West Coast Express

Route map:
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West Coast Express
West Coast Express train at Waterfront station, set to depart towards Mission
(West Coast Express, Ltd.)
LocaleLower Mainland, British Columbia, Canada
Stations8 (list of stations)
WebsiteOfficial website
TypeCommuter rail
Daily ridership5,200 (weekdays, Q2 2023)[1]
Ridership885,000 (2022)[2]
OpenedNovember 1, 1995; 27 years ago (1995-11-01)[3]
Line length69 km (43 mi)
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Operating speed70 mph (110 km/h) (top)
Route map

Moody Centre
Coquitlam Central
Port Coquitlam
Pitt Meadows
Maple Meadows
Port Haney
Mission City

The West Coast Express (reporting mark WCE) is a commuter railway serving the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, Canada. It is owned and operated by the region's transit authority, TransLink. Opened in 1995, it provides a link between Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District and is the only commuter railway in Western Canada. In 2022, the system had a ridership of 885,000, or about 5,200 per weekday as of the second quarter of 2023.

Service is provided between Downtown Vancouver and the municipalities of Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and Mission. Along its route, several stations interchange with the SkyTrain metropolitan rail system as well as local bus services. Additionally, Waterfront station in Downtown Vancouver provides a connection to the SeaBus passenger ferry.


Passengers waiting to board at Coquitlam Central station

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 (5:25 am – 7:25 am) and returning to Mission in the evening peak (3:50 pm – 6:20 pm).[4] A one-way trip takes 75 minutes, which is faster than driving to Downtown Vancouver.

The commuter railway is owned by TransLink, the transportation authority of the Metro Vancouver region, and a member of the Canadian Urban Transit Association. Metro Vancouver Transit Police officers and transit security officers conduct random fare inspections within the Fare Paid Zones at stations and on board trains. People caught without valid fare are removed from the train and may be fined $173. Contracted commissionaires provide station attendant services and a security presence, even checking fares on occasion at stations. Commissionaires do not conduct fare enforcement.

Supplementary bus service[edit]

Rail service is supplemented by TransLink's 701 bus route, which runs four eastbound and four westbound trips per weekday—one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and two in the evening—between Coquitlam Central station and Mission City station.[5][6] As with the West Coast Express itself, this bus service does not run on weekends and holidays. TransLink's regular one-zone adult/concession fare rates apply to these trips. The eastbound bus makes regular stops until it reaches Haney Place Exchange in Maple Ridge and then runs non-stop for about 26 minutes to Mission City station. This process is reversed for westbound buses. The entire one-way route is completed in 60 to 70 minutes.

Prior services[edit]

"TrainBuses" at Waterfront station

Until 30 December 2016, the West Coast Express ran coach-style "TrainBus" service, which provided additional service when trains were not running. The TrainBus service provided two buses, one from Port Haney station in Maple Ridge and one from Mission City station, to Vancouver in the morning (after all westbound trains had departed) and five buses eastbound (two mid-day, and three after all eastbound trains had departed Waterfront), three of which extended to Mission, stopping only at West Coast Express stations.[7] This service was replaced by the 701 bus service.


TransLink major network lines as of late 2016
TransLink major network lines as of late 2016


  •       West Coast Express route and stops
  •       Expo Line (runs from Waterfront to King George with a branch northeast after Columbia to Production Way–University)
  •            Millennium Line (runs from VCC–Clark to Lafarge Lake–Douglas, interlined with the Expo Line from Production Way–University to Lougheed Town Centre)
  •       SeaBus
  •       Canada Line


Station Municipality Zone Year Connection(s)
Mission City Mission Zone 5 1995 CFV buses
Port Haney Maple Ridge Zone 4 1995
Maple Meadows Maple Ridge Zone 4 1995
Pitt Meadows Pitt Meadows Zone 4 1995
Port Coquitlam Port Coquitlam Zone 3 1995
Coquitlam Central Coquitlam Zone 3 1995
Moody Centre Port Moody Zone 3 2016[a] Millennium Line
Waterfront Vancouver Zone 1 1995


West Coast Express ridership by year
Year 2016[8] 2017[9] 2018[10] 2019[11] 2020[12]
Trips (millions) 2.5 2.3 2.5 2.6 0.8[b]
TransLink ridership by mode, 2020[13]
Mode Trips % of total

74,527,500 34.32

West Coast Express
790,500 0.36

2,305,800 1.06

139,514,100 64.25
Total 217,137,900[b] 100.00


Use of the Compass Card on the West Coast Express began on 8 June 2015, along with new card vending machines. Existing paper fares were honoured until 24 July 2015.[14]

West Coast Express fares can also be used as a three-zone fare on other TransLink services. A one-way fare expires 180 minutes 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' fares.

