Montreal Metro

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Montreal Metro
Montreal Metro.svg
Top Left: Hector Guimard's Paris Métro entrance at Square-Victoria-OACI
Top Right: Interior of the new MPM-10 ("Azur") trains.[1]
Centre:MR-73 train at Montmorency station.
Bottom Left: Two MR-73 trains at Plamondon station.
Bottom Right: Ceramic mural at Crémazie station.
Native name Métro de Montréal
Locale Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 4
Number of stations 68
Daily ridership 1,245,700 (avg. weekday,
Q1 2014)[2]
Annual ridership 356,096,000 (2013)[3]
Began operation October 14, 1966
Operator(s) Société de transport de Montréal
Number of vehicles 759
System length 69.2 km (43.0 mi)[4][5]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
with running pads for the rubber tired wheels outside of the steel rails
Electrification "Third rail", 750 V DC on the guide bars at either side of the track
Average speed 40 km/h (25 mph)
Top speed 72 km/h (45 mph)

The Montreal Metro (French: Métro de Montréal) is a rubber-tired, underground metro system, and the main form of public transport, in the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The Metro, operated by the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), was inaugurated on October 14, 1966, during the tenure of Mayor Jean Drapeau. The metro has expanded since the 1960s from 26 stations on three separate lines to 68 stations on four lines totalling 69.2 kilometres (43.0 mi) in length,[4][5] serving the north, east and center of the Island of Montreal with connections to Longueuil, via the Yellow Line, and Laval, via the Orange line.

The Montreal Metro is Canada's busiest metro system, and North America's third busiest in total daily passenger usage behind those of New York City and Mexico City, delivering an average of 1,245,700 daily unlinked passenger trips per weekday (as of Q1 2014).[2] In 2013, 356.1 million trips on the Metro were completed (transfers counted as separate trips).[3] According to the STM the Metro system had transported over 7 billion passengers as of 2010. Montreal has built one of North America's largest urban rapid transit schemes, serving the fourth-largest number of passengers overall (after New York City, Mexico City, and Toronto) and attracting the second-highest ridership per capita behind New York City.[6]

The Montreal Metro was inspired by the Paris Metro, which is clearly seen in the Metro's station design and rolling stock.[7]


St. James/Saint-Jacques St. Streetcars in 1910.

Urban transit came to Montreal in 1861 where a first line of horse-drawn cars started to operate on Craig (now St-Antoine) and Notre-Dame streets. Eventually, as the then Canadian metropolis grew, a comprehensive network of streetcar lines provided service almost everywhere. But urban congestion started to take its toll on streetcar punctuality, so the idea of an underground system was soon considered.[8]

Fifty years of projects[edit]

In 1902, as European and American cities were inaugurating their first subway systems, the federal government created the Montreal Subway Company to promote the idea in Canada.

Starting in 1910, many proposals were tabled but the Montreal metro would prove to be an elusive goal. First, the Montreal Street Railway Company, the Montreal Central Terminal Company and the Montreal Underground and Elevated Railway Company undertook fruitless negotiations with the city.[8] Then a year later, the Comptoir Financier Franco-Canadien and the Montreal Tunnel Company proposed tunnels under the city center and the Saint-Lawrence River to link the emerging South Shore neighborhoods but faced the opposition of railway companies.[9] The Montreal Tramways Company (MTC) was the first to receive the approval of the provincial government in 1913 and four years to start construction.[10] The reluctance of elected city officials to advance funds ultimately foiled this first attempt.

The issue of a metro remained present in the newspapers but World War I and the following recession hitting Montreal prevented any execution. The gradual return of the financial health during the 1920s brought the MTC project back and attracted support from the Premier of Quebec.[8] The Great Depression, indebting Montreal again and atrophying its streetcars attendance, overcame this new attempt and the next devised by Mayor Camillien Houde in 1939 as a way to provide work for the jobless masses.[11]

World War II and the war effort in Montreal resurrected trams crowding. In 1944, the MTC proposed a two-line network, one line running underneath Saint Catherine Street, the other under Saint Denis and Notre-Dame and Saint Jacques Streets.[12] In 1953 the newly formed public Montreal Transportation Commission replaced streetcars by buses and proposed a single metro line reusing the 1944 plans and extending it all the way to Boulevard Crémazie, right by the D'Youville maintenance shops.[13] By this point, construction was already well underway on Canada's first metro line in Toronto under Yonge Street, which would be opened in 1954. Still, Montreal councilors remained cautious and no work was initiated. For some of them, including Jean Drapeau during its first municipal term, public transit was a thing of the past.[11]

