West Coast Express
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (June 2011)|
The West Coast Express at Waterfront Station.
(through West Coast Express, Ltd.)
|Locale||Lower Mainland, British Columbia, Canada|
|Transit type||Commuter Rail|
|Number of lines||1|
|Number of stations||8|
|Began operation||November 1, 1995|
|System length||69 km|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)|
West Coast Express (reporting mark WCE) 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.
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 can be 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.
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. 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 were originally maintained by Via Rail, and, under the contract, operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) over tracks which belong to the CPR. Bombardier Transportation began a contract to operate and maintain the trains for the next five years, commencing on May 5, 2014. 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.
- Purple represents the West Coast Express route and stops
- Dark blue represents the Expo Line
- Yellow represents the Millennium Line
- Light blue represents the SeaBus
- The Canada Line, which opened in August 2009, is not shown on the map, but runs between the Vancouver Airport and Richmond to Vancouver's Waterfront Station, where the West Coast Express arrives, along with the Seabus and other Skytrain lines.
West Coast Express fares
From Waterfront Station, effective January 1, 2013:
|Destination||Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam||Pitt Meadows, Maple Meadows, Port Haney||Mission City|
|Adult fare (one way)||$7.25||$9.00||$12.25|
|Adult fare (return)||$13.75||$17.00||$23.00|
|Adult fare (Weekly)||$60.25||$73.25||$101.50|
|Adult fare (28-day)||$201.00||$244.00||$335.75|
West Coast Express fares can also be used as a three-zone fare on other TransLink services. A one-way fare expires 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.
|Bombardier Transportation||Bi-level Coach VI||37|
|General Motors||F59PHI locomotives||5|
|Motive Power, Inc.||MP36PH-3C||1||Arrived Dec 2006|
Future of the West Coast Express
TransLink's 2009 Capital Plan included upgrades to the Waterfront and Mission stations, as well as platform extensions to handle longer trains. In the 2009 10-Year Plan TransLink also proposed a number of other improvements to West Coast Express service, some of the key improvements being:
In 2010 TransLink added 7 more Coaches. 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.
"The 20-year service agreement between TransLink and the Canadian Pacific Railroad to operate the West Coast Express expires in 2015. Negotiations for renewal will be 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."
A proposal in the 2009 10-Year Plan for a new station in Albion do 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.
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. According to Translink, this is the first time in the train's 16 year operation that someone has been hit at Coquitlam Central.
- West Coast Express: Facts and Figures 2008 Retrieved 8 December 2009
- "Bombardier to manage train operations in British Columbia". Railway Technology. 24 December 2013. Retrieved May 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."
- West Coast Express: Stations and Parking Information Retrieved 9 December 2009
- Translink: New West Coast Express Cars Roll Into Town Retrieved 10 December 2010
- "Bombardier wins bid to operate West Coast Express for next five years". Vancity Buzz. Retrieved May 2014. "The agreement is valued at approximately $17 million and includes train operations over the span of the next five years beginning in May 2014 after VIA Rail’s contract expires. Options for three additional five-year periods can also be exercised by Bombardier."
- "All aboard the West Coast Express (there’s extra trips for the Olympics)!". The Buzzer Blog. TransLink. February 17, 2010. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
- Current WCE Transit Fares
- TransLink’s 2009 Budget and Capital Plan to maintain transportation expansion
- 2009 10-Year Plan
- Phil Melnychuk (September 19, 2011). "TransLink supports West Coast Express expansion". Maple Ridge News. bclocalnews.com. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
- 2012 Base Plan and Outlook
- Evergreen Line Website, Route and Stations
- Police Investigate Fatal Train Crash - Coquitlam Now
- Man Killed at Coquitlam Train Station - BC Local News