Majority of Montreal’s REM light rail stations won’t open until late 2024 – Montreal

Public transit users in Montreal and the North Shore will have to be patient as problems with the Mont-Royal tunnel mean that most stations on the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) will not open until the end of 2024.

In a press release issued Monday morning, CDPQ Infra — the infrastructure projects wing of Quebec’s public pension fund — confirmed that the branch of the light rail project linking downtown Montreal from Gare Centrale at the South Shore remains on schedule for fall 2022. The rest of the North Shore and West Island stations are scheduled to open in late 2024.

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Mount Royal Tunnel Explosion and Other Issues Cause REM Delays

The opening date of the branch serving the Montréal-Trudeau international airport should be announced in the fall.

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Instead of opening in three phases between fall 2023 and fall 2024, 18 of the 26 stations — located in downtown Montreal, in the West Island and on the North Shore — will welcome their first users simultaneously at the end of 2024, according to the most recent REM estimates.

In an interview with the Journal de Montreal, the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec — the manager of the province’s pension fund — acknowledged that the delays will lead to higher costs, exceeding the most recent estimate of 6.9 billions of dollars.

This is not the first time that the challenges of the Mont-Royal tunnel have caused delays to the REM.

In November 2020, CDPQ Infra held a press conference to announce that unforeseen events in the tunnel – in addition to challenges related to COVID-19, including staff shortages and supply chain issues – would delay the project.

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Read more:

REM work, closure of the Mont-Royal tunnel delayed due to the COVID-19 epidemic

Unforeseen events include the discovery of the deteriorated central wall of the tunnel arch located under McGill College Avenue. Explosives left over from the construction of the tunnel over 100 years ago have also been found.

As a result, CDPQ Infra has reworked its schedule so that the entire network is operational — except for the airport portion — before the end of 2024.

Wagon tests have been reviewed but could start before summer 2024 in the tunnel. Trials for the branch between Montreal and the South Shore are already underway.

CDPQ Infra also indicated that if the test schedule for opening stations from south to north had been maintained, the REM would not have reached Deux-Montagnes before 2026.

The REM team also pointed out that discussions are underway with the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) and Mobilité Montréal to maintain the mitigation measures put in place with the complete closure of the exo Deux- Mountains and obstacles related to the exo Mascouche. line. These two commuter train lines used the Mount Royal tunnel before it was closed.

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– with files from Annabelle Olivie of Global Newsr

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Jose P. Rogers