Coaster (commuter rail)

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COASTER
COASTER logo.svg
COASTER Trainset at Cardiff-by-the-Sea.jpg
A Coaster train near Encinitas, March 2021.
Overview
Service type Commuter rail
StatusOperational
Locale San Diego County, California, United States
First serviceFebruary 27, 1995; 26 years ago (February 27, 1995)
Current operator(s) Bombardier Transportation
Former operator(s) Amtrak (1995-2005)
TransitAmerica (2006-2015)
Ridership5,600 (ave. weekday, 2012) [1]
Annual ridership1.6 million (2012) [1]
Website www.gonctd.com/coaster
Route
Start Oceanside Transit Center
Stops8 [1]
End San Diego
Distance travelled41 mi (66 km) [1]
Average journey time1 hour 5 minutes [2]
Train number(s)630-699 [3]
Line(s) used Surf Line
Technical
Rolling stock7 locomotives
28 passenger cars in service [4]
4 locomotives on order
11 passenger cars on order [5]
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
Operating speed90 mph (140 km/h) (top) [6]
37.8 mph (61 km/h) (average)
Track owner(s) San Diego Association of Governments and North County Transit District
Route map
Maintenance facility
Oceanside Transit Center
Sprinter San Diego.png Metrolink (California) Amtrak
Carlsbad Village
Carlsbad Poinsettia
Encinitas
Solana Beach
Amtrak
Zone 1
Zone 2
Sorrento Valley
Zone 2
Zone 3
Old Town San Diego
MTS Trolley icon.svg Amtrak
San Diego
MTS Trolley icon.svg Amtrak
Storage yard

Disabled access All stations are accessible

Coaster (stylized as COASTER) ( reporting mark NCTC) is a commuter rail service that operates in the central and northern coastal regions of San Diego County, California, United States. Bombardier Transportation currently operates the service on contract with the Coaster's owner, the North County Transit District (NCTD). The 41-mile (66 km) commuter rail line features eight stops, with a travel time ranging to an hour and five minutes end-to-end. [7] The Coaster first entered service on February 27, 1995, and has since grown in ridership and capacity; the service now operates primarily during weekday peak periods, with additional weekend and holiday service. [8]

History

The North San Diego County Transit Development Board was created in 1975 to consolidate and improve transit in northern San Diego County. Planning began for a San Diego–Oceanside commuter rail line, then called Coast Express Rail, in 1982. [9] Funding for right-of-way acquisition and construction costs came from TransNet, a 1987 measure that imposed a 0.5% sales tax on San Diego County residents for transportation projects. [9] The Board established the San Diego Northern Railway Corporation (SDNR) - a nonprofit operating subsidiary - in 1994. [9] SDNR purchased the 41 miles (66 km) of the Surf Line within San Diego County plus the 22-mile (35 km) Escondido Branch (later used for the SPRINTER) from the Santa Fe Railway that year.[ citation needed]

Coaster service began on February 27, 1995. [9] NCTD originally contracted Amtrak to provide personnel for Coaster trains. [10] In July 2006, TransitAmerica Services took over the day-to-day operation of the commuter train, based on a five-year, $45 million contract with NCTD. [10] [11] In 2016, Bombardier Transportation replaced TransitAmerica as Coaster's operator. [12] In December 2018, NCTD achieved full implementation of positive train control along the entire Coaster route, making it one of only four railroads in the United States to achieve full implementation of this technology without needing an extension beyond 2018. [13]

Future

A Coaster train passes over a new concrete bridge (as part of a bridge replacement project) near the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

San Diego County voters extended the TransNet sales tax through 2038, which includes funding for rail track upgrades. By the early 2010s, numerous improvements such as added double track and bridge replacements were in various stages of construction and design. [14] As part of the broader North Coast Corridor project, approximately $1 billion is planned to be spent on new segments of double track between San Diego and Orange County. [15]

A northward extension to Camp Pendleton was proposed in 2011 [9] [16] Limited-use stations at the San Diego Convention Center and the Del Mar Racetrack for use during major events have also been proposed. [17] [18]

Service

More than 20 Coaster trains run on weekdays, [19] with additional service on the weekends. [20] As of the April 3, 2017 schedule, Coaster also added Friday Night service with trains running until a quarter after midnight. More weekend services operate during summer months and when there are special events, such as home games for the San Diego Padres. As of March 23, 2020, all weekend trains and some weekday trains are suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic; however, weekend service was reinstated in 2021.

