The project office of Montreal’s automated light rail network, Réseau express métropolitain (REM), has officially unveiled the first four light rail vehicles. The 67-km (41.6-mile) network is expected to begin partial service in 2022 with full operation in 2024 with 26 stations, connecting downtown Montreal to the South Shore, North Shore, West Island and Montreal-Trudeau International Airport.
Owner-operator Caisse de dépot et placement (Caisse), Quebec’s public pension fund, is contributing $C3.2 billion of the $C6.5 billion planned for construction of the network (see map below). It awarded construction contracts in 2018. The Québec and Canadian governments and Hydro-Québec are also funding the project.
CDPQ Infra, a subsidiary of Caisse, is responsible for the planning, financing, completion and operation of the network. Groupe des partenaires pour la mobilité des Montréalais (Groupe PMM), a consortium of Alstom and SNC-Lavalin, was selected in 2018 for a rolling stock and systems and operation and maintenance (RSSOM) contract.
Alstom is supplying REM with not only 212 vehicles (106 trains) based on its Metropolis platform, but also the automated and driverless Urbalis 400 communication-based train control (CBTC) system, an Alstom Iconis control center, as well as platform screen doors and depot equipment.
The vehicles’ exterior livery, chosen by the public, was inspired by the Samuel-De Champlain Bridge, according to Alstom.
When operational, each departure will use a four-car train at peak hours and two cars during off-peak hours to save energy.
Over the coming weeks, the vehicles will be tested along a 3.5-km (2.1-mile) segment from the Brossard station to just before the Panama station, the REM project office said. This segment, dubbed a “representative segment,” reproduces all of the system components that will be found on the 67-km (41.6-mile) REM network.
Due to COVID-19, including a shutdown period last spring, and safety issues related to the Mount Royal Tunnel as modernization work was under way, the schedule for opening the REM network branches has been revised:
• Commissioning of the South Shore to Central Station segment is postponed to spring/summer 2022.
• On the Deux-Montagnes line, commissioning will still be done by segment: fall 2023 for the Central Station to Du Ruisseau segment; spring 2024 for Du Ruisseau to Pierrefonds-Roxboro; and fall 2024 for Pierrefonds-Roxboro to Deux-Montagnes.
• Commissioning of the West Island segment is scheduled for spring 2024 and that of the airport segment is scheduled for the end of 2024.