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Coaster (commuter rail)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coaster
COASTER logo.svg
THE COASTER AT OCEANSIDE.jpg
A Coaster departing Oceanside in July 2011.
Overview
Service typeCommuter rail
LocaleSan Diego County, California, United States
First serviceFebruary 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]
WebsiteNCTD Coaster
Route
StartOceanside Transit Center
Stops8[1]
EndSan Diego
Distance travelled41 mi (66 km)[1]
Average journey time1 hour (60 minutes)
Train number(s)630-699[2]
Line(s) usedThe San Diego portion of the Surf Line
Technical
Rolling stock7 locomotives
28 passenger cars in service[3]
5 locomotives on order
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Operating speed90 miles per hour (140 km/h)[4]
Track owner(s)San Diego Association of Governments
Route map
Maintenance Facility
Oceanside Transit Center
AmtrakSprinter San Diego.pngMetrolink (Southern California)
Carlsbad Village
Carlsbad Poinsettia
Encinitas
Solana Beach
Amtrak
Fare zone 1
Fare zone 2
Sorrento Valley
Fare zone 2
Fare zone 3
Old Town San Diego
Amtrak MTS Trolley icon.svg
San Diego
Amtrak MTS Trolley icon.svg
Storage Yard
San Diego Trolley Orange Line.svg
Orange Line
to El Cajon Transit Center

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. The service is currently operated by Bombardier Transportation on contract with North County Transit District (NCTD). The service has eight stops and operates primarily during weekday peak periods, with additional weekend and holiday service.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Coaster Commuter Train: Train Talk Ep. 21