Stations

Coaster route map (with other commuter lines included). This does not show routes of the San Diego Trolley.
Zone Location Station [21] Connections
1 Oceanside Oceanside Transit Center Amtrak: Pacific Surfliner
North County Transit District: Sprinter
Metrolink: Orange County Line, Inland Empire-Orange County Line
NCTD Breeze: 101, 302, 303, 313, 318, 392, 395
Riverside Transit Agency: 202
Carlsbad Carlsbad Village NCTD Breeze: 101, 315, 325
Carlsbad Poinsettia NCTD Breeze: 444, 445
Encinitas Encinitas NCTD Breeze: 101, 304, 309
Solana Beach Solana Beach Amtrak: Pacific Surfliner
NCTD Breeze: 101
2 San Diego Sorrento Valley Metropolitan Transit System: 972, 973, 978, 979
3 Old Town Transit Center Amtrak: Pacific Surfliner
San Diego Trolley: Green Line
Metropolitan Transit System: 8, 9, 10, 28, 30, 35, 44, 83, 84, 88, 105, 150
Santa Fe Depot Amtrak: Pacific Surfliner
San Diego Trolley: Green Line, Blue Line (at America Plaza)
Metropolitan Transit System: 83, Rapid 215, Rapid 225, Rapid 235, Rapid Express 280, Rapid Express 290, 923, 992

Connecting rail and bus services

The Coaster connects fully with Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner at Oceanside, Solana Beach, Old Town Transit Center, and Santa Fe Depot in San Diego.

The Coaster also connects with the Metrolink rail system at Oceanside, providing connecting service to Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. It connects to the San Diego Trolley (Green Line) and MTS buses at the Old Town Transit Center; it also connects to the San Diego Trolley (all lines) and MTS buses in the vicinity of the Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego – including to the MTS Route 992 bus which offers direct service to Lindbergh Field from Downtown San Diego. Finally, the Coaster connects with BREEZE buses at all North San Diego County station stops.

Fares and ticketing

The cost of Coaster tickets is based upon the number of zones traveled (see map). Fare collection is based on a proof-of-payment system: tickets must be purchased before boarding and are checked by roving fare inspectors. Monthly passes are available. All tickets and passes include transfer agreements with NCTD BREEZE buses and monthly passes include transfer with the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) buses and Trolleys. On January 20, 2011, the NCTD implemented a fare reduction, which to increased ridership on the Coaster and so was made permanent in September 2011. As of September 2019, regular one-way fares are as follows: [22]

  • Within one zone: $5
  • Within two zones: $5.75
  • Within three zones: $6.50

With proof of eligibility, senior citizens (ages 60 and over), people with disabilities, and Medicare cardholders receive a 50% discount on the above fares.

Riding the Coaster without a valid ticket may result in a penalty fare of up to $250. Riders cannot purchase tickets on board the train.

Compass and PRONTO cards

In September 2008, SANDAG introduced a new contactless "Compass Card", made possible by Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc. The "Compass Card" allows passengers from MTS and NCTD to store regional transit passes and cash value on a rewritable RFID card. Customers can purchase passes and add cash value on the Internet or at any ticket vending machine. Prior to boarding a train, customers tap their Compass Cards on the ticket validator located on the train platform. The LED display on the validator then lights up with lights resembling that of a stoplight, and the LCD display shows text regarding the passenger's fare account.

The Coaster, along with all other NCTD and MTS services, will begin to utilize the new Pronto fare system upon its public release in the summer of 2021 and the concurrent retirement of the "Compass Card." [23] As a replacement for the current "Compass Card," the Pronto fare system will allow for a tap-on, tap-off approach, so riders on the Coaster will need to tap-on when entering the station platform, and tap-off again arriving at the destination stop, in order to deduct the correct fare. [24]

Ridership

The Coaster carried about 514,450 passengers during its first year of operation, [25] and ridership rose steadily in the years that followed. In 2012, Coaster ridership was approximately 1.6 million people, with an average number of 5,600 weekday boardings. [1]

Approximately 40% of weekday commuters detrain at Sorrento Valley.[ citation needed]

