Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

A rail project worth 10 billion in eastern Montreal

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The project is expected to cost a little over $10 billion.

  • Mathieu Prost (View profile)Mathieu Prost
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    In its report which will soon be presented to Minister Geneviève Guilbault, the Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority (ARTM) recommends a surface mode of transport, on rails, of which the first phase of 21 kilometers and 22 stations would cost 10.4 billion dollars.

    The Eastern REM project initially managed by CDPQ Infra, a subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, was entrusted in June 2022 at the ARTM, given the lack of social acceptability of an automatic train at height.

    Since then, the ARTM has sent a first proposal to the government in June 2023: an entirely underground train for $36 billion. Prime Minister François Legault summed up his reaction: I almost swallowed my sip of coffee. François Legault asked the ARTM to rework the project by dividing the costs. The new version that is on the table is totally different and almost three times cheaper.

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    Advanced layout of the Eastern Structuring Project

    The ARTM has studied several scenarios and has come to the conclusion that the ridership data […] militates in favor of a surface rail mode, which has all the appearance of a tramway, but it does not does not rule out the possibility of a tram-train or a light rail system, halfway between the metro and the tramway.

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    Configuration of the future eastern tramway

    In the selected scenario, the stations would be spaced an average of 1,130 meters apart, which would allow a speed of between 27 and 31 km/h. In the first phase, 22 stations would line the route between Cégep Marie-Victorin, in Montréal-Nord, and Pointe-aux-Trembles station. The Eastern Structuring Project (PSE) would take the Lacordaire-Dickson axis on the north branch, then Sherbrooke Street for the east branch.

    Two network extensions are planned in later phases. Four additional stations, along Maurice-Duplessis Boulevard, would allow the northern branch to reach the Rivière-des-Prairies district. Two others, on the eastern branch, would take the PSE to Assomption, in Lanaudière. Adding these two extensions would bring the bill to $13 billion.

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    Questioned about this proposal, Minister Guilbault's office said it preferred to wait the report and analyze it before commenting on it.

    However, we reiterate our commitment to the east of Montreal: we want a structuring transport network possible to ensure its development, we added.

    The City of Montreal, for its part, indicated on Friday that it would analyze the report and have the necessary discussions with the government before commenting on it.

    Our desire is to implement a structuring transport project in order to ensure the development of Eastern Montreal and to provide an effective transport solution to the population, specifies the City in a declaration.

    The northern branch of the PSE would offer users a connection to two lines of the Montreal metro. The connection with the blue line would be at Lacordaire station (one of the five stations planned in the extension currently under construction, which should be completed in 2030).

    The Cadillac station is the first Green Line station that users coming from the north would find on their route. According to the ARTM, 36% of passengers would transfer there to head west. The PSE would then continue its route on rue Sherbrooke Est, a few meters above the green line. Over approximately 2.5 kilometers and four stations, up to Honoré-Beaugrand, the two networks would duplicate each other.

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    Anticipated route of the Eastern Structuring Project

    But, according to estimates, it is more financially advantageous for the northern and eastern branches to be connected, otherwise a second maintenance center should be built in excess of the cost of providing two kilometers of additional track.

    It currently takes 26 minutes, during rush hour, to travel the distance by bus between Pointe-aux-Trembles station and Honoré-Beaugrand station. The PSE would reduce this time to 16 minutes.

    On the north branch, the gains would be higher. From 42 minutes currently between Cégep Marie-Victorin and Cadillac station, the travel time would increase to 20 minutes.

    In total, the ARTM plans that the PSE would make it possible to make between 23,300 and 27,600 trips each day and specifies that the origin of the traffic is distributed almost in the same way between the north antenna (42%) and the east antenna (38%).

    According to projections, one in six passengers (17%) would choose to abandon their car in favor of this new mode of public transport.

    • Mathieu Prost (View profile)Mathieu ProstFollow

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