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Opening of Montreal light rail system delayed

By | June 21, 2022

First portions now projected to open in late 2024

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Rail transit vehicle in snow
Rail transit vehicle in snow
Railcars for Montreal’s REM light rail system are shown during testing in 2021. Opening of the system has now been delayed to late 2024. (Alstom/C. Fleury via REM Facebook page)

MONTREAL — Opening of Montreal’s Réseau express métropolitain light rail network has been pushed back because of issues with the Mount Royal Tunnel, the system’s developer has announced.

The CBC reports initial plans had called for 18 of the 26 stations on the 41.6-mile REM system to open in phases between fall 2023 and fall 2024, but CDPQ Infra — the infrastructure arm of Quebec pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec — said all 18 stations will open at the same time in late 2024.

A CDPQ Infra statement said it would not be possible to begin testing in the 3.1-mile tunnel before summer 2024, and that those tests “are essential to make sure services are launched in a safe way.”

The Montreal Gazette reports the latest delay also means the project will exceed its most recent cost estimate of C$6.9 billion. REM construction began in 2018, with the first portion of the system originally projected to open in 2021. A CDPQ Infra spokesman told the Gazette that a Quebec labor shortage also figured into the delay.

3 thoughts on “Opening of Montreal light rail system delayed

    1. The tunnel is 125 years old. Perhaps they found some kind of further problem they weren’t expecting.

      CBC a few days ago “In November 2020, CDPQ Infra held a news conference to announce that it had found century-old explosives in the tunnel, which contributed to the overall degradation of the structure.”

  1. The unforeseen major challenges posed by the century-old Mount Royal Tunnel in the REM (Réseau Express Métropolitain/Metropolitan Express Network) Project have forced CDPQ Infra teams to rethink the testing and trial sequence for the light rail system’s commissioning, in order to support efforts to commission the network by late 2024 and avoid significant delays to 2026.
    The 67-kilometer (42 miles) light metro rail system will be independent of, but connected to the existing Montreal Metro.
    Trains on the network (based on the Alstom Metropolis) will be fully automated and driverless, and it will become the fifth-longest automated transportation system in the world.
    The Alstom Metropolis model has already proven its worth, with more than 5000 cars currently in daily use globally. In Montreal, the design and operational features were customized specifically to run in extreme winter conditions.

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

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