West Coast Express locomotives to undergo refurbishment

March 18, 2021
The governments of Canada, British Columbia and TransLink will provide funds for the project that will expand the locomotives’ lifespan by 15 years.

Seven locomotives on the West Coast Express will be refurbished under a project to be paid for by the governments of Canada, British Columbia and TransLink. The Metro Vancouver commuter rail service has been in service since 1995 and sees more than 2.6 million boardings annually.

"The West Coast Express is an important transit line for the people of B.C. Federal funding will help to reduce, reuse and recycle by refurbishing older locomotives to give them a new lease on life. Cutting emissions from the transportation sector is vital to meeting Canada's climate goals and the government of Canada's support for cleaner, more climate-resilient rail options will play a significant role. Canada's infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities," said Canada Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna.

The project includes refurbishing the engines of six of the seven locomotives to extend their lifespan by 15 years. In addition, all head end power units, which provide heat and lighting to the passenger cars, will be replaced to reduce emissions, improve energy efficiency and allow operation of longer trains.

The locomotives will be refurbished one at a time to ensure there is no disruption in service. Once work is complete, each locomotive will be tested, commissioned and returned to service before work starts on the next locomotive.

"The West Coast Express has been moving thousands of Metro Vancouver transit users every weekday for over 25 years and we are pleased to welcome this investment into the service's future. Refurbishing our locomotive engines will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a more reliable experience for our customers getting to and from work or school each day. Our current locomotive engines are nearing the end of their lifespan and this investment allows us to continue providing this important service for residents of Mission, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and the Tri-Cities for years to come,” said Interim CEO of TransLink Gigi Chen-Kuo.

The near C$21-million (US$16.95-million) project is being partially funded by the government of Canada, which is providing C$10.2 million (US$8.23 million) through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The balance of project cost is being covered by the province of British Columbia, which is contributing C$9.2 million (US$7.43 million) and TransLink, which is providing C$1.5 million (US$1.21 million) for the project.

"We know that investing in B.C.'s infrastructure is vital, especially when it means we're investing in more socially and environmentally responsible transportation options for British Columbians. By working together with partners like the government of Canada and investing in existing infrastructure like the West Coast Express, we can keep people moving while we build longer-term plans for transit in the lower mainland,” said BC’s Minister of State for Infrastructure Bowinn Ma.

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