In 1959, a private company, the Société d'expansion métropolitaine offered to build a rubber-tyred metro but the Transportation Commission wanted its own network and rejected the offer.[14] This will be the last missed opportunity, for the re-election of Jean Drapeau as mayor and the arrival of his right arm, Lucien Saulnier, will change everything. In the early 1960s, the western world experienced an economic boom and Quebec knew its Quiet Revolution. From August 1, 1960, many municipal services were addressing the project and on November 3, 1961 the Montreal City Council voted appropriations amounting to 132 million dollars (1.06 billion in 2016) to construct and equip a initial network of 16 kilometers in length.[13]

Building the Metro[edit]

The 1961 plan reused several previous studies and planed three lines carved into the rock under the city center to the most populated areas of the city.

The first two lines[edit]

Berri-UQAM station tablet.

The main line, or number 1 (Green Line) was to pass between the two most important arteries, Saint Catherine and Sherbrooke streets, more or less under the De Maisonneuve Boulevard. It would extend between the English speaking west at Atwater station and French speaking east at Frontenac. Line 2 (Orange Line) would pass north of the city, from Crémazie station and descend under residential neighborhoods to the south and the business district at Place-d'Armes station.

Construction of the first two lines began May 23, 1962 under the supervision of the Director of Public Works, Lucien L'Allier, the "father of the subway." On June 11, 1963 the construction costs for tunnels being lower than expected, Line 2 was extended by two stations at each end and the new terminus became the Henri-Bourassa and Bonaventure stations. The project, which will employ more than 5,000 workers at its height, and cost the lives of 12 of them, officially ended on October 14, 1966. Unofficially the service was opened gradually between October 1966 and April 1967 as the stations were completed.

Line 3 is cancelled[edit]

1961 project, showing the third line.

A third line was planned. It was to use Canadian National Railway (CN) tracks from the city center passing under the Mount Royal to reach the northwest suburb of Cartierville. Unlike the previous two lines, it was to be partly running above ground. Negotiations with the CN and municipalities trampled as Montreal was chosen in November 1962 to hold the 1967 Universal Exposition (Expo 67). Having to make a choice, the city decided that a number 4 line linking Montreal to the the South Shore suburbs with a plan similar to those of the early century.[15]

Line 3 was never built and the number was never used again. The railroad, already used for a commuter train to the North Shore at Deux-Montagnes, was completely renovated in early 1990 and became unofficially the planned third line. The next line would thus be numbered 5 (blue line).

Expo 67[edit]

The Montreal municipal administration asked municipalities of the South Shore of the Saint Lawrence River which one would be interested by the Metro and Longueuil got the link. Line 4 (Yellow Line) therefore pass under the river, from Berri-de-Montigny station, junction of lines 1 and 2, to Longueuil. A stop was added in between to access the site of Expo 67, built on two islands of the Hochelaga Archipelago in the river. Saint Helen's Island, on which the station of the same name was build, was massively enlarged and consolidated with several nearby islands (including Ronde Island) using backfill excavated during the construction of the metro. Notre Dame Island, adjacent, was created from scratch with the same material. Line 4 was completed on April 1st, 1967, in time for the opening of the World's Fair.[15]

The first Metro network was completed with the public opening of the yellow line on 28 April 1967. The cities of Montreal, Longueuil and Westmount had assumed the entire cost of construction and equipment of 213.7 million dollars (1.6 billion in 2016). Montreal became the seventh city in North America to operate a subway. The 1960s were very optimistic years. Metro planning did not escape the general exuberance of those years, and a 1967 study″Horizon 2000″[16] imagined a network of 160 kilometers of tunnels for the year 2000.[17]

Extensions and unbuilt lines[edit]

Network evolution, 1966-2007.

In 1970, the Montreal Urban Community (MUC) was created. This group was made of municipalities that occupy the Island of Montreal and the city of Montreal was the biggest participant. MUC's mission was to provide standardized services at a regional level, one of them being transportation. The MUC Transportation Commission was thus created at the same time to serve as prime contractor for the metro extensions. It merged all island transport companies and will become the Société de transport de la communauté urbaine de Montréal (STCUM) in 1985 and then, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) in 2002.

The Montreal Olympics[edit]

The success of the Metro increased the pressure to extend the network to other populated areas, including the suburbs on the Island of Montreal. After getting in May 1970 the 1976 Summer Olympics, a loan of 430 million dollars (2.7 billion in 2016) was approved by the MUC on February 12, 1971 to fund the extensions of Lines 1 and 2 and the construction of a transverse line : Line 5. The Government of Quebec agreed to bear 60% of the costs.

