NCTD Signs Bombardier to $43MM Contract for 11 New Railcars

Written by Andrew Corselli
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The paint scheme is still undecided, but this is the structure of the new cars. Photo via NCTD.

Bombardier Transportation has been awarded a $43 million contract by the North County Transit District (NCTD) for 11 new commuter rail cars for the COASTER service.

With the purchase of these rail cars, NCTD aims 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 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.

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.

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 aims to implement significantly increased frequencies that were approved for funding by the SANDAG Board of Directors 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.

“As we look to the future, NCTD will be in a position to continue moving forward, offering customers an outstanding riding experience and providing increased service along the rail line,” said Tony Kranz, NCTD Board Chair and Encinitas Councilmember. “With these two additional trainsets in the fleet, commuters will have a number of train runs throughout the day to meet their needs; and that really makes the decision to try transit an easy one.”

“SANDAG and NCTD are committed to improving the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor, which supports goods movement, commuters and our nation’s military,” said SANDAG Chair and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus. “Just last year, the SANDAG Board of Directors approved $58.8 million in funding for additional train sets to meet our goals of increased capacity, speed and safety.”

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