Tag Archives: commuter trains

Posted in Montreal, Public transit

AMT allows bicycles on more trains

Central Station is no longer off-limits to bicycles

It didn’t get much attention, but the Agence métropolitaine de transport has loosened its restrictions for carrying bicycles aboard commuter trains, opening them up for the first time on all five lines instead of just two.

Previously, bicycles were only allowed outside rush hours (meaning midday or late night on weekdays, and on weekends), only on the Deux-Montagnes and Vaudreuil-Hudson lines, and even then not at all stations (Central Station was the most prominent to now not allow bicycles, presumably because of the difficulty of navigating them through staircases and through the underground malls).

Under the new rules, which took effect May 1, bicycles are now allowed on all five lines, and are allowed on all trains except those during rush hour in the direction of the rush (so bicycles are allowed on morning trains toward the suburbs, and afternoon trains toward downtown).

They’re also allowed at all stations except three: Hudson (which is moot because it’s only served by rush-hour trains), Île Perrot and Candiac (the latter two probably because of platform issues).

Central Station has a few specific rules: Bicycles are only allowed to enter and exit the platform through the central staircase and the elevators, and are only permitted to enter and leave Central Station through the de la Gauchetière exit (so bicycles can’t be walked through the underground city or toward Place Ville-Marie).

Rush hours, according to the schedules, are:

  • Deux-Montagnes-Montreal: Trains up to 9am. Trains at 9:55am and after are permitted
  • Montreal-Deux-Montagnes: Trains from 3pm to 6:20pm, inclusive
  • Vaudreuil-Montreal: Trains up to the 8:10am departure from Vaudreuil
  • Montreal-Vaudreuil: Trains from 3:15pm to 6pm, inclusive
  • Blainville-Montreal: Trains up to the 7:25am departure from Saint-Jérôme (note that no trains leaving Saint-Jérôme allow bicycles because they’re all during rush hour)
  • Montreal-Saint-Jérôme: Lucien L’Allier departures from 3:35pm to 5:30pm, inclusive (the final departure at 6:45pm allows bicycles, and goes to Saint-Jérôme)
  • Delson-Montreal: Departures before and including 8:05am
  • Montreal-Delson: Lucien L’Allier departures from 3:40pm to 5:15pm, inclusive
  • Saint-Hilaire-Montreal: All morning departures (1:45pm and 7pm allow bicycles)
  • Montreal-Saint-Hilaire: Central Station departures from 4:30pm to 6pm, inclusive
Posted in Public transit

AMT lets kids under 12 ride free*

The Agence métropolitaine de transport has announced that, effective immediately, children under the age of 12 can ride free on commuter trains if they’re accompanied by a paying adult.

Buried in the release is that this only applies to July and August (though The Gazette reports they might consider making it permanent). Children 6-11 who aren’t accompanied by an adult still have to pay their fare (and have to get an Opus card to take advantage of reduced fare).

Children who already have a pass for July can get a refund.

The move not only encourages family outings on public transit (the STM has a similar program for kids under 12 on weekends and holidays), but means a lot of kids won’t have to worry about getting Opus cards (under the pre-Opus system, only those age 13 and up needed student ID) until they start school in the fall.

The STL in Laval has a similar system in place for the summer.

Posted in Montreal, Public transit

AMT to study full electrification of commuter trains

Not only are the AMT's diesel locomotives old and noisy, but they pollute.

Not only are the AMT's diesel locomotives old and noisy, but they pollute.

The Agence métropolitaine de transport on Tuesday launched a call for tenders on a feasibility study for full electrification of the commuter train network. So far only the Deux-Montagnes line uses electric power (and it uses it exclusively).

CJAD (who I guess read La Presse this morning) quotes the AMT’s Joel Gauthier saying the process would take 15 years to complete. This is a decade faster than he predicted last year in an interview with the Hudson Gazette. The Gazette gets a figure of $300 million from an AMT document submitted in December.

The AMT is acquiring 20 dual-mode (diesel/electric) trains which will serve on its Train de l’Est. That route uses the Mount Royal tunnel, which prohibits diesel locomotion because it is not ventilated and everyone would, you know, die.

Electrifying the other four routes would cut down on pollution, cost and noise, which would no doubt satisfy this family who apparently have just realized that they live next to a century-old railway.

Of course, since AMT doesn’t actually own those tracks (they’re owned by CN and CP), this process certainly still has a way to go before anyone starts putting up wires.

