Boondoggle In The Making In Montreal

It seems Montreal taxpayers are being taken for a $9 billion Bombardier ride, with the proposed 67 km Montreal light metro project.

The proposed Montreal LRT is not LRT at all, rather it is a light-metro, using the Bombardier Innovia body shell, using conventional ‘squirrel cage’ electric motors.

Based on the cost of now over $130 million/km for a Vancouver style, automaticAi?? ART light-metro, the cost for a 67 km network would be almost $9 billion.

Even if real LRT were to be built, the cost, based on Surrey’s LRT, of over $100 million/km would mean the 67 km network would cost almost $7 billion.

Thus, the project, based on 2017 construction costs in BC will be easily $1 billion to $3 billion over budget.

What is really happening is another Bombardier/Federal Liberal project that will turn into a multi billion dollar boondoggle, which the Montreal, Quebec and Canadian taxpayer will pay dearly for, just like Olympic Stadium and the infamous Mirabel airport.

When it comes to Quebec, money is no object and the bigger the “White Elephant” it seems, the better for the Federal Government.


Federal government expected to make announcement in Montreal Thursday

CBC News Posted: Jun 14, 2017 6:54 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 15, 2017 6:22 AM ET

The price tag for the line, which would link downtown Montreal with the South Shore and the West Island, has risen to $6 billion.The price tag for the line, which would link downtown Montreal with the South Shore and the West Island, has risen to $6 billion. (Caisse de dAi??pA?t et placement du QuAi??bec)

Montreal’s light-rail train project to get $1.3B from Ottawa

Federal government expected to make announcement in Montreal tomorrow

CBC NewsAi??Posted: Jun 14, 2017 6:54 PM ETAi??Last Updated: Jun 14, 2017 6:54 PM ET

Following months of negotiations, the federal government will unveil $1.3 billion in funding for Montreal’s light-rail project on Thursday,Ai??Radio-Canada has learned.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and the head of theAi??Caisse de dAi??pA?t et placement du QuAi??bec,Ai??Michael Sabia,Ai??are expected to make the announcement in Montreal.

The decision comes a few months after the Trudeau government made no mention of funding the project in their spring budget, prompting concern from Couillard.

The price tagAi??for the 67-kilometre rail line (LRT), which would link downtown with the South Shore and the West Island, has risen to $6 billion in order to add more stations in the city’s downtown area.

Quebec has already committed around $1.3 billion to the project. The province’s pension fund manager, theAi??Caisse, has pledged close to $3 billion.

The LRT project now includes 27 stations. The first trains are expected to run in 2020.


2 Responses to “Boondoggle In The Making In Montreal”
  1. Haveacow says:

    Well while $6-6.5 Billion is a somewhat realistic assessment of the cost of the project, it’s what the project is really doing to the areas rail infrastructure, which is the real travesty, especially on the Deux-Montagnes Line.

    1. They are using Light Metro Sized Vehicles similar to the Skytrain with standard electric motors (somewhat standard anyway) instead of existing and cheaper to maintain mainline railway equipment. These 80 metre long vehicles will be built on, the only operational full scale electrically powered mainline railway in Canada! A line which currently runs the RTM’s (Reseau de transport metropolitain) Deux-Montagnes Commuter Rail Line, a line which RTM owns outright. The 25 KV, AC 60Hz electric powered line operates a fleet of 26 metre long (85 ft.) Bombardier MR-90 EMU’s in 10 car consist (5 married pair formation) which makes each consist or train, a maximum of 260 metres long. Each train seats 860 and can fit up to 1140 standees or 2000 passengers total at crush capacity. Currently the line already moves 30700 passengers per day making it the busiest on the network. The line 30 km long line is double tracked for 16 km (the southern portion of the line into downtown Montreal) and ends at the city’s main intercity train station Gare Centrale. The line passes through a 5.15 km tunnel under Mount Royal. There are 49 trains a day already on this line.

    This line was built in 1918 by Canada’s 3rd trans-continental railway, The Canadian Northern Railway, a mainly western Canadian railway which was trying to expand east into Ontario and Quebec. This line represents the railway’s attempted access into the centre of Montreal and which would finally make it a truly trans-continental railway. This line’s high cost through Mount Royal and its bad ventilation, which forced the need for electrification, as well as the high cost of its other eastern Canadian projects was the main reasons the Canadian Northern went bankrupt and was taken over by the government starting in late 1918. This led to the creation of the Canadian National Railway.