The work on the extensions started October 14, 1971 with line 1 (green) towards the east to reach the site where the Olympic Stadium was to be built and Autoroute 25 (Honoré-Beaugrand station) that could serve as a transfer point for visitors arriving from outside. The extensions were an opportunity to make improvements to the network, such as new trains, larger stations and even semi-automatic control. The first extension was completed in June 1976 just before the Olympics. Line 1 was later extended to the southwest to reach the suburbs of Verdun and LaSalle with the Angrignon as the terminus station, named after the zoo. This station opened in September 1978.

Radisson station on the green line.

In the process, further extensions were planned and in 1975 spending was expected to reach reached 1.6 billion dollars (7.3 billion in 2016). Faced with these soaring costs, the Government of Quebec declared a moratorium May 19, 1976 to the all-out expansion desired by Mayor Drapeau. Tenders were frozen, including those of line 2 after Snowdon and those of line 5 whose works were yet already underway. A struggle then ensued between the MUC and the Government of Quebec as any extension could not be done without the agreement of both parties. The Montreal Transportation Office may had tried to put the government in front of a fait accompli by awarding large contracts to build the tunnel between Namur station and Bois-Franc just before the entry into force of the moratorium.

Moratorium on Metro expansion[edit]

Acadie station on the blue line.

In 1977, the newly elected government partially lifted the moratorium on the extension of Line 2 and the construction of Line 5. The orange line was gradually extended westward to Place-Saint-Henri (1980) and Snowdon (1981). As the stations were completed, the service was extended. In December 1979 Québec presented its "integrated transport plan" in which Line 2 was to be tunneled to Du College and Line 5 from Snowdon to Anjou but in which there were no other underground lines proposed, the government preferring the option of converting existing railway lines to overground Metro ones. The mayors of the MUC, initially reluctant, accepted this plan when Quebec promised in February 1981 to totally finance future extensions. The moratorium was then modestly lifted on Line 2 that reached Du College (1984) and finally Côte-Vertu (1986). This line took the form of a "U" linking the north of the island to the city center and serving two very populous axes.

The various moratoriums and technical difficulties encountered during the construction of the fourth line stretched its realization over fourteen years. This line number 5 (blue), which runs through the center of the island of Montreal, crossed in 1986 the east branch of Line 2 (Jean-Talon station) and its west branch in 1988 (Snowdon metro). Because it is not crowded, STCUM at first operated the line weekdays from 5:30 am to 7:30 pm and was circulating 3 cars trains. Students from the University of Montreal, the main source of customers, will obtain extension of the closing time to 11:10 pm and then 0:15 am in 2002.

Recession and unfinished projects[edit]

Metro lines and MUC proposed expansions in 1984.

In the late 1980s, the original network length had nearly quadrupled in twenty years and exceeded that of Toronto, but the plans did not stoped there. In its 1983-1984 scenario, the MUC planned a new underground line 7 (Pie-IX to Montreal-Nord) and several surface lines numbered 6 (Du Collège to Repentigny), 8 (Radisson to Pointe-aux-Trembles), 10 (Vendôme to Lachine) and 11 (Angrignon to LaSalle). In 1985 however, a new government in Quebec rejected the project, replacing the metro lines by commuter train lines in its own 1988 transport plan. Yet the provincial elections of 1989 approaching, the line 7 project reappeared and the extension of Line 5 to Anjou (Pie-IX Viau, Lacordaire, Langelier and Galeries d'Anjou) and Line 2 northward (Deguire / Poirier, Bois-Franc and Salaberry) was announced.

The arrival of the 1990s was characterized by a significant deficit in public finances across Canada, especially in Quebec and an economic recession. The metro ridership decreased and the Government of Quebec removed subsidies for the operation of urban public transport. Faced with this situation, the extensions projects were put on hold and the MUC prioritized the renovation of its infrastructures.

Ridership increased by 60,000 a day with the new stations, as of 2009.[18]

Vision 2020[edit]

In December 2011, Agence Métropolitaine de Transport announced a "Vision 2020" plan and studies on expanding the Blue Line towards the borough of Anjou and the Orange Line towards Bois-Franc train station.[19] On September 20, 2013 the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) and provincial government announced the extension of the Blue Line east as far as Anjou, with five new stations. It was expected to be completed by the early 2020s.

After the Parti Québecois lost the 2014 provincial election, the future of the Blue Line extension came into question. The Liberal government of Philippe Couillard has instead expressed interest to extend a mass-transit line in some capacity to the West Island, and to implement an LRT line on the future replacement of the Champlain Bridge underway.