Transcription

Hello everyone and welcome to Train Talk! This month is the 10 year anniversary of the CoasterFan2105 YouTube channel and to celebrate, we are going to be talking a look at the Coaster commuter train service that runs in San Diego County. We will be talking all about the Coaster, its history, and what the future will bring for the service. Let’s get started! The Coaster is a commuter train that runs along a 41 mile stretch of track between San Diego, California and Oceanside, California. It is one of several transportation services in San Diego County that is provided by the North County Transit District, or NCTD for short, and trains are operated by Bombardier Transportation. The name Coaster is a shortened version of the service’s original official name: the Coast Express Rail. Between San Diego and Oceanside, trains make stops at the Old Town Transit Center, Sorrento Valley, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad Poinsettia, and Carlsbad Village. Currently, the railroad owns 7 locomotives and 28 passenger cars. 5 of the locomotives are type F40PHM-2C units built by Morrison Knudeson while the other two are F59PHI locomotives built by Electromotive Division. The 28 passenger cars are all Bombardier BiLevel cars, 10 of which are cab cars. This allows trains to reverse direction in short order after arriving at the final stop, a necessity for commuter train service. Equipment is stored overnight and maintained at the Stuart Mesa commuter facility, located just a few miles north of Oceanside. On weekdays between runs, three train sets are stored south of the Downtown San Diego depot at the San Diego Trolley yards. North County Transit District owns the entire right of way over which Coaster trains operate between San Diego and Oceanside. They also own the portion of the railroad between Oceanside and the San Diego County - Orange County Line, although no in service Coaster trains currently operate over this stretch of track. About two thirds of the rail line from downtown San Diego to the county line are double tracked, with the majority of the line scheduled to have an additional track by 2050. For more on current track work projects being performed in San Diego County, check out my previous episode of Train Talk. In addition to the Coaster trains, NCTD also operates the Sprinter rail service between Oceanside and Escondido. On weekdays, 11 trains run in each direction with 2 additional round trips on Friday evenings during the summer. Saturday, Sunday, and Holiday service consists of 4 round trips made throughout the day. From April to October, a total of 6 round trips are made on Saturdays. The trip from San Diego to Oceanside takes just about one hour. In addition to Coaster trains, 3 Amtrak trains in each direction make additional stops at the Sorrento Valley and Carlsbad Village Coaster stations. On weekdays, 4 Coaster train sets are used, typically consisting of one locomotive and 5 cars. In more recent years, one of the 4 sets runs with an additional locomotive in case there is a breakdown. On Saturdays in the summer, 2 sets are used and one set is used on Sundays as well as Saturdays during the winter. Fares are broken down into 3 zones. Zone 1 runs from Oceanside to Solana Beach, Zone 2 includes just Sorrento Valley, and Zone 3 runs between Old Town and downtown San Diego. Travel within one zone costs $4.00 while travel through 2 zones is $5.00 and travel through 3 zones is $5.50 as of 2018. Monthly passes are also available for frequent riders. As of 2017, the average yearly ridership is around 1.5 million. The weekday ridership is just shy of 5,000 per day. Now let’s talk briefly about the history of the Coaster. Regular service on the Coaster started February 27th, 1995. During the previous year, the rail line was purchased from the Santa Fe Railroad and brand new stations were constructed at Old Town, Sorrento Valley, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad Poinsettia, and Carlsbad Village. The original train equipment was also built that year. This included the 5 F40s and 16 passenger cars. 6 additional passenger cars were purchased a short time later in 1997. At first, service was fairly limited, running just a few round trips on weekdays as a demonstration commuter only service. Shortly thereafter, the schedule was expanded and Saturday service was added to help off peak travelers. Mid day service and late Friday evening service was also added in the late 1990s. Trains originally ran as 3 car sets, but some of these were soon expanded to 4 and eventually 5 cars. In the mid 2000s, special event service was expanded with special trains for padre’s baseball games in downtown. To accommodate increasing demand, two F59PHIs were purchased in 2001. An additional 6 passenger cars were purchased in 2003, 2 of which were cab cars. Starting in the mid 2000’s, the F40s began going through a rebuild program at Norfolk Southern’s Altoona Works in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Following the Great Recession of 2008, trains were temporarily cut back to 4 cars and the fares and fare zones were restructured from the original 4 zones to the current 3. So, what lies ahead for the Coaster? More track work will continue to improve travel times in the future and will also eventually lead to additional trips added to the schedule. New stations are planned for the Del Mar Fairgrounds, downtown next to Petco Park, and Camp Pendleton. NCTD has also looked at the possibilities of running express service, using Sprinter vehicles on the Coaster route, and extending Coaster service into Orange County. The biggest change that will be happening to Coaster over the next few years is the replacement of most of the current fleet. NCTD recently announced that it will be purchasing 5 new Siemens SC-44 Charger locomotives to replace the old F40PHM-2C models. These locomotives will be arriving starting in the spring of 2021 and will most likely replace all the F40s by the end of that year. In addition to new locomotives, NCTD is also looking into replacing their original 22 car fleet, as these cars are nearing the end of their useful service life. The Coaster has served San Diego County’s commuters well over the last two decades. With many service improvements on the horizon, it looks like Coaster will continue to provide reliable rail transportation through the region for many years to come. Thank you for watching this episode of Train Talk. To find out more about the Coaster and other NCTD services, please visit gonctd.com. For a more in depth look at the Coaster service, I recommend checking out the video Coaster: San Diego to Oceanside, from tsgmultimedia.com. If you have any comments to share with me, please leave those below. And finally, make sure you’re up to date with my latest videos by subscribing to the channel and clicking the bell icon next to the channel name to receive notifications every time I post a new video. That’s it for now. Until next time, I’m Mike Armstrong. I’ll see you down the line! Thanks for watching.

Contents

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.[5] 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.[5] The Board established the San Diego Northern Railway Corporation (SDNR) - a nonprofit operating subsidiary - in 1994.[5] SDNR purchased 41 miles (66 km) of the Surf Line 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.[5] NCTD originally contracted Amtrak to provide personnel for Coaster trains.[6] 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.[6][7] In 2016, Bombardier Transportation replaced TransitAmerica as COASTER's operator.[8]

Future

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.[9] 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.[10]

NCTD plans to extend COASTER service north to Camp Pendleton[5][11] The agency also plans to build limited-use stations at the Convention Center and the Del Mar Racetrack for use during major events.[12][13]

Service

More than 20 COASTER trains run on weekdays,[14] with additional service on the weekends.[15] 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 (e.g. Padres games)

Station stops

Station[16] Zone Connecting rail services
Oceanside Transit Center 1 Pacific Surfliner
Sprinter
Metrolink (Orange County Line, Inland Empire-Orange County Line)
Carlsbad Village
Carlsbad Poinsettia
Encinitas
Solana Beach Pacific Surfliner
Sorrento Valley 2
Old Town San Diego 3 Pacific Surfliner
San Diego Trolley (Green Line)
Santa Fe Depot
(Downtown San Diego)
Pacific Surfliner
San Diego Trolley (Green Line, Orange Line, Blue Line)

Connecting rail and bus transit services

Coaster route map (with other commuter lines included). This does not show routes of the San Diego Trolley.
Coaster route map (with other commuter lines included). This does not show routes of the San Diego Trolley.

