The North County Transit District and regional transportation leaders celebrated the service roll-out of five new Siemens locomotives and several renovated Coaster passenger cars at the Oceanside Transit Center Monday.
Tony Kranz, NCTD board chair, Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, Catherine Blakespear, San Diego Association of Governments board chair and Encinitas Mayor, and Nathan Fletcher, chair of the county's board of supervisors, were among those commemorating the rollout.
"Today's launch of the new Coaster locomotives and overhauled passenger cars underscores NCTD's commitment to its mission to deliver safe, convenient, reliable, and user-friendly public transportation services,'" Kranz said. "This rollout is a huge step in improving Coaster services. The new Coaster locomotives will increase service reliability, improve the rider experience, and are more environmentally friendly."
A team gutted each overhauled coach one at a time before re-installing upgraded seats, carpet, upgraded LED lights and some charging stations. Each car then gets a new coat of paint in a new color scheme. The NCTD hopes to have all cars overhauled by 2026.
Funding for the five replacement locomotives 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 California Senate Bill 1.
Funding for the overhaul of the Coaster cars comes from a variety of federal,
state and local sources.
In addition to the five replacement locomotives and overhaul of coach and cab cars, NCTD will be receiving two replacement locomotives, two expansion locomotives, ten expansion bi-level passenger coaches and one replacement rail cab intended to support repair needs and increase train frequencies from 22 to
42 trains per average weekday over the next three to five years.
The funding for the expansion equipment comes from SANDAG.
"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," Blakespear said. "SANDAG is proud to have helped NCTD 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."
The transit district is moving forward with a 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, supporting the redevelopment of property owned by NCTD and enhancing the customer experience with technologies such as a new fare system and striving for zero operating delays.
NCTD is a public transportation agency operating throughout North San Diego County and into downtown San Diego.