Opening of Montreal’s REM light rail network postponed

The opening of Montreal’s massive $6.9 billion REM light rail is delayed.

Initially, the island’s 67-kilometre light rail system was to open in three phases, the first of which was scheduled between fall 2023 and 2024.

Monday morning, the project promoter CDPQ Infra said the opening would be delayed until “late 2024”.

CDPQ Infra cited problems with the Mount Royal tunnel as the main reason and acknowledged that the project’s estimated budget of nearly $7 billion will not be met.

The Quebec developer says 18 of the project’s 26 stations will be delayed until the end of 2024, nearly a full year behind schedule.

CDPQ Infra indicates that workers found explosive residues during work inside the Mount Royal tunnel, which seriously complicated underground work. This is not the first setback of the project with the tunnel. In November 2020, the firm announced that “unforeseen circumstances” would add “additional challenges” to the entire build.

The proponent also says complications from the COVID-19 pandemic have caused additional delays.

The firm also confirmed that it would not be able to confirm the opening of the fourth branch of the REM from Trudeau Airport in Montreal before the fall of 2022. The appeal of the YUL line is that it is supposed to get from the airport to downtown Montreal in 20 minutes.

CDPQ Infra also indicated that the northern part of the line, intended to join Deux-Montagnes, will not open before 2026.

Jose P. Rogers