As of 1 July 2021, the lowest adult fare is $5.90 for one or two zones traveled excluding Waterfront station and $7.65 for three zones including Waterfront station. A discount is available for Compass Card users, who are also able to load return and monthly passes.[14]

Rolling stock[edit]

Bi-level coaches at Waterfront station
Type Manufacturer Model Units Notes
Locomotive Electro-Motive Diesel F59PHI 5 Nos. 901–905
Locomotive MotivePowerIndustries MP36PH-3C 1 No. 906; backup unit, arrived in December 2006.
Locomotive Electro-Motive Diesel F59PH 1 No. 907; backup unit, former GO Transit Locomotive 533, former Larry's Truck Electric 18533, arrived in May 2023.
Rail coach Bombardier BiLevel coach VI 44 Disabled access 37 original units, 7 added in 2010

Disabled access Denotes wheelchair access

Each train consists of a General Motors/ EMD F59PHI diesel-electric locomotive and between four and ten Bombardier BiLevel passenger coaches. The West Coast Express also operates an MPI MP36PH-3C and EMD F59PH for backup. The total fleet of passenger coaches numbers 44.[15] Each passenger carriage has a seating capacity of 144 people. Like many commuter railways, the West Coast Express uses push–pull operation; instead of moving the locomotive to the other end of the train, it is 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 coaches and locomotives are maintained by Via Rail and, under the contract, operated by 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 5 May 2014.[16] After May 2014, track time is negotiated between TransLink and the Canadian Pacific Railway, which balances the use by the West Coast Express with its mainstay freight operation.[17][18]

Future plans[edit]

TransLink's 2009 capital plan included upgrades to the Waterfront and Mission stations, and platform extensions to handle longer trains.[19] In the 2009 10-Year Plan, TransLink also proposed a number of other improvements to West Coast Express service,[20] some of the key improvements being:

The company committed 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.[21]

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.[22]

A proposal in the 2009 10-Year Plan for a new station in Albion did not appear in the 2012 ten-year plan. Plans for a new station in northern Burnaby to service Simon Fraser University have been indefinitely postponed.


  1. ^ The West Coast Express previously served Port Moody station, opened in 1995 along with the rest of the West Coast Express stations, in Port Moody. It was replaced in 2016 by Moody Centre station.
  2. ^ a b Represents a significant ridership decrease from prior years owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public transport.


  1. ^ "Transit Ridership Report Second Quarter 2023" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 13 September 2023. Retrieved 21 September 2023.
  2. ^ "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2022" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 1 March 2023. Retrieved 29 March 2023.
  3. ^ "Happy 15th birthday, West Coast Express!". The Buzzer. TransLink. 1 November 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  4. ^ "West Coast Express Schedules". TransLink. Archived from the original on 30 April 2023. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  5. ^ Coling, Adrienne (18 December 2016). "Bus Route Buzz: West Coast Express TrainBus – 701". The Buzzer blog. TransLink. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Route 701 Timetable" (PDF). TransLink. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  7. ^ "West Coast Express Schedule – TrainBus Service Update". TransLink. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  8. ^ "APTA 2016 Q4 Ridership Report" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  9. ^ "APTA 2017 Q4 Ridership Report" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  10. ^ "APTA 2018 Q4 Ridership Report" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  11. ^ "APTA 2019 Q4 Ridership Report" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  12. ^ "APTA 2020 Q4 Ridership Report" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  13. ^ "APTA 2020 Q4 Ridership Report" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 4 March 2021. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  14. ^ a b "West Coast Express Fares". TransLink. 2021. Retrieved 26 February 2022.
  15. ^ "New West Coast Express Cars Roll Into Town". TransLink. 26 August 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  16. ^ Admin (24 December 2013). "Bombardier to manage train operations in British Columbia". Railway Technology. Retrieved 1 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.
  17. ^ "All aboard the West Coast Express (there's extra trips for the Olympics)!". The Buzzer Blog. TransLink. 17 February 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
  18. ^ Judd, Amy (30 May 2018). "West Coast Express service not affected by CP Rail strike". Global news. Retrieved 10 July 2023.
  19. ^ TransLink's 2009 Budget and Capital Plan to maintain transportation expansion
  20. ^ 2009 10-Year Plan
  21. ^ Phil Melnychuk (19 September 2011). "TransLink supports West Coast Express expansion". Maple Ridge News. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
  22. ^ 2012 Base Plan and Outlook

External links[edit]

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