NCTD board Chair Tony Kranz, Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear and Rep. Mike Levin took part in ceremonies. Photo via NCTD

The North County Transit District and regional transportation leaders celebrated the service rollout of five new Siemens locomotives and several renovated Coaster passenger cars at the Oceanside Transit Center Monday.

Among those taking part were NCTD board chair Tony Kranz; Rep. Mike Levin of San Juan Capistrano; Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, San Diego Association of Governments board chair; and Nathan Fletcher, chair of the county’s Board of Supervisors.

A virtual audience of local elected officials and leaders in regional transportation also were present.

“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.”

The overhauled coach and cab cars will be painted with a new color scheme and equipped with new seating upholstery, carpet, upgraded LED lighting and charging stations at some seats.

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 about $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, 10 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 buying 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.

— City News Service

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