Some upgrades could be made to the West Coast Express, but it will not be anytime in the foreseeable future.
TransLink issued a request for proposal earlier this month for a private contractor to perform a feasibility study on improving the maintenance and passenger facilities of the commuter rail service.
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Jill Drews, a spokesperson for TransLink, told Daily Hive Urbanized in an email that the study is intended to assess the state of good repair and customer experience improvement needs of West Coast Express.
In addition to the improvements to maintenance facilities, the study will establish design principles to enhance station safety, security, and accessibility. Station designs could also see a modernization and refresh.
The work completed by this forthcoming study will inform future capital projects or programs. It is anticipated the study will reach completion by the end of 2021.
Earlier this year, secure bike parkades were added to the Port Coquitlam and Maple Meadows stations.
The West Coast Express first launched in 1995 on tracks owned and leased from Canadian Pacific.
Despite the success of the service over the past 25 years, it has seen little service expansion and improvements. Due to the constraints of the lease, which prioritizes the railway’s freight business, TransLink can only operate five trains in the peak direction during weekdays.
During normalcy, the service records approximately 10,000 boardings each weekday. Each one-way trip along the 69-km-long, eight-station route between Waterfront and Mission takes about 75 minutes in optimal conditions.
Up until 2016, TransLink operated the West Coast Express TrainBus, which offered long-haul bus trips replicating the train route outside of the commuter rail service’s hours. The service was cancelled after the Millennium Line Evergreen Extension opened and established new bus connections to SkyTrain.
The provincial government recently launched a transportation and development study for the Fraser Valley that will consider a new commuter rail link from Metro Vancouver to the eastern end of the Lower Mainland.