West Coast Express

West Coast Express
The West Coast Express (reporting mark WCE) is a commuter railway serving the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, Canada. 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.
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.
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 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. The South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service 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 enforcement. Enforcement of fares and other regulations is conducted by the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service and Transit Security.
Supplementary bus service
Rail service is supplemented by TransLink's bus No. 701, 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. 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 60–70 minutes.
Prior services
Until December 30, 2016, the West Coast Express ran coach-style "TrainBus" service, which provided additional service when trains were not running. The TrainBus 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. This service was replaced by bus No. 701.
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
Millennium Line
R3                                  Lougheed Hwy
Moody Centre Port Moody Zone 3 2016
Waterfront Vancouver Zone 1 1995
Expo Line
Canada Line
R5 Hastings St
  • Represents a significant ridership decrease from prior years owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public transport. For comparison, in 2019 average weekday boardings were 10,400.
  • Represents a significant ridership decrease from prior years owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public transport. For comparison, in 2019 annual boardings were 2,607,000.
  • 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.
From Waterfront station, effective July 1, 2018:
 (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)                     $7.45       $9.20 $12.45
One-way (stored value) $6.25          $7.65           $10.40
Return pass                           $13.50       $16.75      $22.50
Monthly pass                        $205.00 $248.00 $339.75
Use of the Compass Card on the West Coast Express began on June 8, 2015, along with new card vending machines. Existing paper fares were honoured until July 24, 2015.
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.
Rolling stock
Type                                         Manufacturer                         Model                   Units         Notes
Locomotive Electro-Motive Diesel F59PHI                  5                Nos. 901–905
Locomotive Motive Power Industries MP36PH-3C         1                 No. 906; Backup unit, arrived December 2006
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 for backup. The total fleet of passenger coaches numbers 44. 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 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.
Future plans
TransLink's 2009 capital plan included upgrades to the Waterfront and Mission stations, and 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:
  • Upgrades to Port Haney station passenger drop-off
  • Park and Ride expansion at Maple Meadows statio
  • 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.
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.
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.
  • On July 18, 2011, at just after 7:10 am, a westbound West Coast Express train collided with a person on the tracks at Coquitlam Central station. Police confirmed that the death was not suspicious. According to TransLink, this was the first time in the train's 16-year operation that someone had been hit at Coquitlam Central.
  • On January 23, 2018, train No. 4 was involved in a police incident east of the Second Narrows Bridge. This caused the cancellation of train No. 5, and kept many passengers on train No. 4 stranded for hours.
West Coast Express
Owner:  TransLink
                (West Coast Express, Ltd.)
Locale:  Lower Mainland, British Columbia, Canada
Transit type: Commuter rail
Number of lines:  1
Number of stations:  8 (list of stations)
Daily ridership: 2,000 (2020)
Annual ridership:  800,000 (2020)
Began operation:  November 1, 1995
Operator(s):    Bombardier Transportation
Reporting marks:  WCE
System length:  69 km (43 mi)
Track gauge:  4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
System map
0:00 Waterfront
Hwy 1
0:25 Moody Centre
0:30 Coquitlam Central
0:36 Port Coquitlam
Pitt River
0:46 Pitt Meadows
0:50 Maple Meadows
0:56 Port Haney
1:13 Mission City
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