Posted in Public transit

LaSalle’s tiny platform comes back to life

LaSalle train station building

This tiny platform at the LaSalle commuter train station, which has sat unused in favour of its longer twin on the other side, is coming back to life on Monday because of work being done on the track. That means train users will have to figure out which car to be in (much like they have to do on the Saint-Hilaire line because of the length of its platforms).

Toward Montreal, the platform will line up with the tail of the train. Toward Delson/Candiac, it will line up with the head.

Posted in Montreal, Opinion, Public transit

AMT gives back … with coupons

The AMT today announced that they are going to be compensating users who have been inconvenienced by all the delays caused by train breakdowns and other issues over the past month.

Well, kind of, anyway.

What they’re actually doing is discounting the price of March, April and May TRAM passes for people who take the Deux Montagnes and Dorion/Rigaud lines. (The discounts are steep too, 50% for March, and 25% for the other months – though those are just for Deux Montagnes users.)

And how are they going to determine who uses these lines? Well, the brilliant strategists at the AMT have come up with this:

Un coupon de compensation sera distribué le mercredi 18 février en pointe du matin à l’embarquement dans toutes les gares des lignes Montréal/Deux-Montagnes et Montréal/Dorion-Rigaud.

In other words, they’re handing out coupons to people taking the train the morning of the 18th, and anyone who has the coupon can get the discount (but only if they get their passes at Central Station, Lucien L’Allier station or Vendôme station). There is no way to get the coupon other than using the train during morning rush hour on Feb. 18 (and then you have to repeat the process on March 18 and April 16 for the April and May passes).

UPDATE: The AMT has added Feb. 19 and 20 after complaints from transit users.

I can’t begin to describe how stupid this is. But I’ll take my best shot:

  • Not everyone who was inconvenienced is going to take the train on these days, and are going to get really pissed off that they can’t get a coupon any other way
  • Not everyone taking the train on these mornings will have been inconvenienced by the train breakdowns. And considering that a 50% reduction of the cost of a pass is a huge savings for people living far away (up to $100), some will probably go out of their way to take the morning train that day, making that particular morning commute even more unbearable.
  • This system offers no compensation for those who use tickets instead of a pass, or who don’t plan on using the train in March, April or May.
  • Most importantly, the people who were inconvenienced by the train breakdowns don’t care as much about compensation as they do fixing the problem and getting to work on time. This doesn’t do anything to fix that.

AMT’s train solution: Take the bus

Among the other things contained in the announcement, the AMT is reducing the capacity of trains on the Deux Montagnes line during rush hour, going from 10 cars to eight, so that repairs can be made. Since these cars are already overfilled, they’re setting up special buses to shuttle people between train stations and metro stations near the Deux Montagnes line. The STL is also increasing service to bus #26, which goes between the Ste. Dorothée station and Montmorency metro.

Back from the future

Another measure being taken is reversing schedule changes that were made earlier in the year on the Deux Montagnes line. The morning rush hour schedule, which involved more trains departing from Deux Montagnes, will be reverted to the 2008 schedule starting Feb. 16, since the rolling stock will be unable to handle the increased number of passengers and the increased hours of service.

No information available

Finally, the AMT put on its website a page which gives real-time information about train service.

Posted in Montreal, Public transit

AMT announces additional service on four train lines

The AMT today announced that it is adding departures on four of its five commuter train lines starting Jan. 12. (The Blainville line is the one left out.)

Though the overcrowded Deux Montagnes line gets the most new service with 26 new departures a week, the big changes are on the St. Hilaire and Candiac lines, which used to be unidirectional rush-hour services. Both lines now have lunch-hour departures in both directions, and St. Hilaire gets evening departures in both directions.

Details of the schedule changes are below. I’ve omitted schedule shifts of less than 10 minutes.

