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Thread: Montreal REM

  1. #1

    Default Montreal REM

    So Montreal's Reseau Express Metropolitan (REM) has been under construction since 2016. It's probably the single biggest rail project in Canada right now in scale, if not dollar value, but has been surprisingly quiet despite the impact it will have to the region.

    A short rundown on the stats:

    Total length: 67 km
    Number of stations: 26
    Frequency (peak/non-peak): 5/15 mins (2.5/5 mins for downtown tunnel)
    Operating hours: 5 am - 1 am, 7 days per week
    Max Capacity: 780 people per 4 car trainset
    Projected ridership: 200,000/day
    Cost: 6.3 Billion CAD

    Some selling points:

    Fully grade separated!
    Driverless trains!
    Network-wide Wifi!
    Seamless transfers to Bus/Rail/Metro!
    Platform Screen Doors!

    The network will be opened in phases from 2021-2023:

    The REM is Montreal's answer to the 'missing middle' option between regional commuter rail and urban metro service. While it is referred to as light rail in both official and press media, it and the Skytrain are more properly defined as 'Medium Rail Transit' systems. The system length is some 67 km long at full buildout, comparable to that of the entire Skytrain network prior to the Evergreen extension opening, but with around half the number of stations at 26. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise as the REM is, at its core, a conversion of commuter rail to metro operations.

    Schematically, the REM comprises the following:

    - The 31 km Deux-Montagnes trunk line, a conversion of the existing commuter rail line of the same name, as well as the Mount Royal tunnel through downtown;
    - The 15 km South Shore branch, which is a new-build extension of the trunk line from Central Station to the South Shore suburbs and crossing the St. Lawrence River on reserved lanes in the new Champlain bridge;
    - The 16 km Saint-Anne-De-Bellevue branch, which resurrects the Doney spur line to provide metro service to the West Island suburbs; and
    - The 5 km Airport branch, a new-build spur to YUL.

    The trainsets are the driverless Alstom Metropolis sets, the same type used in the Sydney Metro (another commuter-to-metro conversion of similar scope), but in a four car configuration rather than Sydney's six (two cars during non-peak). The system will be constructed to handle future increases in capacity and frequency to suit ridership demands and is also the biggest P3 project in Quebec's history at 6.3 billion dollars. The contracts are split into two main packages, EPC for construction/design and TSSOM for operations/maintenance; both were awarded to consortiums led by SNC-Lavelin.
    Last edited by Foolworm; 19-02-2019 at 05:33 PM.

  2. #2
    C2E SME
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Sherwood Park, AB


    Montreal is spread out with the island and the suburbs on both sides of the St. Lawrence. This could be helpful.
    "Talk minus action equals zero." - Joe Keithley, D. O. A.

  3. #3
    Becoming a C2E Power Poster
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Downtown Edmonton


    I spent some time in Montreal last summer. That Gare Central is something else!

    But YUL has been looking for this train connection for a long time:

  4. #4


    I just back from a week in Montreal. Gare Centrale is great. Conference at the Queen Elizabeth and stayed at the Bonaventure of the other side of the station. Both connected to Underground City. Lots of people. Open through the night. Never felt the least bit concerned about safety. Funny how in Montreal the huge Underground City and the surface sidewalks can bothe be full of people, even at -20 and yet in Edmonton both seem empty at the best of times.

  5. #5


    Montreal is a different class of city. Honestly, if my French wasn't half bad, I'd try to move there.

    It has a much more cohesive feel as a city than Toronto or Vancouver.

    For a city of its size, commutes aren't that bad and living is affordable.

    They made great infrastructure decisions back in the 60s and 70s and have a great network in terms of commuter rail, metro and freeways. Although it's starting to crumble...also cue "equalization"

  6. #6


    Back in the 60s and early 70s, Montreal was the largest city in Canada. The financial capital, the insurance capital, the fashion & shopping capital, the center of shipping, rail and manufacturing in Canada. Then the combination of the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Quiet Revolution, the political unrest, sovereignty and the resulting exodus of unilingual English speaking workers and businessmen in the mid-70's sealed Montreal's status in Canada.

    Since then, the city has grown by one million while Toronto grew by 3 million.

    I really enjoy living in Montreal for the past 6 years even though I only speak English. I get by very well except on occasion in the east end of Montreal or in the countryside. My wife is from Montreal and is totally bilingual. I am glad that the REM line is being built as one station will be within walking distance and will increase the value of my home. It will allow us to go downtown or many parts of the city without using a car.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  7. #7


    They're putting in a huge plaza at Place Ville Marie, right across from the Queen Elizabeth. Much more open than the one in the Ice district will be.

    I'm always equal parts amused and disappointed when you get people in Alberta bashing Quebec as being unfriendly. The people couldn't have been nicer. Even when their English isn't all that great, they went out of their way to be helpful. Of course, a bonjour or merci from us went a long way as well.

    And one great thing, downtown at least, is a relative lack of chain restaurants. Lots of places with great sandwiches and other baked goods and we only saw one Tims. The local places are fresher and have a much greater selection. Nice contrast to Edmonton where people think that the chains coming in is a good thing.

  8. #8


    Montreal's REM line going fast forward. They have already assembled the first of two, 550 ton 100 meter long elevated assembly cranes.

    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.


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