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.
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.
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. This 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.
Until December 30, 2016, 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.Purple represents the West Coast Express route and stops
Dark Blue represents the Expo Line
The Expo Line runs from Waterfront to King George (with a branch northeast after Columbia to Production Way–University)
Yellow represents the Millennium Line
The Millennium Line runs from VCC–Clark to Lougheed Town Centre, interlined with the Expo Line from Production Way–University to Lougheed Town Centre
Brown represents the SeaBus
Cyan represents the Canada Line
Green / Yellow represents the Evergreen Extension (Millennium Line) – opened December 2, 2016
From Waterfront Station, effective June 8, 2015:
Use of the Compass Card on 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.
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. 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 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. 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.
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 the Port Haney passenger drop-off
Maple Meadows Park and Ride expansion
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.
"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 10-Year Plan. Plans for a new station in northern Burnaby have been indefinitely postponed. Such a station would have allowed students who live in the eastern suburbs to take the train to get to Simon Fraser University.
On 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 was the first time in the train's 16-year operation that someone had been hit at Coquitlam Central.