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Réseau express métropolitain

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Réseau express métropolitain
An REM train at Brossard Station
An REM train at Brossard Station
OwnerCDPQ Infra
LocaleGreater Montreal
Transit typeLight metro
Number of lines1 (3 branches)
Number of stations5 (20 under construction)
Daily ridership190,000 (projected)[1]
Began operation31 July 2023; 10 months ago (2023-07-31)
Number of vehicles212 Alstom Metropolis Saint-Laurent[2]
Train length2 or 4 cars[3]
System length
  • 16.6 km (10.3 mi) (first phase)[4]
  • 67 km (42 mi)[5]
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
ElectrificationOverhead line1,500 V DC
Average speed51 km/h (32 mph)
Top speed100 km/h (62 mph)
System map
Des Sources
Montréal–Trudeau International Airport
Trudeau Airport
Du Ruisseau
Du Quartier

The Réseau express métropolitain (REM; lit.'Metropolitan Express Network') is a light metro rapid transit system in Greater Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It consists of five stations and connects Downtown Montreal with the suburb of Brossard.[6] Extensions to the western Montreal suburbs and Montréal–Trudeau International Airport are under construction and will open in two stages in 2025 and 2027.[7][8] A portion of the route was taken over from the Exo commuter rail Deux-Montagnes line and is being converted to light metro standards.

The 67-kilometre (42 mi) light metro rail system is projected to cost CA$7.95 billion.[9] It is independent of, but connects to and hence complements, the existing Montreal Metro, operated by the STM. Trains on the network are fully automated and driverless,[10] and the stations are completely enclosed and climate controlled, featuring platform screen doors.[11]

The line has been built by CDPQ Infra, a subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, an institutional investor that manages various public and parapublic pension plans and insurance programs in Quebec.


On 13 January 2015, Quebec premier Philippe Couillard and Michael Sabia, CEO of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), agreed to a partnership in which the Crown corporation could assume financing for major transportation projects in the province, with CA$7.4 billion planned to be spent on infrastructure from 2014 to 2024.[12] Two of these projects were the South Shore Line and the Train de l'Ouest toward the West Island, which eventually merged to become the core of the REM project.[13]

On 22 April 2016, Sabia and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre unveiled the project, then known as the Réseau électrique métropolitain, to the media.[14] The estimated completion date for the first portion of the system was December 2020.[14] On 22 June 2016, CDPQ Infra published two requests for qualification: one for the engineering, procurement, and construction contract and the other for the rolling stock, systems, operation, and maintenance. The estimated values of the two contracts are $4 billion and $1.5 billion respectively.[15]

On 25 November 2016, CDPQ Infra announced the addition of three new stations to the project. These new stations—Central Station, McGill, and Édouard-Montpetit—would improve downtown Montreal service by integrating the REM with the Metro system through connections to the Orange, Green and Blue Lines. Included with news of the three new stations was an increased price tag of $5.9 billion for the entire project.[16][17]

On 15 June 2017, the Government of Canada pledged $1.28 billion to finance the project,[18] completing the financing of the project. Construction on the project was announced as starting at the end of 2017.

On 1 December 2017, the CDPQ extended the tender process on the project to the end of January 2018, citing a need for additional discussions with the bidders.[19]


On 28 June 2016, CDPQ Infra launched two public tenders in parallel: one for "Engineering, Procurement and Construction" (EPC, or "Ingénierie, Approvisionnement et Construction des infrastructures" (IAC) in French), and a second, for "Rolling Stock, Systems and Operation and Maintenance Services" (RSSOM, or "Fourniture du Matériel Roulant, de Systèmes de conduite automatique et de Services d'Exploitation et de Maintenance" (MRSEM) in French).[20][21] Following a prequalification phase, the Caisse's subsidiary announced, on 10 November 2016, the qualified candidates that would be allowed to submit a bid:

Ansaldo STS-Hitachi and China Railway International Co. were not allowed to bid.[22]

