New REM Light Rail Launches in Montreal

The first day of public service on the Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM) light rail route was marred by a closure and delays.

1 minute read

August 1, 2023, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

A map of the Réseau Express Métropolitain where it cuts across the Montreal region.

Réseau Express Métropolitain / Réseau Express Métropolitain system map

After a weekend of fanfare and celebrations, the Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM) light-rail route opened to the public on Monday, July 30 in Montreal. The new automated, electric light-rail line will serve five stations between Brossard and downtown Montreal’s Central Station with plans for more.

The first day of public service had a major hiccup, however. “But a breakdown put a cramp in the first day the electric light-rail line took paying passengers across the Champlain Bridge,” according to an article by Jason Magder for the Montreal Gazette.

“The problem was caused by a switch that got stuck, so trains were not able to change tracks, REM spokesperson Jean-Vincent Lacroix said.” Magder also reports that three trains were stranded on the Champlain Bridge as service was delayed for 90 minutes. The system worked smoothly over the weekend—120,000 people used the new train route while operating for free over the weekend.

According to a separate article by Antoni Nerestant for the CBC News, the REM is the largest public transit investment in decades for the Montreal region.

“When it's complete, the network will feature 26 stations that span 67 kilometres and connect riders to Montreal's South Shore, the West Island, western Laval and the town of Deux-Montagnes,” explains Nerestant.  The first phase, which opened this week, covers the southern portion of the project.  

Monday, July 31, 2023 in Montreal Gazette

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