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 (i.e. in Zone 1).

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 – the fare reduction led to increased ridership on the COASTER and so was made a permanent fare reduction in September 2011. As of January 2012, regular one-way fares are as follows:[17]

  • Within one zone: $4
  • Within two zones: $5
  • Within three zones: $5.50

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 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.

Ridership

The COASTER carried about 514,450 passengers during its first year of operation,[18] 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 Image
Morrison-Knudsen F40PHM-2C 1994 5 2101–2105
Coaster F40PHM-2C locomotive #2104 with Amtrak Pacific Surfliner #572 behind it at Solana Beach Station, California
EMD F59PHI 2001 2 3001–3002
Coaster train San Diego 2013-06 (9411010614).jpg
Siemens Mobility Charger SC-44 2018 5 TBD
Bombardier BiLevel Coach 1994 8 2201–2208
Bombardier BiLevel coaches, with a cab car in the fore, in San Diego.
1997 6 2401–2406
2003 4 2501–2504
BiLevel Cab Car 1994 8 2301–2308
2003 2 2309–2310

In June 2018, the North County Transit District Board of Directors approved the purchase of five Siemens Charger locomotives to replace their existing five F40PHM-2C locomotives that were remanufactured by Morrison-Knudsen. Deliveries are expected in the first half of 2021, with $10.5 million of the estimated $53.9 million cost earmarked from statewide gas tax and vehicle registration fees.[19]

In August 2018, NCTD announced that they were seeking public opinions and input on a re-brand of the agency. This included two new paint scheme ideas for COASTER, along with the existing scheme being used as a third option. The new COASTER livery will be decided upon by agency officials depending on the public input and will be painted on the new Siemens Chargers and passenger cars in 2021.

Yards

NCTD maintains two rail storage yards for the COASTER. The main storage yard, located north of Oceanside at Stuart Mesa on Camp Pendleton, is just north of the Oceanside station stop. This is where cars are stored for the night and trains are serviced, although due to the small size of the yard, COASTER trainsets are also stored at the nearby Fallbrook Yard when out of service. Tracks 25, 26 and 27 of the San Diego Trolleys' yard at 12th and Imperial in Centre City San Diego is used to store train-sets during the midday and for weekday train staging, and 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). 26 March 2019.
  3. ^ "COASTER Fact Sheet" (PDF). North County Transit District. January 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Rail Safety Tips". North County Transit District. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e "NCTD: Past, Present and Future" (PDF). North County Transit District. January 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Coaster". Trains Magazine. June 30, 2006. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  7. ^ "Company picked to operate COASTER". San Diego Union-Tribune. December 2, 2005. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  8. ^ "Coaster to tackle service delays, interruptions". San Diego Union-Tribune. May 26, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  9. ^ 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. Retrieved 2013-11-08.
  10. ^ "California launches $US 6bn North Coast Corridor project". International railway Journal. December 1, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  11. ^ "Marines, NCTD eye Camp Pendleton Coaster stop". The San Diego Union-Tribune. November 11, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  12. ^ "LOSSAN Rail Line - LOSSAN Rail Corridor Improvements". Keep San Diego Moving (TransNet). Retrieved 2013-08-10.
  13. ^ St John, Alison (March 14, 2008). "SANDAG Board to Explore Viability of Del Mar Track Train Station". KPBS. Retrieved 2013-11-08.
  14. ^ "COASTER - NCTD". North County Transit District. 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  15. ^ "COASTER Schedule  Effective April 1 - October 7, 2013" (PDF). North County Transit District. 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  16. ^ "COASTER Stations". North County Transit District. 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  17. ^ "Coaster Fares and Passes". North County Transit District. 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  18. ^ "Coaster 15th Anniversary Quick Facts" (PDF). North County Transit District. 2010. Retrieved 2013-12-07.
  19. ^ "State Gas Tax Increase Gives $10.5 Million For New COASTER Trains". KPBS. January 30, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2018.

External links

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