Because of new funding for infrastructure in 2016 from the federal government, the Blue Line will have five new stops added, according to the STM.[20]


A train at Berri-UQAM during rush hour

The Montreal Metro consists of four lines,[21] which are usually identified by their colour or terminus station. The terminus station in the direction of travel is used to differentiate between directions of travel. The busiest line is the Orange Line, while the least is the Blue Line. The Yellow Line is the shortest line, with three stations, built for Expo 67. On April 28, 2007, three new stations were opened in Laval along the Orange Line. Metro lines that leave the Île de Montréal are the Orange Line, which continues to Laval, and the Yellow Line, which continues to Longueuil. On weekdays and Saturday and Sundays, the Metro service runs from approximately 5:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. on the Green, Orange and Yellow lines and 5:30 a.m. to 12:15 a.m. on the Blue line. The busiest station on the network is Berri UQAM, which connects the Orange, Green and Yellow lines.[21]

Line # Colour From To Year First Opened Year Last Extended Length Stations Rush Hour Train Frequency Off-Peak Frequency
1 Green Angrignon Honoré-Beaugrand 1966 1978 22.1 km 27 2–4 minutes 4–10 minutes
2 Orange Côte-Vertu Montmorency 1966 2007 30.0 km 31 2–4 minutes 4–10 minutes
4 Yellow Berri-UQAM Longueuil–Université-de-Sherbrooke 1967 1967 4.25 km 3 4–6 minutes 10 minutes
5 Blue Snowdon Saint-Michel 1986 1988 9.7 km 12 3–5 minutes 6–10 minutes


Metro service starts at 05:30 and stops at 01:00 on weekdays and Sunday, and 01:30 on Saturday. However, the Blue Line stops service earlier, at 00:15 due to lower passenger volumes. During rush hour, there are two to five minutes between trains on the Orange and Green Lines. The frequency, however, decreases to 12 minutes during late nights.

The STM operates both the Metro and the bus services in Montreal, and thus transfers between bus and Metro are free. Fare payment is via a barrier system, including magnetic tickets and passes, as well as a RFID card.[citation needed]

Fares are partially integrated with the Agence métropolitaine de transport's commuter rail system, which links the Metro to the outer suburbs via five interchange stations.

Lionel-Groulx Metro station


Main article: OPUS card
OPUS card reader at Bonaventure Metro Station

On April 21, 2008, the STM unveiled the OPUS contactless smart card as a means of fare payment. In preparation for this new step in Montreal's public transportation network, turnstiles which incorporate the reader and automated vending machines had already been installed in metro stations; buses had previously been fitted with new fare boxes that incorporate the card reader, in order to ensure the uniformity of methods of payment across Montreal's transit network and that of its suburbs.

The smart card provides seamless integration with other transit networks of neighbouring cities, eliminating the need to carry small change or purchase different tickets. The commuter train service, run by the Agence métropolitaine de transport, requires the purchasing of a ticket different from those offered by the STM. Unlike the magnetic stripe cards previously in use, which had been sold alongside the new OPUS cards up until May 2009, the contactless smart card is not at risk of becoming demagnetized and rendered useless, and does not require patrons to slide the card through a reader.

Costs to the STM related to the project are approximately $138 million, compared to the original estimated cost of some $100 million. The project was originally supposed to be implemented in 2006.


A MétroVision screen at Place-des-Arts station.

Metro stations are equipped with the MétroVision information screens which display advertising, news headlines and weather information from RDI and MétéoMédia, as well as STM-specific information regarding service changes, service delays and information pertaining to using the system. Since the end of 2014 the STM has installed screens in all of the 68 metro stations. Berri-UQAM station was the first station to have these screens installed.[22]


De La Concorde Metro station.
One of the entrances to the Square-Victoria-OACI metro station looks like a Paris Métro station. This original Hector Guimard gate was a gift from the city of Paris.

The design of the Metro was heavily influenced by Montreal's winter conditions. Unlike other cities' metros, nearly all station entrances in Montreal are completely enclosed; usually they are in small, separate buildings with swivelling doors meant to mitigate the wind caused by train movements that can make doors difficult to open. Furthermore, the entire system runs underground.

All separate entrances are set back from the sidewalk; as well, several stations in Downtown Montreal are directly connected to buildings, and thus have several entrances inside existing buildings and street-level entrances, making the Metro an integral part of Montreal's underground city. Several metro entrances are also located within building facades. Only three stations have open entrances, which are prevalent in other cities.


