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.

West Coast Express
WCE Logo.png
WCE train no. 901 at Waterfront.jpg
West Coast Express train at Waterfront station set to depart towards Mission
(West Coast Express, Ltd.)
LocaleLower Mainland, British Columbia, Canada
Transit typeCommuter rail
Number of lines1
Number of stations8 (list of stations)
Daily ridership9,900 (Q4 2018)[1]
Began operationNovember 1, 1995[2]
Operator(s)Bombardier Transportation[3]
Reporting marksWCE
System length69 km (43 mi)[2]
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)

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 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 serviceEdit

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.[4][5] 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 servicesEdit

"TrainBuses" at Waterfront station

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.[6] This service was replaced by bus No. 701.



      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)
      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
  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.


From Waterfront station, effective July 1, 2018:[7]

Destination (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.[7]

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.


Bi-level coaches at Waterfront station
Type Manufacturer Model Units Notes
Locomotive Electro-Motive Diesel F59PHI 5 Nos. 901–905
Locomotive MotivePower MP36PH-3C 1 Nos. 906; Backup unit, arrived December 2006
Rail coach Bombardier BiLevel coach VI 44   37 original units, 7 added in 2010

  Denotes wheelchair access

Each train consists of a General Motors/ EMD F59PHI diesel-electric locomotive and between four and ten Bombardier BiLevel passenger carriages. The West Coast Express also operates an MPI MP36PH-3C for backup. The total fleet of passenger coaches is 44.[8] 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 carriages 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.[3] 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.[9]


TransLink's 2009 capital plan included upgrades to the Waterfront and Mission stations, and platform extensions to handle longer trains.[10] In the 2009 10-Year Plan, TransLink also proposed a number of other improvements to West Coast Express service,[11] 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.[12]

"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."[13]

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.[14] According to TransLink, this was the first time in the train's 16-year operation that someone had been hit at Coquitlam Central.[15]

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.[16]


  1. ^ "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter and End-of-Year 2018" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association (APTA). March 5, 2018. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Happy 15th birthday, West Coast Express!". The Buzzer. TransLink. November 1, 2010. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Bombardier to manage train operations in British Columbia". Railway-Technology.com. December 24, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 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.
  4. ^ Coling, Adrienne (December 18, 2016). "Bus Route Buzz: West Coast Express TrainBus – 701". The Buzzer blog. TransLink. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  5. ^ "Route 701 Timetable" (PDF). TransLink. December 19, 2016. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  6. ^ "West Coast Express Schedule – TrainBus Service Update". TransLink. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  7. ^ a b "West Coast Express Fares". TransLink. 2019. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  8. ^ "New West Coast Express Cars Roll Into Town". TransLink. August 26, 2010. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  9. ^ "All aboard the West Coast Express (there's extra trips for the Olympics)!". The Buzzer Blog. TransLink. February 17, 2010. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  10. ^ TransLink's 2009 Budget and Capital Plan to maintain transportation expansion
  11. ^ 2009 10-Year Plan
  12. ^ Phil Melnychuk (September 19, 2011). "TransLink supports West Coast Express expansion". Maple Ridge News. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  13. ^ 2012 Base Plan and Outlook
  14. ^ Police Investigate Fatal Train Crash – Coquitlam Now
  15. ^ Man Killed at Coquitlam Train Station – BC Local News
  16. ^ "West Coast Express passengers stranded for hours on evening commute". CBC News. January 23, 2018. Retrieved March 3, 2018.

External linksEdit

Route map:

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