Canada, B.C. invest to refurbish West Coast Express

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The safety and well-being of Canadians are top priorities of the governments of Canada and British Columbia.

Investments in public transit during this extraordinary time help support regional economies and make communities more inclusive and resilient.

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change; Ron McKinnon, MP for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam; Rob Fleming, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure; George Heyman, B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy; Bowinn Ma, B.C.’s Minister of State for Infrastructure, alongside Gigi Chen-Kuo, interim CEO of TransLink, announced funding for the refurbishment of seven West Coast Express locomotives.

The project includes refurbishing the engines of six of the seven locomotives to extend their lifespan by a projected 15 years. In addition, all head end power units, which provide heat and lighting to the passenger cars, will be replaced to reduce emissions, improve energy efficiency and allow operation of longer trains.

“The West Coast Express is an important transit line for the people of B.C. Federal funding will help to reduce, reuse and recycle by refurbishing older locomotives to give them a new lease on life,” McKenna said. “Cutting emissions from the transportation sector is vital to meeting Canada’s climate goals, and the Government of Canada’s support for cleaner, more climate-resilient rail options will play a significant role. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities.”

To ensure there is no disruption in service, locomotives will be refurbished one at a time, with each locomotive tested, commissioned and returned to service before work starts on the next locomotive.

“We’re committed to building B.C. back better by continuing to invest in transportation projects that create jobs, give people more options to get to where they need to go and help get people out of their cars and onto public, low-carbon commuter trains,” Fleming said.

The Government of Canada is investing $10.2 million in this project through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream (PTIS) of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The Government of British Columbia is contributing $ 9.2 million and TransLink is contributing $1.5 million for this project.


Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change ­—

“Investing in clean, reliable and comfortable public transit is an important part of our plan to create healthier communities here in the Lower Mainland and across the country. Today’s announcement is a great example of the type of strong collaboration that we need to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 in a way that achieves Canadians’ environmental goals and economic hopes.”

Ron McKinnon, MP for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam 

“Public transit is fundamental infrastructure that builds inclusive, connected and environmentally sustainable communities.  These locomotive upgrades will ensure local residents here in the Greater Vancouver area have access to safe, clean and reliable transit for years to come.”

George Heyman, B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Minister responsible for TransLink 

“Our government is committed to supporting cleaner public transportation for all British Columbians to use affordably and conveniently. The measures we’re announcing today will enhance and refurbish an important commuter route for people with increased energy efficiency, greater emissions reductions, new heating and lighting systems, and an increased lifespan to provide reliable transportation years to come.”

Bowinn Ma, B.C.’s Minister of State for Infrastructure 

“We know that investing in B.C.’s infrastructure is vital, especially when it means we’re investing in more socially and environmentally responsible transportation options for British Columbians. By working together with partners like the Government of Canada and investing in existing infrastructure like the West Coast Express, we can keep people moving while we build longer-term plans for transit in the Lower Mainland.”

Gigi Chen-Kuo, Interim CEO of TransLink 

“The West Coast Express has been moving thousands of Metro Vancouver transit users every weekday for over 25 years, and we are pleased to welcome this investment into the service’s future. Adding a new locomotive and refurbishing our current locomotive engines will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a more reliable experience for our customers getting to and from work or school each day. Our current locomotive engines are reaching the end of their lifespan, and this investment allows us to continue providing this important service for residents of Mission, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows and the Tri-Cities for years to come.”

Quick Facts:

  • West Coast Express is a commuter rail service that runs 68 kilometres between Mission and Vancouver.  Prior to COVID-19, up to 11,000 people used the commuter service every day.
  • Through the Investing in Canada Plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
  • The Government of Canada has invested $4.3 billion in 544 infrastructure projects throughout B.C. under the Investing in Canada plan.

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