 44 Handicapped/disabled access 37 original units, 7 added in 2010
Bus Prevost Le Mirage XL 2 Operated as the "TrainBus"

Handicapped/disabled access Denotes wheelchair access

Each train consists of a General Motors/ EMD F59PHI diesel-electric locomotive and between five and ten Bombardier BiLevel passenger carriages. West Coast Express also operates a MPI MP36PH-3C for backup. The total fleet of passenger coaches is 44.[5] Each passenger carriage has a seating capacity of 144 people. Like many commuter railways, West Coast Express uses push-pull operation; instead of moving the locomotive to the other end of the train, it is simply controlled remotely from a second cab in the last passenger carriage, allowing the train to run 'backwards'; this occurs during mornings, as during afternoons the locomotive is at the front of train. Passenger amenities include washrooms, a cappuccino bar, power outlets, wheelchair accessibility and space for bicycles.

The carriages and locomotives are maintained by Via Rail and, under the contract, operated by the Bombardier Transportation over tracks which belong to the Canadian Pacific Railway. Bombardier began a contract to operate the trains for the next five years, commencing on May 5, 2014.[3] After May 2014, Track time is negotiated between Translink and the CPR, which balances the use by the West Coast Express with its mainstay freight operation.[6]

Future

TransLink's 2009 Capital Plan included upgrades to the Waterfront and Mission stations, as well as platform extensions to handle longer trains.[7] In the 2009 10-Year Plan TransLink also proposed a number of other improvements to West Coast Express service,[8] some of the key improvements being:

The 2012 Base Plan and Outlook commits to maintaining the 2011 service levels to 2014. TransLink has been criticized for the low ridership of the West Coast Express and supports its expansion.[9]

"A 20-year service agreement between TransLink and the Canadian Pacific Railroad to operate the West Coast Express expired in 2015. Negotiations for renewal were initiated within the time period covered by this Base Plan. A fuller understanding of the future interaction of the service with the Evergreen Line is required, as well as an understanding of the overall market for long distance travel in the corridor. Accordingly, TransLink initiated the development of a West Coast Express Strategy in 2011 to consult with stakeholders and examine the issues. Completion of the strategy is expected in 2012, with subsequent implementation work expected to identify appropriate future service and infrastructure requirements."[10]

The Evergreen Line will connect to the West Coast Express at the Port Moody Station.[11]

A proposal in the 2009 10-Year Plan for a new station in Albion did not appear in the 2012 10-Year Plan. Plans for a new station in northern Burnaby have been indefinitely scrapped. Such a station would have allowed students who live in the eastern suburbs to get to Simon Fraser University.

Accident

On Monday, July 18, 2011, at just after 7:10am, a westbound West Coast Express collided with a person on the tracks at Coquitlam Central Station. Police confirmed that the death was not suspicious.[12] According to Translink, this is the first time in the train's 16 year operation that someone has been hit at Coquitlam Central.[13]

References

  1. ^ "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter and End-of-Year 2014" (pdf).  
  2. ^ a b "Happy 15th birthday, West Coast Express!".  
  3. ^ a b "Bombardier to manage train operations in British Columbia". Railway-Technology.com. December 24, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2014. Bombardier Transportation has been awarded a C$17m ($16m) contract to provide train operations for TransLink's West Coast Express commuter rail system in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia (BC), Canada. 
  4. ^ a b "West Coast Express Fares".  
  5. ^ "New West Coast Express Cars Roll Into Town".  
  6. ^ "All aboard the West Coast Express (there’s extra trips for the Olympics)!". The Buzzer Blog.  
  7. ^ TransLink’s 2009 Budget and Capital Plan to maintain transportation expansion
  8. ^ 2009 10-Year Plan
  9. ^ Phil Melnychuk (September 19, 2011). "TransLink supports West Coast Express expansion". Maple Ridge News. Retrieved February 6, 2012. 
  10. ^ 2012 Base Plan and Outlook
  11. ^ Evergreen Line Website, Route and Stations
  12. ^ Police Investigate Fatal Train Crash - Coquitlam Now
  13. ^ Man Killed at Coquitlam Train Station - BC Local News

External links

  • West Coast Express official site
  • TransLink's official site
  • Rail pictures
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