West Coast Express late on Friday morning

TransLink says riders should look at options to the train

Delays are plaguing West Coast Express.

Friday morning’s West Coast Express Train 1 was delayed again, this time by 30 minutes at Pitt Meadows heading into Vancouver. “Freight train has now cleared,” tweeted TransLink. Meanwhile, Train 2 was delayed seven minutes at Port Coquitlam station.

On Thursday, it was the cool weather that put commuters behind schedule.

Cool temperatures froze some switches along the CP Rail mainline into Vancouver in the morning, putting the West Coast Express Train 1 behind schedule by 40 minutes.

As well, the second train was delayed by 15 minutes, noted TransLink in a news release.

That had TransLink advising people that they may want to give up, at least for that day, on the service.

As a result, travellers may wish to arrange an alternate means of travel,” TransLink said in a Dec. 8 news release.

Then on the way back from Vancouver, Thursday afternoon, Train 1 was late by half hour coming into Mission, “due to freight blocking tracks,” while Train 2 was delayed by 15 minutes.

The delays follow dozens of other recent delays that have plagued the rush-hour commuter rail service that uses CP Rail tracks from Mission to Vancouver.

Last Friday, a commuter saw the irony in yet another delay.

In the week that the Evergreen SkyTrain line started in Coquitlam, West Coast Express users were delayed by another freight train, this one with a green container titled “Evergreen” parked outside the Port Coquitlam station.

“TransLink may be advertising the new Evergreen Line as “Evergreen means GO!”, but CP freight trains mean Stop for the West Coast Express on Friday, Dec. 2,” said the rider.

Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read is monitoring the delays and said Thursday that TransLink has been “very responsive to my concerns.

“TransLink has an agreement with CP Rail and we keep seeing these delays on the West Coast Express as a result of freight.”

Read said that Maple Ridge doesn’t have much in transit and relies on the West Coast Express. “It makes me really angry.

“We can absolutely expect that these trains are running on time.”

Read asked where the federal transportation minister needs to get involved. “They (CP) need to comply with the agreement and our citizens need to get to their destinations on time and that’s it.”

If there’s going to be continuing problems with West Coast Express, Maple Ridge needs other transit options, she added.

Read said that TransLink didn’t tell her that the TrainBus which follows the train route into Maple Ridge during off hours, is being cancelled, effective Dec. 30, now that SkyTrain Evergreen extension is open.

“They have acknowledged that there could have been better communication.”

CP Rail said at the end of November that it recognizes that the delays have been a “great inconvenience,” to commuters and that it’s “actively working on solutions to reduce delays.”












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