OCEANSIDE–The North County Transit District, with the support of regional transportation partners, celebrated the service rollout of five new, state-of-the-art Siemens locomotives and several renovated Coaster passenger cars.
Tony Kranz, North County Transit District Board Chair and City of Encinitas Deputy Mayor, U.S. Congressman Mike Levin, Catherine Blakespear, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Board Chair and City of Encinitas Mayor, and Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors, on behalf of the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District Board, commemorated this milestone with a virtual audience of local elected officials, key stakeholders, and leaders in regional transportation.
“Today’s launch of the new Coaster locomotives and overhauled passenger cars underscores North County Transit District’s commitment to its mission to deliver safe, convenient, reliable, and user-friendly public transportation services. This roll out is a huge step in improving Coaster services,” said Board Chair Kranz. “The new Coaster locomotives will increase service reliability, improve the rider experience, and are more environmentally friendly.”
The overhauled Coaster coach and cab cars will be painted with a new color scheme, and will be equipped with new seating upholstery, new carpet, upgraded LED lighting, and charging amenities at some seats. North County Transit District captured the process of overhauling the first several Coaster cars in a short video, which was shared at the event and can be downloaded here.
Funding for the five new replacement locomotives launched today came from a $10 million grant from the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District Carl Moyer Program, along with approximately $46.6 million from the State of California Senate Bill 1. North County Transit District appreciates the collaboration and funding received from the APCD and the California State Transportation Agency to support the purchase of the new locomotives. Funding for the overhaul of the Coaster cars is provided from federal, state, and local sources.
In addition to the five replacement locomotives and overhaul of Coaster coach and cab cars, North County Transit District will be receiving two replacement locomotives, two expansion locomotives, ten expansion bi-level passenger coaches, and one replacement rail cab to support state of good repair needs and regional plans to increase train frequencies from 22 to 42 trains per average weekday over the next three to five years. The funding for the expansion equipment is being provided by SANDAG.
“SANDAG has been looking forward to celebrating this day alongside the North County Transit District and other key stakeholders,” said SANDAG Chair Blakespear. “This event starts the clock on implementing new and improved Coaster services, consistent with SANDAG’s 5 Big Moves vision to provide high quality public transportation. SANDAG is proud to have helped North County Transit District leverage their investment into the Coaster by providing $58.8 million toward an additional two new trainsets, supporting the region’s complete corridors strategy to provide competitive travel choices to support regional mobility and meet our state-mandated greenhouse gas emissions goals.”
North County Transit District is advancing a strategic five-year plan to implement low- and zero-emissions technologies, introduce new and improved services and technologies, foster economic growth, support regional housing needs, and modernize infrastructure. This plan includes purchasing new vehicles for the rail and bus fleets, executing agreements to support the redevelopment of property owned by North County Transit District, and enhancing the customer experience by leveraging new technology, such as a new fare system and improved real-time information, and striving for zero operating delays.