According to La Presse, final bids were submitted to CDPQ Infra on 27 October 2017.[24] On 10 November 2017, the date of the planned announcement of the selected contractors, the procurement process was "postponed indefinitely" to provide more time for analysis and evaluation of the bids received.[25] On 8 February 2018, CDPQ Infra finally announced its selection: the Groupe NouvLR consortium for the EPC contract (SNC-Lavalin Grands Projets, Dragados, Aecon, Pomerleau, EBC, and AECOM) and the Groupe des Partenaires pour la Mobilité des Montréalais for the RSSOM contract (Alstom and SNC-Lavalin O&M).[23][26] The contracts' total value is estimated to be around $6.3 billion, of which approximately 80% is for the EPC contract.[27]


Preparatory work began in late March 2018.[28] On 12 April 2018, the project officially broke ground.[29]

In December 2019, CDPQ revised the capital cost of the project to $6.5 billion, an increase of $230 million.[30][31]

In October 2020, the tunnel boring machine "Alice" (named after Canadian geologist Alice Wilson) started the tunnelling process.[32]

In November 2020, a disruption from an "unexpected" explosion during the renovation of the Mount Royal Tunnel, likely caused by leftover century-old explosives, delayed the opening of the central section of the REM from 2022 to 2023.[33]

In June 2021, CDPQ updated the project cost to $6.9 billion, an increase of $350 million, citing impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic in Montreal.[34][35] In June 2022, CDPQ Infra acknowledged that construction issues with the Mount Royal Tunnel,[36] labour shortages, and material supply issues would postpone the opening of most REM stations to 2024. The delay had also resulted in higher costs for the project overall, exceeding the previously projected budget of $6.9 billion.[37] No new estimate of the project cost was provided.

Operational history[edit]

Network opening ceremony

The first five stations on the network, between Central Station and Brossard, opened for full service on 31 July 2023.[38][39] An opening ceremony was held on 28 July 2023, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier of Quebec François Legault, Mayor of Montreal Valérie Plante, president and CEO of CDPQ Charlies Emond, and president and CEO of CDPQ Infra Jean-Marc Arbaud inaugurating the line.[40]

On the weekend of 29–30 July 2023, free service was available to the public.[41][42] On the first day of public access, over 20,000 people rode the REM in the morning, prompting staff to turn away new riders.[43]

Within the first three days of revenue operation, the new line suffered a number of service disruptions caused by stuck railway switches and computer issues. A spokesperson remarked that "there's always some adjustments to be made" with a new system on the scale of the REM.[44][45][46][47]

As of 11 September 2023, the system had carried more than 1 million passengers, with daily ridership of more than 30,000 for the month following its opening.[48] In April 2024, CDPQ announced that weekday ridership had increased again, with "up to 36,000 daily riders".[49]

Future sections[edit]

Further sections of the line are planned to open in stages, with eighteen stations opening in mid-2025.[8] A further extension to Montréal–Trudeau International Airport is planned to open in 2027.[50] At present, the opening date of Griffintown–Bernard-Landry station has not been confirmed.[50]


A train travels between Du Quartier and Brossard

The primary route follows the Mount Royal Tunnel, where new underground stations are being built to connect with the existing McGill and Édouard-Montpetit Metro stations. A new connection to the Mascouche commuter rail line is being built near the A-40 at the Côte-de-Liesse station to allow this line, which previously used the tunnel, to have access to downtown.

Southeast from Central Station, the line follows existing rail lines until Marc-Cantin Street, where it transitions to an elevated guideway and crosses to Nuns' Island, and then uses a rail deck constructed on the new Champlain Bridge to cross the St. Lawrence River. Three stations in Brossard on the South Shore have been built: Panama, connecting to the existing bus terminal; Du Quartier, directly connected to the DIX30 commercial district; and Brossard, the site of a bus terminal built along with the station, along with the line's maintenance depot.

The northwest branch will be a conversion of the Deux-Montagnes line, with a second track added beyond Bois-Franc station and all at-grade crossings eliminated. On the West Island, a new airport branch will separate from the main line near the A-13, with a stop at Technoparc Montreal, before terminating at Montréal–Trudeau International Airport. The main West Island branch will follow an existing freight rail spur through Pointe-Claire, then follow the A-40 just east of St-Jean Boulevard and continue through Kirkland before ending in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. These lines will be mostly elevated to avoid at-grade crossings.

