Deux-Montagnes (also designated exo6 and formerly Red Line) was an electrified commuter rail line in Greater Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It was owned by Exo, the organization that operates public transport services throughout the Montreal area.

Line portion between Canora and Mont-Royal in 2015
Line number6
LocaleGreater Montreal
WebsiteExo – Deux-Montagnes line
TypeCommuter rail
Daily ridership28,015 (2018)[1]
Ridership7,284,100 (2018)
Opened1918 (1918)
ClosedDecember 31, 2020 (2020-12-31)
Line length29.9 km (18.6 mi)[2]
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
ElectrificationOverhead line25 kV 60 Hz AC
Operating speed105 km/h (65 mph)
Route map
Deux-Montagnes line
Zone 5
Zone 3
Des Prairies siding
Zone 3
Zone 2
Du Ruisseau
Zone 2
Zone 1
Central Station

The line was created in 1918 as a Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) service. Canadian National Railway (CN) ran the line starting in 1923 following the merger of CNoR into CN. CN transferred the Deux-Montagnes Line to the Société de transport de la communauté urbaine de Montréal (STCUM) on July 1, 1982. The line was refurbished from 1992 to 1995. It was transferred to the RTM's predecessor agency, the Agence Métropolitaine de transport (AMT) on January 1, 1996. The RTM assumed current operation of the line upon its establishment on June 1, 2017. The RTM rebranded its commuter services "exo" in 2018.

On May 11, 2020, service between Bois-Franc and Montreal Central Station was closed due to the construction of Réseau express métropolitain (REM).[3] On December 31, 2020, the Deux-Montagnes line closed permanently in favour of REM service which will operate along the same route.[4]

Overview edit

This line linked Central Station in downtown Montreal with Deux-Montagnes to the northwest of the Island of Montreal.

The line offered frequent service during rush hours (10–30 minute intervals) and hourly service outside rush hours on weekdays. From April 27, 2018, weekend service on the line had been shut down. Prior, there was hourly service on weekends.[5]

The trains were owned and managed by the RTM and are operated by Bombardier Transportation.[6]

Deux-Montagnes, Roxboro-Pierrefonds, and Central Station were wheelchair-accessible.[7]

In 2016, an average of 30,700 people rode this train daily, having almost as many passengers as Montreal's four other commuter railway lines combined. There were 25 inbound and 24 outbound departures each weekday.[8]

On April 22, 2016, it was announced that the Deux-Montagnes line would be converted from commuter rail to automated light metro in 2020, as part of the Réseau express métropolitain network.[9]

History edit

CN service edit

Electric Boxcab locomotive used on the Deux-Montagnes from 1918 to 1995.

The Deux-Montagnes line was built by the Canadian Northern Railway. While other railways including Canadian Pacific and Grand Trunk Railway already had prime downtown locations for their terminal stations, Canadian Northern did not, having only a station out of the way on Moreau Street in Hochelaga.

In 1910, it was decided that the best way for Canadian Northern to get downtown was to drill their way downtown — through Mont Royal. The construction started at both ends and met halfway through with only an inch difference. In 1918 the electrified (2400 V DC catenary), double-track 3.2 mi (5.15 km) tunnel was dubbed Montreal's first subway. Because the tunnel is on a steep grade and inadequately ventilated[10][11] it was decided from the very beginning that the locomotives would be electric. The ventilation shaft is located SW of the intersection of Édouard-Montpetit Boulevard and Vincent-d'Indy Avenue very close to the Édouard-Montpetit Metro Station.[12][13]

The structure gauge of the Mount Royal Tunnel limits the height of bilevel cars to 14 ft 6 in or 4.42 m.[14]

Map of 1927 of the Île de Montréal with the position of the tunnel under Mount Royal shown by dashes on the yellow line. The red line shows a proposed, but never completed, access to Central Station. This is the Doney spur[15]

In order to finance the project, Canadian Northern built a ‘model city’ north of the tunnel, modeled after Washington, D.C. The Town of Mount-Royal has grown to be an upper-income neighbourhood today. Construction began in 1912 and finished in 1918.[16] The first train was pulled by electric locomotive #601 (retired as #6711), which left Tunnel Terminal at 8:30 a.m. on October 21, 1918. The Canadian Northern Railway went bankrupt and was absorbed into what is now Canadian National. Tunnel Terminal was replaced by Central Station in 1943.[citation needed] CN added electric multiple units from Canadian Car and Foundry in 1952.[17]

An Electric Boxcab locomotive hauling CN electric multiple unit coaches in September 1979.

