Two of our new West Coast Express (WCE) train cars are now here!
We have seven of these train cars on order for 2010, thanks to investment from the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, as well as our own funding. The two new cars are the first to arrive, and were unveiled to the media today at the VIA Rail station near Main Street. (WCE cars are maintained at VIA Rail—we’re also currently investing in upgrades to their maintenance facilities.)
The new arrivals bump the West Coast Express fleet to 44 passenger cars, up from the current 37. That’s room for 2,000 riders a day, which translates into a 20 per cent increase in capacity—West Coast Express currently carries a daily average of 10,500 today, more than double its initial ridership of 5,000 a day.
The two cars here are currently undergoing testing, and we expect to put them into service in early September. The rest of the cars are still being made by Bombardier in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and are slated to arrive by the end of October and start service by the end of the year.
The new cars have some new improvements, including a new paint scheme (it’s blue instead of purple now), a revised bike area that provides more seating, and automatic doors to let you pass between train cars!
Check out this press release for more information, and see the rest of this post for more photos and video!
I shot the video above to give you a rough idea of how the automatic doors work. Press the button to open the first door, and the second one will open afterward via motion sensor!
As well, this year marks West Coast Express’s fifteenth anniversary—they’ve been in service since November 1, 1995! Stay tuned for more info on how WCE is celebrating and how you can be involved :)