In the city centre, Central Station connects with the Orange Line at Bonaventure, and two more stations will also connect with existing Metro lines: McGill will connect with the Green Line[17] and Édouard-Montpetit will connect with the Blue Line.[17]


REM route map
Map of the proposed REM network
Passengers prepare to board at Brossard Station

The REM will consist of 26 stations on three branches. Twelve of these stations are on the former suburban Deux-Montagnes line and will become part of the REM after being converted to rapid transit standards. Several have received new names since the project's inception.[51] All stations on the REM will be accessible, and Metro interchange stations at McGill and Édouard-Montpetit will also be retrofitted for accessibility.[52]

Main line[edit]

All stations on the main line of the Réseau express métropolitain are projected to have a train frequency of 2.5 minutes during rush hour and 5 minutes at other times, both toward Brossard station and toward the three different branches.[53]

Station Opening for REM[50] Opened Parking spaces[51] Bike racks Connections Location
Brossard 31 July 2023[38] 2,950 50 Bus transport Terminus Brossard Brossard
Du Quartier 74 Bus transport RTL
Panama 700 200 Bus transport Terminus Panama
Île-des-Sœurs 20 STM Verdun
Griffintown–Bernard-Landry[54] 2027[55] STM Le Sud-Ouest
Central Station 31 July 2023[38] 1943 Ville-Marie
McGill Q2 2025[8] 1966
  • at McGill
  • STM
  • RÉSO underground city
Édouard-Montpetit 1988 30 Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce
Canora 1918 100 STM
Ville-de-Mont-Royal 1918 60 STM Mont Royal
Côte-de-Liesse Q2 2025[8] 35 Saint-Laurent
Montpellier 1918 60 STM
Du Ruisseau 1994 1,060 45 STM
Bois-Franc 1994 740 120 STM

Deux-Montagnes branch[edit]

Trains on the Deux-Montagnes branch are projected to run every five minutes during rush hour and every fifteen minutes at other times.

Station Opening for REM[50] Opened Parking spots Bike racks Connections Location
Sunnybrooke Q2 2025[8] 1994 400 40 STM Pierrefonds-Roxboro
Pierrefonds-Roxboro 1944 1,140 80 STM
Île-Bigras 1995 45 20 None Laval
Sainte-Dorothée 1995 975 45 Bus transport STL
Grand-Moulin 1925[58] 304[59] 44 Bus transport Exo Deux-Montagnes
Deux-Montagnes 1995 1,256[60] 247 Bus transport Exo

Anse-à-l'Orme branch[edit]

Trains on the Anse-à-l'Orme (formerly Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue) branch of the Réseau express métropolitain are projected to run every ten minutes during rush hour and every fifteen minutes at other times.

Station Planned opening[50] Parking spots Bike racks Connections Location
Des Sources Q2 2025[8] 500 20 STM Pointe-Claire
Fairview–Pointe-Claire 700 50 Terminus Fairview
Kirkland 2,500 30 STM Kirkland
Anse-à-l'Orme 200 20
  • STM
  • Bus transport Exo

YUL–Montréal–Trudeau Airport branch[edit]

Trains on the Airport branch of the Réseau express métropolitain are projected to run every ten minutes during rush hour and every fifteen minutes at other times.

Station Planned opening[50][61] Parking spots Bike racks Connections Location
Marie-Curie 2027[62] STM Saint-Laurent
YUL–Montréal–Trudeau Airport Dorval

Rolling stock[edit]

Alstom Metropolis Saint-Laurent

The Alstom Metropolis Saint-Laurent[63] is a type of light metro train built by Alstom for the Réseau express métropolitain, using the Alstom Metropolis platform. Trains run as a single two-car train at quieter times and as paired four-car trainsets during rush hour.[64] The trains are fully automated (GoA4), with no driver or attendant on board.[64]

In April 2018, a $2.8-billion contract was awarded to Alstom and SNC-Lavalin to deliver a driverless light metro, including rolling stock and automatic signalling, and to operate and maintain the line.[65] This contract included 212 Alstom Metropolis cars, forming 106 two-car trains.[65] Built at Alstom's Sri City plant in India, the trains were delivered to Montreal by ship.[66]