In the 1960s, the first plans were announced to renovate the line, whose equipment was 40 years old at the time. First, it was to become metro line 3 (red), but plans were shelved because of the importance to build line 4 (yellow) for service to Expo 67. With the equipment ageing, and ridership declining, CN wanted to close the line in the 1970s, but their proposals were rejected. The Quebec Ministry of Transport considered using the line for a high-speed connection to Mirabel Airport (Transport rapide régional aéroportuaire Montréal Mirabel, 1974) or as the first line of a BART-style regional metro system (Réseau express de Montréal, 1977; Métro régional, 1979). None of these projects progressed beyond the planning stage.

STCUM and AMT service edit

In 1982, management of commuter trains was transferred to the publicly owned Montreal Urban Community Transit Commission (STCUM). The STCUM set fares and schedules, while the Canadian National retained ownership of the equipment (passenger cars and locomotives). CN continued to provide the tracks, stations, storage, maintenance, and train crews needed to keep the line running. For Montreal commuters, the transfer of ownership was positive because the trains were integrated into the bus and metro system.

In 1992, the government of Quebec announced a modernisation plan for the line which would include electrifying the entire line at 25 kV AC (and converting the existing catenary in the Mont-Royal Tunnel to this voltage), 58 state-of-the-art MR-90 electric multiple unit trains built by Bombardier Transportation, new tracks, and centralised traffic control. Service was shut down completely in the summers of 1993, 1994 and 1995 to allow for major work to be done. The last of the old rolling stock left Central Station at 6:30 p.m. on June 2, 1995 – 76 years, 8 months, 11 days, and ten hours after it first went into service. The same locomotive, #6711 (with #6710 (pictured)), hauled the last train through the tunnel.

The line was transferred to the former Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) on January 1, 1996.

Eliminating the long-standing East Junction level crossing, CN built a railway overpass to route its Saint-Laurent subdivision over the commuter train line just south of Montpellier station. The overpass was a prerequisite for increasing commuter train frequencies on the Deux-Montagnes line as well as the commissioning of the Mascouche line. The $60 million project was begun in 2010 and was completed by the end of 2013, when the new line also was commissioned.[18]

On February 28, 2014, the AMT announced that it had purchased the Deux-Montagnes line from CN for a sum of $92 million. While CN owned the line, freight trains could use it within two time windows: during the day from 08:30 to 15:30 and during the night from 20:30 to 05:30. Purchasing the line allowed AMT to give commuter trains priority all day, between 05:30 and 20:30.[19] This gave the AMT flexibility for scheduling trains and allows it to save rent money in the long term.

Exo service edit

On June 1, 2017, the AMT was dissolved and replaced by two new governing bodies, the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) and the Réseau de transport métropolitain (RTM). The RTM took over all former AMT services, including this line.

In May 2018, the RTM formally re-branded itself as Exo; and renamed each line with a number and updated colour. The Deux-Montagnes line became Exo 6, and the blue line colour was updated to a light peach colour.

Planned projects edit

To ease overcrowding and attract new users on the Deux-Montagnes Line, the ARTM planned several projects:

  • Extending the double track from its current (2020) endpoint at the Bois-Franc station to the Roxboro-Pierrefonds station in Pierrefonds-Roxboro. Work would include doubling the track over 7.5 km (4.7 mi) parallel to the existing track, rebuilding a small bridge, building a new overpass over the bike path through Bois-de-Liesse park, reconfiguring three level crossings, and adding a second platform at Sunnybrooke station. Construction was to have begun in 2013 and was to be completed by 2015 but as of 2017 work had not begun. Preliminary costs were estimated at $51 million.[20][21]
  • As of 2020, there was a second track from Bois-Franc to slightly past Saraguay (about halfway between Bois-Franc and Sunnybrooke at the A13), but it was not electrified and was used by CN freight trains serving industries along Doney spur.[15]

Under the Réseau express métropolitain project, the Deux-Montagnes line is being converted to driverless light metro operation and extended past Downtown and over the St-Lawrence to Brossard; two southwest branches will also be added, to Montreal-Pierre Eliott Trudeau International Airport and to Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.[9] To prepare for the project, service between Bois-Franc and Central Station was ended on May 11, 2020.[3] On December 31, 2020, the rest of the Deux-Montagnes line closed permanently in favour of REM service which will operate along the same route.[4]

List of stations edit

The following stations were on the Deux-Montagnes line. All of these stations have been refurbished for Réseau express métropolitain service following the Deux-Montagnes line's closure.

