STM Awards Contract for Blue Line Extension Train Control System

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
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The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) on Feb. 13 announced that its Blue Line Extension office has awarded a C$217,173,941 contract to Ground Transportation Systems Canada Inc. for the line’s new communications-based train control (CBTC) system. The contract includes installation, maintenance and certain options for the CBTC system.

The CBTC system, STM says, is already used by a vast majority of subway network operations around the world and is an “opportunity to modernize the Montreal métro’s train control system for the entire Blue Line.”

Train control systems are the brains of underground networks; the use of CBTC will thus be a high‑value upgrade for the Blue Line system,” STM stated in a release. The project is funded primarily by the Quebec government, with support from STM.

According to STM, replacing the system on the existing Blue Line became necessary because the current system is outdated and couldn’t be used to operate the extension. The new system consists of devices placed at different points along the tracks and on the train cars themselves that make it possible to detect the location of each train and communicate effectively with them.

The new system, STM says, “will improve train reliability, frequency and passenger comfort when trains stop and start.” It will be installed first on the existing Blue Line and later on the line extension. The system on the métro network’s other three lines will also eventually need to be upgraded.

The Blue Line extension, which will add five new stations east of Saint Michael Station, all the way to Anjou, over a distance of six kilometers (3.7 miles), is currently under construction. The project office, which recently issued the final call for tenders for the construction of the tunnel and the excavation of some of the future stations and auxiliary structures (CI12), is currently analyzing the bids received. The bid analysis and assessment results will be available in summer 2024.

“Awarding this major contract is another step toward completing the Blue Line extension,” said Deputy Minister and Minister of Transport and Sustainable Mobility Genevieve Guilbault. “We’ve been waiting for this for decades, and now, it’s finally happening. This is further proof of our commitment and the significant investments we’re making to support and develop public transit in Montréal’s east end.”

“By 2030, 93% of the STM’s infrastructure will be more than 40 years into its useful life,” said STM Board of Directors Chair Eric Alan Caldwell. “We need to take every opportunity to modernize our network, which is what we’re doing by replacing the train control system. The extension will allow all Blue Line users to benefit from the new system and its advantages. Modernizing the existing network is the best way to boost the appeal of mass transit while improving service quality.”

“Awarding this contract is a major step toward completing the Blue Line extension,” said Blue Line Extension Lead Project Manager Maha Clour. “The train control system will help coordinate activities at existing and new stations across the Blue Line. It’s state‑of‑the‑art technology that will benefit both our customers and our operations teams and improve service delivery.”

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