Each two-car train seats 64 passengers

Each two-car train seats 64 passengers, with standing capacity for around 300. A four-car trainset can carry a maximum of 780 people at rush hour.[64][67] The livery is white, grey, and bright green, matching the REM logo.[64] The trains have large front windows, allowing passengers to take in views from the front of the train.[68] A dedicated space for wheelchair users is available, and the trains feature Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and heated floors.[68] CDPQ Infra indicated it is "confident that the trains ... will be able to withstand ... winter conditions", with the trains featuring double glazing, ice-scraping pantographs, and heated automatic couplings.[69] The front lights of the trains are inspired by the Champlain Bridge.[64]

Compared to the Azur trains used on the Montreal Metro, the REM trains use steel wheels rather than rubber tires, are 17% wider, are faster (with a top speed of 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) on the Champlain Bridge), and are fully automated.[67][68] However, the REM trains are shorter and can carry fewer passengers per trainset, although the REM has the ability to increase capacity to meet demand.[67][68] The REM trains are also exposed to the weather, unlike the fully underground metro system.


In a report prepared by the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement [fr] (BAPE), released on 20 January 2017, CDPQ Infra was criticized for failing to provide crucial information on the project's financial model, environmental impact, and impact on ridership levels on existing public transit systems across Greater Montreal. Without such information, the BAPE declared that it was "premature to authorize the approval of this project".[70] The BAPE also stated that CDPQ Infra had not met its obligations with regard to transparency, as it had failed to provide information in a timely fashion on the ridership levels of the REM's three branches.[70] CDPQ Infra was also reproached for not studying the impact of the REM on existing public transit authorities.[70] CDPQ Infra was criticized for not being able to answer questions like how much tickets would cost, whether municipalities served by the REM would have to pay for the necessary infrastructure for access to it, and whether municipalities would have to contribute to the REM's operation.[70]

A lawsuit filed by Coalition Climat further alleged that the REM project violated federalism for a lack of federal assessment of the potential harm to citizens' environmental rights by its potential contribution to noise pollution and urban heat islands. The lawsuit was dismissed by the Quebec Superior Court on 13 December 2017.[71]

Another controversy occurred in November 2019, when Montreal mayor Valerie Plante proposed naming Griffintown's REM station after former Quebec Premier Bernard Landry, who was part of the Parti Québécois. This sparked a backlash from the city's Irish community.[72] As a compromise, the station was named Griffintown–Bernard-Landry, which still proved controversial.[73]

Financial model[edit]

As agreed on in 2018, the financial model underpinning the project requires the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) to pay CDPQ Infra $0.72 for each kilometre traveled by a passenger following the project's opening. This amount will increase with inflation.[74][75] CDPQ expects a rate of return of around 8 or 9 percent over the 99-year period.[75]

Although fare revenues will not fund other transit projects or agencies (such as the Société de transport de Montréal), CDPQ argued that the REM will provide long-term income for pensions, stating, "when a user takes the REM, they are helping to finance their future retirement".[76] CDPQ also argued that the project risk lies with itself and not the provincial government or municipalities.[75]

The project's $6.5-billion construction cost is financed through funding from CDPQ ($3.2 billion), the Government of Quebec ($1.283 billion), the Government of Canada ($1.283 billion), and Hydro-Québec ($295 million).[77]

Proposed lines, stations, and extensions[edit]

On 20 May 2019, the Quebec government announced that it had requested CDPQ Infra to study two REM extensions. One route would extend nearly 20 kilometres (12 mi) north to Carrefour Laval and the other nearly 30 kilometres (19 mi) south to Chambly and St-Jean-sur-Richelieu.[78] The government also made a request to determine the best electrified transit system to be put in place for the East Island, with the possibility of it being a new REM project.[78] The proposal became the REM de l'Est project.

Dorval station[edit]

The federal government requested that the Canada Infrastructure Bank study a possible extension of the REM to Dorval Exo railway station and Dorval Via Rail station to connect with Exo and Via Rail trains.[79] This station would be about a 1-kilometre (0.62 mi) extension from the Airport station. The STM bus station is located south of the CP and CN tracks and west of the Via Rail station.

