Bombardier Transportation was awarded a contract by Oceanside, Calif.’s North County Transit District (NCTD) for 11 new commuter railcars for the COASTER service. With the purchase of these railcars, NCTD will be able to significantly increase service frequencies to 30-minute headways and begin state of good repair replacement of current legacy COASTER coaches and cab cars over the coming years.
The base order, valued at approximately $43 million, includes eight coaches and two cab cars to support the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) 2050 Revenue Constrained Regional Plan (Regional Plan) for increased service levels, as well as an additional cab car. NCTD also has the option to purchase up to 27 additional cars to support its ongoing state of good repair needs.
NCTD currently operates a fleet of seven locomotives and 28 Bombardier BiLevel cars on the San Diego Subdivision to support COASTER operations from Oceanside to downtown San Diego. Currently, COASTER rail service provides 22 regularly scheduled weekday trips and eight weekend trips. Headways between trains vary from 45 to 60 minutes during peak periods and more than 3.5 hours during the non-peak period.
With the addition of the expansion equipment, NCTD will be able to implement significantly increased frequencies that were approved for funding by the SANDAG board in September 2019. Peak period frequencies will be increased to 30-minute headways and non-peak period frequencies will be increased to 60-minute headways. This will result in 42 trains per day, nearly doubling current service.
The new cars will be built at Bombardier’s manufacturing site in Thunder Bay, Canada. Deliveries are scheduled to take place in the fall of 2022. After testing and commissioning, the cars will begin to enter service that winter.