West Coast Express gets seven trains refurbished

Photo: TransLink.ca

The West Coast Express is getting an upgrade, announced Catherine McKenna, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Wednesday.

Seven trains will be refurbished with more energy efficient engines, which will extend their life by 15 years and boost capacity.

The federal government is chipping in half of the $20.4 million bill for the upgrades. The provincial government will provide $9 million and TransLink will pick up the remaining $1.4 million.

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming did not elaborate on what the increased capacity will be.

The West Coast Express is 25 years old and serves about 2.6 million annual boardings along its 68-kilometre line from Downtown Vancouver to Mission.

TransLink interim-CEO Gigi Chen-Kuo said ridership on public transportation is 40% of levels of 2019 but is confident numbers will return after the pandemic.