The Montreal Metro had been a rather late adopter of accessibility compared to many subway systems (including those older than the Metro), much to the dismay of accessibility advocates in Montreal.[23] The first accessible stations on the system were the three stations in Laval, Cartier, De la Concorde and Montmorency which opened in 2007 as part of the Orange Line extension. Four existing stations - Lionel-Groulx, Berri-UQAM, Henri-Bourassa, and Cote-Vertu had been made accessible during the course of 2009 to 2010.[24] Bonaventure is equipped with elevators between the platforms and ticket hall; however, elevators connecting the latter to the street level have not yet been installed.

To date, there are nine accessible stations on the system, all of which along the Orange Line (though some are interchange stations): Côte-Vertu, Lionel-Groulx, Champ-de-Mars, Berri-UQAM (orange line only), Henri-Bourassa, Cartier, De la Concorde, Montmorency, Jean-Talon (orange line only), and most recently, Snowdon. As of July 2016, elevator installation works are underway at Rosemont, Place-d'Armes, and Honoré-Beaugrand, have been announced for Du Collège, Viau, and Mont-Royal.

One much-discussed issue is the lack of elevators at Vendôme, the station serving the new McGill University Health Centre mega-hospital. It was decided that retrofitting the existing entrance building for elevators would be prohibitively expensive; as a result, in December 2015, the Quebec government announced funding for the construction of a second entrance building for the station, which will include a direct underground connection to the hospital and will be wheelchair-accessible.[25] In the meantime, the STM has set up a bus line, 77 CUSM/Station Lionel-Groulx, connecting the wheelchair-accessible Lionel-Groulx station with the hospital.

Architectural design and public art[edit]

Montreal's metro is renowned for its architecture and public art. Under the direction of Drapeau, a competition among Canadian architects was held to decide the design of each station, ensuring that every station was built in a different style by a different architect. Several stations, such as Berri-UQAM, are important examples of modernist architecture, and various system-wide design choices were informed by the International Style.

Along with the Stockholm Metro, Montreal pioneered the installation of public art in the metro among capitalist countries, a practice that beforehand was mostly found in socialist and communist nations (the Moscow Metro being a case in point). More than fifty stations are decorated with over one hundred works of public art, such as sculpture, stained glass, and murals by noted Quebec artists, including members of the famous art movement, the Automatistes.

Some of the most important works in the Metro include the stained-glass window at Champ-de-Mars station, the masterpiece of major Quebec artist Marcelle Ferron; and the Guimard entrance at Square-Victoria-OACI station, like the famous metro entrances designed for the Paris Métro, on permanent loan[26] since 1966 by the RATP to commemorate its cooperation in constructing the metro. Installed in 1967 (the 100th anniversary of Guimard's birth), this is the only authentic Guimard entrance in use outside Paris, although reproductions using original moulds were given to Mexico City (Metro Bellas Artes on line 8), Chicago (Van Buren Station on the Metra network), Lisbon (Picoas station on the yellow line) and Moscow (Kievskaya station on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya).

Rolling stock[edit]

The Montreal Metro's 759-car fleet runs entirely underground and uses exclusively rubber tires instead of steel wheels. As noted in the STM official document, The Montreal Métro, a source of pride, the Metro runs entirely underground because the cars are not weatherproof and the electrical system would be severely affected by rain and melting snow.

Conception of the first generation of rolling stock in Montreal went beyond just adopting the MP 59 metro car from Paris.

North American cities building modern metro systems (Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Atlanta, Montreal) in the 1960s and 1970s were in search of modern rolling stock that not only best fit their needs, but also encompassing a change in industrial design that focused on the aesthetics and performance of public transit vehicles.

Unlike the metro cars of most other systems, Montreal's cars do not have air conditioning.[27] The claim, stated by the STM, is that the metro is built entirely underground and air conditioning would heat the tunnels potentially creating a larger problem. The Montreal trains are among the oldest North American metro trains in service - the Canadian Vickers MR-63 dates back to the system's opening in 1966 and the Bombardier Transportation MR-73 to 1976 - but extended longevity is expected of rolling stock operated under fully sheltered conditions. The lack of air conditioning can make trips uncomfortable for passengers.[28] Passengers cannot move between cars once on board with the current train stock, which can be an inconvenience if the car becomes overcrowded or when looking for a seat. The trains are 2.5 m (8.20 ft) wide, narrower than the trains used by most other North American metro systems. This narrow width limits the train capacity, but allows the use of single tunnels (for both tracks) in construction of the metro lines.[29] In response to overcrowding on the orange line, a redesign of the MR-73 cars removed some seats to provide more standing room. The new Bombardier MPM-10 (AZUR) trains will allow passengers to move between cars once on board.