Rolling stock

Builder Type Purchased Quantity Numbers Notes Image
Locomotives
EMD ( M-K Rebuilds) F40PHM-2C 1994 5 2101–2105 Coaster F40PHM-2C 2104 at Solana Beach, CA.JPG
EMD F59PHI 2001 2 3001–3002
  • Both locomotives were retired from service on February 8, 2021.
  • They are currently in storage acting as stand-by locomotives until the 6th and 7th Charger locomotives arrive in 2022.
Coaster train San Diego 2013-06 (9411010614).jpg
Siemens SC-44 Charger 2018-2020 9 5001-5009
  • 5001-5005 entered revenue service on February 8, 2021, replacing the F40PHM-2C locomotives.
  • 5006 and 5007 will replace the F59PHI locomotives upon delivery in late 2022.
  • 5008 and 5009 will be used for the SANDAG expansion trainsets upon delivery in April 2023.
Coaster5002.jpg
Passenger Cars
Bombardier BiLevel Coach 1994 8 2201–2208
  • All cars will be overhauled and repainted into the new livery by 2026.
Phase I Livery COASTER 2205.jpg
1997 6 2401–2406
  • 2401-2405 have been overhauled and repainted into the new livery as of March 22, 2021.
Phase II Livery COASTER 2402.jpg
2003 4 2501–2504
  • All cars will be overhauled and repainted into the new livery by 2026.

Phase I Livery COASTER 2501.jpg

2020 8 TBA
  • All cars are expected to be delivered in late 2022.
N/A
BiLevel Cab-Car 1994 8 2301–2308
  • 2301 and 2302 have been wrapped into the new livery as of March 1, 2021.
  • All cab-cars will be overhauled and repainted into the new livery by 2026.
PhaseTwoCoasterLiveryCabCar2301.jpg
2003 2 2309–2310
  • Both cab-cars will be overhauled and repainted into the new livery by 2026.
Coaster train at Solana Beach station, February 2004.jpg
2020 3 TBA
  • All cab-cars are expected to be delivered in late 2022.
N/A

In June 2018, the North County Transit District (NCTD) Board approved the purchase of five Siemens SC-44 Charger locomotives to replace their existing five F40PHM-2C locomotives that were remanufactured by Morrison-Knudsen, with $10.5 million of the estimated $53.9 million cost earmarked from statewide gas tax and vehicle registration fees. [27] In June 2019, the NCTD Board approved the purchase of two additional SC-44 Chargers that are planned to replace the two EMD F59PHI locomotives; they are due for delivery in late 2022. [28] In September 2020, the NCTD Board approved the purchase of the final two SC-44 Chargers that are planned to be used for expansion purposes; they will be due for delivery in April 2023. [29] [30] Deliveries of the first five Siemens SC-44 Charger locomotives took place from August–October 2020; they began revenue service on February 8, 2021. [31] [32] The five F40PHM-2C locomotives were concurrently retired on February 8, 2021, as well; they are planned to be donated to the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo, California sometime in the near future. [33]

In January 2020, NCTD and Bombardier began to overhaul the legacy Bombardier BiLevel equipment at a minimum rate of four cars per year; all 28 cars are planned to be overhauled and repainted into the new COASTER livery by 2026. [34] The coach overhaul improvements include upgraded door systems, installation of LED light fixtures, seat cushion replacements, installation of electrical charging outlets, and suspension maintenance improvements. [35]

In July 2020, the NCTD Board approved the purchase of eleven new Bombardier BiLevel passenger cars (consisting of eight coaches and three crash-energy management cab-cars) that will be used to add two trainsets to regular service and support SANDAG expansion upon delivery in late 2022. [36] The base order also includes options for 27 additional cars, but such options have not currently been exercised. [37]

In August 2018, NCTD announced that they were seeking public opinions and input on a re-brand of the agency, and ran online polls for the public to vote on a new livery for Coaster equipment. The new livery was chosen by Siemens in late 2019, and it is currently being applied to the overhauled coaches and Charger locomotives. The new livery will also be applied to the new Bombardier BiLevel passenger cars that are scheduled for delivery in 2022. [37] [38]