Montreal-Deux Montagnes

  • Weekdays: toward Montreal
    • New departure at 5:30am from Deux Montagnes becomes first train of the day (previous first departure was 5:50am, which stays the same)
    • 6:35am departure from Deux Montagnes is brought back to 6:20am
    • The 8am departure from Roxboro is replaced by a 7:50am departure from Deux-Montagnes (sorry, Pierrefonds residents used to their guaranteed seats)
    • A new departure is squeezed in from Deux Montagnes at 9:22am.
    • All but one morning inbound train (8:50am from Roxboro-Pierrefonds) now depart from Deux Montagnes. Train schedules between 8 and 10am in both directions are readjusted to let traffic through on the single track
    • A new departure is added at 10:25am, with subsequent departures pushed back by 30 minutes (11:25, 12:25, 1:25, 2:25)
    • Departures at 7:51, 8:51 and 9:51pm are made a half hour earlier (7:20, 8:25, 9:25)
    • An evening departure at 10:51 is removed
  • Weekdays: Toward Deux Montagnes
    • A new departure from Central Station at 7:55am
    • A new departure from Central Station at 3pm
    • Departures at 7pm and 7:40pm become 7:05pm and 7:30pm. The rest of the afternoon rush hour schedule is untouched
    • Last train of the day is now 12:15am instead of 12:30am
  • Saturdays: Toward Montreal
    • A new departure from Deux Montagnes at 8:55am means service every hour from 7-10am
    • A new departure from Deux Montagnes radically changes the afternoon/evening schedule: Departures at 3:55, 6:15 and 8:55 become 3:25, 4:25, 6:25 and 9:25
    • Last train of the day is at 11:25 instead of 11:40pm
  • Saturdays: Toward Deux Montagnes
    • Two new departures from Central Station in the morning at 8am and 10am (11am departure moved to noon)
    • 3pm departure from Central Station moved to 4:30pm
    • 10:50 departure becomes 10:30
    • Last train of the day is now 12:15am instead of 12:30am
  • Sundays: Toward Montreal
    • All departures from Deux Montagnes are now on the hour instead of five minutes before
    • New departure at 10am means two hours, not four, between inbound trains in the morning
  • Sundays: Toward Deux Montagnes
    • 10am departure is replaced by departures at 9am and 11am
    • Last train of the day is now 12:15am instead of 12:30am

Montreal-Dorion/Rigaud

  • Weekdays
    • New departure #114 from Vaudreuil to Lucien L’Allier at 6:40am (previous departures leave 5 minutes earlier)
    • New departure #121 from Lucien-L’Allier to Vaudreuil at 4:20pm (next departure is moved from 4:30 to 4:40)
  • Saturdays/Sundays: No changes

Montreal-Mont St. Hilaire

  • Weekdays: Toward Montreal (all departures from Mont St. Hilaire)
    • First ever inbound afternoon trains with new departures at 1:45 and 7pm from St. Hilaire
  • Weekdays: Toward Mont St. Hilaire (all departures to Mont St. Hilaire)
    • New departure at 12:30pm (previously earliest departure was 4:30pm)
    • New departure at 9:15pm (previously latest departure was 6:25pm)

Montreal-Delson/Candiac

  • Weekdays: Toward Montreal (all departures from Candiac)
    • 7am departure moves to 7:10*
    • New departure at 8am
    • 9am departure moves to 8:50
    • New departure at 1:20pm becomes first afternoon inbound train for this line
  • Weekdays: Toward Delson/Candiac (all departures to Candiac)
    • New departure at 12:20pm (previously, first departure was 3:40pm)
    • New departure at 4:15pm

UPDATE (Dec. 12): A full week later, this news hits the newspaper.

*UPDATE (Dec. 27): And public protests have resulted in changes to the changes in the Delson line. The morning 7am departure stays, as does the evening 5:15 departure (which was to be moved back to 5:10).

Posted in Montreal, Public transit, Video, West Island

Da train! Da train!

The Gazette’s Linda Gyulai has an article about some railway buffs criticizing Montreal’s plan for commuter rail service, specifically the route of the Train de l’Est (stupidly running from Terrebonne east to Repentigny instead of running west through Laval, using existing tracks, to the de la Concorde metro station) and the apparent abandoning of the plan to use the Doney Spur, which splits from the Deux-Montagnes train line near Highway 13 and runs between Hymus and the 40 west to Stillview.

One important correction to the story: It mentions the building of a Home Depot west of St. John’s Blvd on top of old Doney Spur right-of-way. In fact, it’s east of St. John’s, which mean any rail link to Fairview (which would still have to cross Highway 40 somehow) would have to run through, under or around this new hardware store.

Here’s a bonus for you: A YouTube video of rail buff Avrom Shtern asking Pierrefonds/Roxboro mayor Monique Worth about the Doney Spur in March, and having her give the kind of non-answer that you’d expect to find in a first-chapter exercise of Politics For Dummies.