View of a track from a sandpile bumper post showing the cross-section of guide bars, concrete rollways and conventional track

Montreal's metro trains are made of LAHT (low-alloy high-tensile) steel, painted blue with a thick white stripe running lengthwise. Trains are assembled in three, six or nine-car lengths. Each three-car segment element consists of two motor cab cars encompassing a trailer car. Each car is 2.5 m (8 ft 2 38 in) wide and has four wide bi-parting leaf doors on each side for rapid passenger entry and egress. The small cross section of the cars allows easier tunnel construction under existing underground utilities. The total capacity of each car is 160 passengers, 39 to 40 of which are seated. Design specifications called for station dwell times of typically 8 to 15 seconds.

Each car has two sets of bogies (trucks), each with four sets of support tires, guide tires and backup conventional steel wheels. The motor cars each have four direct-current traction motors coupled to reduction gears and differentials. Montreal's metro trains use electromagnetic brakes, which create retarding forces against the side rails of the track. The electromagnetic brakes are generated by the train's kinetic energy until it has slowed down to about 10 km/h (6.2 mph). The train then uses composite brake blocks made of yellow birch injected with peanut oil to bring it to a complete stop. Two sets are applied against the treads of the steel wheels for friction braking. Hard braking produces a characteristic burnt popcorn scent. Wooden brake shoes perform well, but if subjected to numerous high-speed applications they develop a carbon film that diminishes brake performance.[citation needed]

Rubber tires on the Montreal Metro transmit minimal vibration and help the cars climb uphill more easily and negotiate turns at high speeds. However, the advantages of rubber tires are offset by noise levels generated by traction motors, which are noisier than the typical North American metro car. Trains can climb grades of up to 6.5%[citation needed]and economize the most energy when following a humped-station profile (track profiles that descend to accelerate after leaving a station and climb before entering the station). Steel-wheel train technology has undergone significant advances and can better round tight curves, and climb and descend similar grades and slopes but despite these advances, steel-wheel trains still cannot operate at high speeds (45 mph or 72 km/h) on the same steep or tightly curved track profiles as a train equipped with rubber tires.

Train operation[edit]

Switches use conventional points on the standard gauge track to guide trains. Rubber tires, rolling on concrete rollways, keep supporting the full weight of the trains as they go through switches. Guideways are provided in order to ensure there are no gaps in the electrical power supply.
Marks on the floor indicate where the doors will open

All lines but the Yellow Line are equipped with automatic train control. Generally, the train operator does the closing of doors and starts the DA (Départ automatique, automatic departure), and then the train drives itself. The train operator can also drive the train manually at his or her discretion. Signalling is effected through coded pulses sent through the rails. Coded speed orders and station stop positions transmitted through track beacons are captured by beacon readers mounted under the driver cabs. The information sent to the train's electronic modules conveys speed information, and it is up to the train automatic control system computer to conform to the imposed speed. Additionally, the train computer can receive energy-saving instructions from track beacons, providing the train with four different economical coasting modes, plus one mode for maximum performance. In case of manual control, track speed is displayed on the cab speedometer indicating the maximum permissible speed. The wayside signals consist of point (switch/turnout) position indicators in proximity to switches and inter-station signalling placed at each station stop. Trains often reach their maximum speed of 70–72 km/h (43.5–44.7 mph) in 16 to 26 seconds depending on grade and load.

Trains are programmed to stop at certain station positions with a precise odometer (accurate to plus or minus five centimetres). They receive their braking program and station stop positions orders (one-third, two-thirds, or end of station) from track beacons prior to entering the station, with additional beacons in the station for ensuring stop precision. The last beacon is positioned at precisely 12 turns of wheels from the end of the platform, which help improve the overall precision of the system.

Trains draw current from two sets of 750-volt direct current guide bar/third rails on either side of each motor car. Nine-car trains draw large currents of up to 6,000 amperes[citation needed], requiring that all models of rolling stock have calibrated traction motor control systems to prevent power surges, arcing and breaker tripping. Both models have electrical braking (using motors) to assist primary friction braking, reducing the need to replace the brake pads.

The trains are equipped with double coverage broadband radio systems, provided by Thales Group.[30]

Train models[edit]

The Montreal Metro uses three models of metro cars:

The oldest MR-63s have been in service since 1966. They were produced by the Canadian Vickers and mostly circulate on the Green line and are currently in the process of being retired.

The MR-73 have been in use since 1976 (and have been refurbished between 2005-2008). They were constructed by Bombardier. Those trains run on the Blue and Orange lines. They will soon be migrating to the Green line as newer Azur trains are being deployed on the Orange Line.