Bridge–Bonaventure station[edit]

The city of Montreal requested two stations instead of one at Bassin Peel.[80] The second station would be added between Île-des-Soeurs and Griffintown–Bernard-Landry stations.[81][82]

REM de l'Est[edit]

The REM de l'Est was a proposed second REM line that would have been 32 km (20 mi) long and included 23 stations. Announced in 2020,[83][84] it would have used the same technology as the REM but would not be connected directly to the first section of the network.

Beginning a few blocks east of Robert-Bourassa Boulevard (and therefore from Central Station), the line would have run east on an elevated guideway along René-Lévesque Boulevard and Notre-Dame Street until St-Clément Street, where it would have turned north and split into two branches:

In May 2022, the project was abandoned,[85] and as of mid-2023, nothing has been announced about its eventual replacement, which is under study, except that it is to be named Projet structurant de l’Est (PSE) instead of REM.[86]

South Shore "REM 2.0" along Taschereau Boulevard axis[edit]

In partnership with the City of Longueuil and the Municipality of Brossard, the Quebec government announced a proposed extension of the REM through the South Shore of Montreal. This branch was originally referred to as REM 2.0, but was also commonly called the Taschereau REM, and was planned to connect the existing REM line at Terminus Panama to the Montreal metro at Terminus Longueuil.[87] REM 2.0 would follow Taschereau Boulevard for much of its length, superseding earlier proposals for an electric tramway, the East–West Electric Line (Lien électrique est–ouest, or LÉEO),[88] to connect these transit hubs. The government of Quebec suggested that this REM line could ultimately continue in either direction to the municipalities of Châteauguay and Boucherville respectively.[89]

The planned route of the Réseau Express Métropolitain, with the Taschereau REM added. Firmly announced destinations (Terminus Longueuil, Panama station, CEGEP Edouard-Montpetit) are marked with a solid line, and potential destinations are marked with a dotted line (Châteauguay, Boucherville).

Longueuil Mayor Catherine Fournier was present at the REM's inauguration and first rides. During the ride, Fournier made clarifying remarks about REM 2.0, confirming the future of the project. Fournier added that the segments of REM 2.0 along Taschereau Boulevard would be elevated, while the portions along the Quebec Route 132 would be at ground level to service Old Longueuil and beyond.[90][91]

Following the REM's inauguration, Fournier held an interview with La Presse where she indicated that she had taken part in continued conversation with Quebec's Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault, who reiterated the province's interest in the project and stated that the extension was under study. CDPQ Infra responded to the interview, confirming that the project was still planned, with ongoing discussions involving the provincial authorities.[91]

Following this interview, in late 2023, Mayor of Brossard Doreen Assaad announced a plan to construct a new, pedestrianized downtown for Brossard, centred on Panama station, to be completed by 2040.[92][93] The announcement indicated that Brossard would aim to implement a double-track, street-level electric tram along Taschereau Boulevard. In follow-up interviews, Brossard's city administration opposed the construction of an elevated REM extension along the Taschereau corridor, indicating that it was not compatible with its vision for Brossard's new downtown.[94]

Assaad then elaborated on this statement in a press release about road safety on Taschereau Boulevard, stating that the citizens and mayor's office did not see a return on investment for an elevated REM along Taschereau, but would defer to the Government of Quebec as Taschereau Boulevard is a Quebec Route and under provincial jurisdiction.[95] The mayor indicated that the city was designing its future downtown with a lighter mode of public transit to test the feasibility of the REM model and sought to keep the municipality's voice in the conversation.

In an early 2024 press release, CDPQ Infra said that it would be releasing the results of its analysis of the Taschereau REM branch, as well as holding meetings with municipal officials and other relevant parties to inform them of the direction of its upcoming public transit projects.[96] In response to this announcement, Fournier commented that she was supportive of the Taschereau REM project but that Longueuil had not received an update from CDPQ Infra for over a year and a half.

On January 29, 2024, CDPQ Infra announced that it was withdrawing from the proposed extension, leaving local mayors to coordinate any future development of Taschereau Boulevard with the soon-to-be-created provincial government agency for large public transit projects.[97]

See also[edit]


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