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Two new West Coast Express train cars are here!

Our two new West Coast Express train cars!

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 [1] for more information, and see the rest of this post for more photos and video!

[2]

Dignitaries for the event arrived on the train to the event. Left to right: federal Minister of Transport Chuck Strahl, provincial Minister of Transportation Shirley Bond, TransLink executive vice-president Doug Kelsey, Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender (who chairs the TransLink Mayors Council), and Steve Hall from Bombardier Transportation.

[3]

Each dignitary gave a short speech.

[4]

A shot of the new train car exterior. #401 and #402 are the new train car numbers, by the way.

[5]

The upper seating area. The train had that new car smell :)

[6]

The new bike area is right inside the car doorway. The bench seat flips up, and the yellow straps can be used to tie your bike down to the train.

[7]

Since the bike area has been revised, there's now four more seats available for passengers, visible in the foreground of this photograph. (They're in their own little booths.)

[8]

The new automatic doors in between train cars!

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!

[9]

Also, because I'm a dork, I took a bunch of photos and stitched them into a panorama in Photoshop. Click for a MUCH larger version.

[10]

Another shot of the train's exterior.

[11]

The sticker on the new train car!

Here's the media interviewing Ministers Strahl and Bond after the event.

Unrelated, but also of interest: the TV show Human Target was filming in the park right outside the VIA Rail station during the event. There were a ton of props and extras around pretending to be in San Francisco, so here's a Golden Gate cab!

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 :)