The brand new MPM-10 "Azur" model, which entered service in 2016. The STM is planning to replace the old MR-63 model with the Azur trains, and will result wuth the retirement of the MR-63 trains after over 50 years of service. The new model will have fully connected train wagons that allow passengers to move from one end of the train to the other.[31]

Maintenance facilities[edit]

Rolling stock maintenance is effected in three facilities, in two locations.

Plateau d'Youville[edit]

The Plateau d'Youville facility in the north end of the city is located at the intersection of Crémazie and Saint-Laurent Boulevards.

It provides heavy maintenance of buses, metro cars, light maintenance of MR-73 metro cars and is the main base for the track maintenance workshops (where track sections are pre-assembled prior to installation).

Beaugrand Garage[edit]

An older generation MR-63 train is in the Beaugrand Garage. Note the turntable to change trucks in the foreground.

The Beaugrand Garage is located east of line 1 terminus Honoré-Beaugrand. It is entirely underground, and its main access point is through the Honoré-Beaugrand station.

It has seven tracks to accommodate light maintenance on MR-63 metro cars and two test tracks.[32]

Centre d'attachement Duvernay[edit]

Duvernay is a garage and base for maintenance of way equipment. It accesses the network through the line 1/line 2 interchange southeast of Lionel-Groulx. The access building is located at the corner of Duvernay and Vinet streets in Sainte-Cunégonde.

Centre d'attachement Viau[edit]

Viau is a garage and base for maintenance of way equipment. It accesses the network immediately west of the Viau station (line 1). The access building is within the Viau station building; in fact, facilities are visible from trains going west of the station.


Heavy work trains are hauled with sizeable tractors such as this old (1966) "Duplex". Traction is effected through the rubber-tired wheels, and guidance through the retractable flanged wheel. This tractor can also operate on the road.

The interchange track between lines 2 and 5 south/west of Snowdon station is used for the storage of maintenance of way equipment. There are no surface facilities.

The tail tracks west of Snowdon station extend about 790 metres west of the station, reaching the border of the city of Hampstead. The end of the track is marked by an emergency exit on the corner of Queen Mary and Dufferin Roads.


Idle trains are stored in four garages: Angrignon (west of Angrignon line 1 terminus), Beaugrand (east of Honoré-Beaugrand line 1 terminus), Saint-Charles (north of Henri-Bourassa terminus) and Montmorency. The latter has been built perpendicular to its station to allow an easier potential expansion of the Line 2 deeper in Laval territory.

Future projects[edit]

City of Montreal[edit]

On June 12, 2008 the City of Montreal released its overall transportation plan for the immediate future. In addition to service improvements in bus and rail, the following projects were given priority status in the overall transportation scheme:

De La Savane Station
Vendôme Station
  • A new extension of the Yellow Line from Berri-UQAM is being studied in the long term that would go to McGill station to ease congestion on that part of the Green Line.[35]
  • A 2006 study rejected the possibility and cost of an extension from Lionel-Groulx to the City of Brossard on the south shore of Montreal as an alternative to the proposed light rail project in the Champlain bridge corridor.

City of Longueuil[edit]

City of Laval[edit]

  • On July 22, 2007, the mayor of Laval, Gilles Vaillancourt, with the ridership success of the current Laval extension, announced his wish to loop the Orange Line from Montmorency to Côte-Vertu stations with the addition of six (or possibly seven) new stations (three in Laval and another three in Montreal). He proposed that Transports Quebec, the provincial transport department, set aside $100 million annually to fund the project, which is expected to cost upwards of $1.5 billion.[38] See also City of Montreal (Orange Line) above.
  • On May 26, 2011, the mayor of Laval, Gilles Vaillancourt, after the successful opening of highway 25 toll bridge in the eastern part of Laval, proposed that Laval, in the next decades, will develop the remaining territories with a transit oriented development (TOD) approach called "Évolucité". At the heart of the project is a plan of building five new metro stations: four on the west branch of the Orange Line and one more on the east branch. The next to last station on the west branch will act as a corresponding station between the east branch and the west branch of the Orange Line; the finished line should look like this:

Future Line 2 orange of the (West Branch to East Branch)[edit]

West Island[edit]

Pioneer in tunnel advertising[edit]

