31 July 2023 is the opening day for revenue service on the first fully automated metro line in Montreal – the metropolis with 1.8 million inhabitants in the Canadian province of Quebec. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had previously attended the official opening ceremony on 28 July, along with various other political and business representatives. The whole weekend 29/30 July, the new service is open to the public for free rides.
The first, 16.6 km long section of the new system, called the light metro “Réseau express métropolitain” (REM), serving five stations from Gare Centrale to Brossard. By 2027, another 21 stations are to be added and the network will grow to 67 km. This would make it almost as big as the previous metro network, which has been built since 1966 and consists of four lines with a total length of 71 km. The opening of the other Light Metro sections to Deux Motagnes and Anse-à-l’Orme is planned for the end of 2024, and another branch to Montréal-Trudeau International Airport is to be added later. The lines use sections of disused and later converted former railway lines. Another interesting aspect is the use of the railway tunnel under the Mont Royal dating from 1918, which is being rebuilt and will include two interchange stations to the conventional metro. The alignment of the whole network will include sections running elevated, in tunnels, on bridges and in the central reservation of motorways. All stations are equipped with platform doors.
Two-car Alstom “Metropolis” metro cars will be used, of which 106 trains will be delivered for the final extension and which will allow 2.5-minute intervals. Alstom is also supplying the Urbalis GoA4 (Grade of Automation 4) driverless and automated communication-based train control system (CBTC) and the control centre.
Photos: © CDPQ / Alstom / UTM29.07.2023