Yards

NCTD maintains and utilizes two rail yards for the Coaster. The main maintenance and storage yard, located at Stuart Mesa on Camp Pendleton, is just north of the Oceanside Transit Center station. This is where locomotives, coaches, and cab-cars are stored for the night, and where trains are serviced and maintained. NCTD also utilizes Tracks 25, 26 and 27 of the San Diego Trolley yard at 12th and Imperial in Centre City San Diego to store trains during the midday and for weekday train staging; as aforementioned previously, this yard is shared with the San Diego Trolley and the San Diego and Imperial Valley Railroad.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "COASTER Fact Sheet" (PDF). North County Transit District. January 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 5, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  2. ^ "Coaster Schedule" (PDF). NCTD. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  3. ^ "Coaster Schedule" (PDF). March 26, 2019. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  4. ^ "COASTER Fact Sheet" (PDF). North County Transit District. January 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 5, 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  5. ^ "NCTD COASTER Improvements Fact Sheet" (PDF). North County Transit District Document Access Center. North County Transit District. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  6. ^ "Rail Safety Tips". North County Transit District. Archived from the original on December 23, 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  7. ^ "COASTER Fact Sheet (March 2021)" (PDF). North County Transit District. North County Transit District. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  8. ^ "NCTD-at-a-Glance" (PDF). North County Transit District. North County Transit District. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d e "NCTD: Past, Present and Future" (PDF). North County Transit District. January 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 25, 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Coaster". Trains Magazine. June 30, 2006. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  11. ^ "Company picked to operate COASTER". San Diego Union-Tribune. December 2, 2005. Archived from the original on February 24, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  12. ^ "Coaster to tackle service delays, interruptions". San Diego Union-Tribune. May 26, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  13. ^ "PTC Fact Sheet" (PDF). NCTD. July 2, 2019.
  14. ^ Prey, Bill; Rekola, Brett (June 2011). Capacity Expansions of LOSSAN Corridor in San Diego (PDF). APTA Rail Conference. San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) & North County Transit District. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 9, 2013. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
  15. ^ "California launches $US 6bn North Coast Corridor project". International railway Journal. December 1, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  16. ^ "Marines, NCTD eye Camp Pendleton Coaster stop". The San Diego Union-Tribune. November 11, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  17. ^ "LOSSAN Rail Line - LOSSAN Rail Corridor Improvements". Keep San Diego Moving (TransNet). Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  18. ^ St John, Alison (March 14, 2008). "SANDAG Board to Explore Viability of Del Mar Track Train Station". KPBS. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
  19. ^ "COASTER - NCTD". North County Transit District. 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  20. ^ "COASTER Schedule Effective April 1 - October 7, 2013" (PDF). North County Transit District. 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 1, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  21. ^ "COASTER Stations". North County Transit District. 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  22. ^ "Coaster Fares and Passes". North County Transit District. 2019. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  23. ^ "Public Meeting For Proposed Fare Changes" (PDF). San Diego Metropolitan Transit System Information. San Diego Metropolitan Transit System. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  24. ^ "Goodbye Compass - Hello PRONTO!". San Diego Metropolitan Transit System Information. San Diego Metropolitan Transit System. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  25. ^ "Coaster 15th Anniversary Quick Facts" (PDF). North County Transit District. 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  26. ^ "NCTD Board Agenda Packet 01/21/2021" (PDF). North County Transit District Document Access Center. North County Transit District. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  27. ^ "State Gas Tax Increase Gives $10.5 Million For New COASTER Trains". KPBS. January 30, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  28. ^ "NCTD COASTER Improvements Fact Sheet" (PDF). North County Transit District Document Access Center. North County Transit District. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  29. ^ "NCTD Board Agenda Packet 9/17/2020" (PDF). North County Transit District. September 17, 2020. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  30. ^ "North County Transportation District buys more Chargers, helping Siemens reach milestone". Trains Magazine. October 26, 2020. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  31. ^ "NCTD Board Agenda Packet 11/19/2020" (PDF). North County Transit District. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  32. ^ "NCTD Celebrates Service Roll Out for New COASTER Locomotive and Overhauled Passenger Cars" (Press release). North County Transit District. February 8, 2021.
  33. ^ "Donate". Pacific Southwest Railway Museum. Archived from the original on November 25, 2020.
  34. ^ "NCTD Key Priority Projects" (PDF). GONCTD. North County Transit District. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  35. ^ "NCTD COASTER Improvements Fact Sheet" (PDF). North County Transit District Document Access Center. North County Transit District. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  36. ^ Sklar, Debbie. "Bombardier Signs Contract with NCTD for the Supply of BiLevel Commuter Rail Cars". Times of San Diego. Times of San Diego LLC. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  37. ^ a b "NCTD to replace aging Coaster train fleet". San Diego Union-Tribune. July 22, 2020. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  38. ^ "NCTD Board Agenda Packet 04/16/2020" (PDF). North County Transit District Document Access Center. North County Transit District. Retrieved November 30, 2020.

External links

Route map:

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