In the early years of the Montreal Metro's life, a unique mode of advertising was used. In some downtown tunnels, cartoons depicting an advertiser's product were mounted on the walls of the tunnel at the level of the cars' windows. A retail film processing outfit called Direct Film advertised on the north wall in the Westbound track of the Guy (now Guy-Concordia)-to-Atwater Station (Green Line) during 1967-1969. Strobe lights, aimed at the frames of the cartoon and triggered by the passing train, sequentially illuminated the images so that they appeared to the viewer (passenger) on the train as a movie.[39] Today known as "tunnel movies" or "tunnel advertising", they have been installed in many cities' metros around the world in recent years,[40] for example in the Southgate tube station in London, the MBTA Red Line in Boston, MARTA in Atlanta, the DC Metro, San Francisco's Montgomery Bay Area Rapid Transit station, and on the North South MRT Line on the Mass Rapid Transit of Singapore.[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bombardier to lay off 145 workers in La Pocatière over Metro car production stall". CBC News. January 23, 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Transit Ridership Report, First Quarter, 2014" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. May 21, 2014. p. 32. Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  3. ^ a b "Transit Ridership Report, Fourth Quarter, 2013" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. February 14, 2014. p. 31. Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  4. ^ a b Montreal Metro at
  5. ^ a b Montreal Metro at
  6. ^ Yonah Freemark September 18th, 2009 (2009-09-18). "Montréal and Québec Leaders Announce "Irreversible" Decision to Expand Métro « The Transport Politic". Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c (Clairoux 2001, p. 11).
  9. ^ "Le Metro de Montreal : les projets 1902-1953". (in French). Retrieved 2016-10-24. 
  10. ^ "Company timeline". Société de transport de Montréal. Retrieved 2016-10-24. 
  11. ^ a b Gilbert, Dale. "Montréal Metro". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2016-10-24. 
  12. ^ (Clairoux 2001, p. 13).
  13. ^ a b "Métro history". Société de transport de Montréal. Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  14. ^ (Clairoux 2001, p. 21).
  15. ^ a b Bureau de transport métropolitain (1983). Le métro de Montréal (in French). Bibliothèque nationale du Québec: Bureau de transport métropolitain. ISBN 2-920295-19-5. 
  16. ^ "Le film Horizon 2000 dévoilé en 1967 !". (in French). Archives de Montréal. Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  17. ^ "Le futur n'était-il pas magnifique?". Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  18. ^ "Métro à Laval : Un succès sur toute la ligne | Montréal". Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  19. ^ "Railway Gazette: Montréal's 2020 vision". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  20. ^ "Ottawa investirait dans le prolongement du métro de Montréal". Métro (in French). Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  21. ^ a b "Useful info > Networks > Métro [map]". Société de transport de Montréal (STM). Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ Sutherland, Anne (2010-12-15). "Métro elevator plans stall". Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  24. ^ ""Les ascenseurs des stations Lionel-Groulx et Berri-UQAM maintenant en service." ''Métro'' (Montreal). 14 September 2009. Accessed 20 September 2009". 2010-12-21. Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  25. ^ Shaffer, Marie-Ève (December 18, 2015). "". Métro. Retrieved 24 July 2016.  External link in |title= (help)
  26. ^ Interview Pierre Bourgeau by SRC oct 2006
  27. ^ ""Métro et autobus: chaud débat sur la climatisation" ''Rue Frontenac'' (Montreal). 31 August 2010. Accessed 9 October 2010". 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  28. ^ "Montreal's Car-Free Day Week: The Target Market, The Image, the Underground Heat". 2010-09-21. Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  29. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  30. ^ "Thales Awarded Communications System Contract for Montreal Metro" (Press release). Thales. November 30, 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Visite du garage Honoré-Beaugrand". Marc Dufour. Retrieved 2013-04-10. 
  33. ^
  34. ^ "Ville de Montréal - Plan de transport - Le métro". Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  35. ^ "Deux nouvelles stations en vue". 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  36. ^ Grenier, Jean-Claude (11/12/2008). "Le maire de Longueuil réitère l'importance de prolonger le métro vers Edouard-Montpetit" (in French). 24 Heures.  Check date values in: |date= (help);
  37. ^ a b c d Lapointe, Diane (2009-04-04). "EXCLUSIF - Prolongement du métro : Longueuil veut que le projet aboutisse" (in French). Le Courrier du Sud. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  38. ^ CA (2007-07-22). "Courrier Laval — Actualités — Montréal a bien d'autres priorités". Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  39. ^ " | Register with Confidence". Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  40. ^ "PingMag - The Tokyo-based magazine about "Design and Making Things" " Archive " Top 10 ad-tricks in Tokyo's train stations". 2006-10-13. Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  41. ^ "Moving Tunnel Ads Debut in D.C. | Business solutions from". Retrieved 2011-03-10. 


  • Benoît Clairoux. (2001). "Le Métro de Montréal 35 ans déjà" Éditions Hurtubise HMH. 160 p. ISBN 978-2-89428-526-8. (French)

External links[edit]