Station Location Connections Zones
Central Station Ville-Marie, Montreal Via Rail, Amtrak, and Downtown Terminus (Terminus RTL). Bonaventure metro station, Société de transport de Montréal (STM)[22] 1
Canora Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Montreal STM 92, 160, 372
Mont-Royal Mount Royal STM 16, 119, 165, 465
Montpellier Saint-Laurent, Montreal STM 121, 128, 171, 378, 380
Du Ruisseau border of Saint-Laurent and Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Montreal STM 117, 135 STL (Laval) 55 2
Bois-Franc Saint-Laurent, Montreal STM 64, 164, 170, 171, 382, STL (Laval) 55
Sunnybrooke Pierrefonds-Roxboro, Montreal STM 68, 208, 213, 356, 382, 468, 968
Roxboro-Pierrefonds Pierrefonds-Roxboro, Montreal STM 68, 205, 206, 208, 209, 213, 382, 407, 468, 968[23]
Île-Bigras Île Bigras, Îles Laval, Laval STL Taxibuses only. 3
Sainte-Dorothée Sainte-Dorothée, Laval STL[24][25]
Grand-Moulin Deux-Montagnes CIT Laurentides[26] 5
Deux-Montagnes CIT Laurentides

Geography edit

The Deux-Montagnes line used the former CN Deux-Montagnes Subdivision between mile 0.8 (Central Station) and 19.4 (Deux-Montagnes). The RTM now owns it.[19]

The line ran through the Mount Royal Tunnel, to connect downtown Montreal, to the north side rail subdivision.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ [bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ "Rapport d'activités 2010" (PDF) (in French). Agence métropolitaine de transport. 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b Thomas, Katelyn (May 11, 2020). "Here's how to get around the Mount Royal tunnel closure". CTV News Montreal. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Magder, Jason (September 18, 2020). "Trains to stop running on Deux-Montagnes line Dec. 31, ahead of schedule". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  5. ^ "Horaire Montreal/Deux-Montagnes" (PDF). RTM. 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-09-20. Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  6. ^ "Bombardier signs deal to operate Montreal's AMT network - Montreal |".
  7. ^ Lève-personne pour la clientèle en fauteuil roulant maintenant en service à la gare Deux-Montagnes Archived 2008-05-12 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Deux-Montagnes In brief". Retrieved 2020-05-21.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ a b Jason Magder (April 22, 2016). "Electric light-rail train network spearheaded by Caisse de dépôt to span Montreal by 2020". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  10. ^ "Une virée dans le puits de ventilation du tunnel Mont-Royal". Marc Dufour. 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-26.
  11. ^ "Le tunnel, à l'arrivée du puits de ventilation". Marc Dufour. 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-26.
  12. ^ "Carte du Tunnel". Marc Dufour. 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-26.
  13. ^ "Coupe Geologique". Marc Dufour. 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-26.
  14. ^ "Coupe Tunnel Double". Marc Dufour. 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-26.
  15. ^ a b Transvert Group. "Doney Spur Commuter Rail Line" (PDF).
  16. ^ "Mount Royal Line Opened To Public" Montreal Gazette. October 22, 1918.
  17. ^ "Items of interest" (PDF). Canadian Rail (28). September–October 1952. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  18. ^ "Rapport d'activités" (PDF). AMT. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 6, 2014.
  19. ^ a b Riga, Andy (February 28, 2014). "AMT purchases Deux-Montagnes rail line from CN for $92 million". Montreal Gazette. Archived from the original on March 16, 2014.
  20. ^ Montreal Gazette[dead link][permanent dead link]
  21. ^ "AMT PTI 2012-1013-2014" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 11, 2013.
  22. ^ Maps
  23. ^ 265(TB) renamed 407 Archived 2012-01-15 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "Plan du Reseau STL 2008" (PDF). STL. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2008-02-21.
  25. ^ STL 2011 map Archived September 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "CIT Laurentides". CIT Laurentides. 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-12-30. Retrieved 2006-12-26.

External links edit