    Starting in just late 2014, the dual-powered locomotive equipped Mascouche Commuter Rail Line also shared the southern portion of the line starting at Mount Royal Station and running through the tunnel, into Gare Centrale as well as carrying 7900 passengers a day.

    Instead of just buying up the line, building better/bigger stations and adding double track over its entire length as well as triple track portions, which are possible in some areas, adding capacity to the existing facilities and keeping the freight contract which provides access for CN to the Doney Spur, doing which would still be cheaper, the Caisse de depot is replacing the mainline equipment with Light Metro Equipment. Thus the nearly brand new Mascouche line will dead-end at a new station and force its passengers to transfer trains to their new service. Instead of just buying more trains ,improving the signaling, allowing a train service with greater frequency as GO Transit is doing they are ultimately lowering the lines overall capacity by not using mainline railway compatible vehicles.

    So now, not only are the Doney Spur customers cut off from all rail access (which forces more trucks on the road), the planned schedule and service configuration actually lowers the line’s capacity during the peak periods compared to what it can move right now and increases the cost of maintenance, especially in the tunnel.

    The Caisse de depot’s stance on not sharing the tunnel right of way with other types of trains (similar to what Toronto will do with the TTC’s Smart Track proposal and GO RER’s sharing of the Stouffville and Lakeshore East corridors), kills off the area’s busiest commuter rail line (Deux-Montagnes), forces a dead-end turnaround to a brand new commuter rail line (Mascouche) forever humbling the line and forcing its passengers into an inconvenient transfer, damages the whole of RTM’s remaining commuter rail network as well as forcing the end of the idea to use the tunnel and Gare Centrale’s northern mainline railway access to the tunnel, to move electric lower speed and high speed intercity VIA Rail trains. Certain communities north and east of Montreal are forever cutoff from easy access to downtown Montreal and the idea of using this right of way to move VIA Rail’s possible high speed trains to a more easily accessible northern route to Quebec City.

    2. The line to the Trudeau Airport is better accessed from the south not the north. The route from the north requires the mostly single track line, most of which is really just an industrial spur ,with very little room, at the back of existing buildings (some less than 1 metre from edge of the train to the back doors of some buildings), to be raised above grade, about 9-10 metres into the air. All above the roofs of existing buildings. This is a big deal if you understand Montreal’s recent history, where aging concrete from overhead bridges and highway structures have dropped onto cars, trucks and in some cases area buildings. Having a massive concrete causeway over your business is not considered a plus here. The line to the airport then must go into a tunnel under one of the busiest airport runways in Quebec, several hangars, airport service buildings and aircraft taxiways to get to the already built space that the airport wants to use as the station. Which by the way, was designed to be accessed from the south not the north. The Turcot exchange project a highway interchange and upgrade project in the south side of Montreal’s central area has a $136 Million rail corridor going through it designed for trains providing a shuttle service to Montreal’s Airport. It relies on having a rail line access the airport to the south not the north, the Caisse proposal completely bypasses this entire area of the city.

    3. The original proposal had very little connection to the existing Montreal Metro system. Through the adding of 3 stations increased the connections to the Metro system in November 2016, it made the new stations difficult and very time consuming to construct. Most importantly this 3 station addition added over $500 Million to the cost. Now these are some impressive stations but WOW, they didn’t come cheap. The 500 Million however does not include the improvements the STM’s (Societe de Transport de Montreal) portion of the stations, that cost has to be brunt by the City of Montreal and the STM.

    The branch to west island communities doesn’t exist in reality past a certain point and again must be entirely above grade (a la Skytrain) thus increasing the cost. The planned right of way is in highway median which is lousy if you are trying to build ridership. These types of stations located in expressway medians are historically bad the world over at building ridership unless your are very careful during the design process. Several station locations in the west island are also being criticized for possibly doing real damage to environmentally sensitive park land. The whole project to the west island has been criticized because the chosen route has been modeled to have very low ridership.

    This is not even covering the fact that the province of Quebec’s environmental watch dog BAPE, said that this project is being rushed and has major issues associated with it.

    The Montreal Area blogger Anton Dubrau’s Cat-Bus Blog has an excellent article about the many and I do mean many capacity issues of this system. More on this system’s other effects later, I have to take my boys to the library!

    CRITICAL MESSAGE TO ZWEI, Anton’s info graphic about train sizes is a must see. Here is the link:

  2. eric chris says:

    Breaking News: Expo Line down, fire disrupts service. Was it another electrical fire? What happened? Is the new Minister of TransLink going to ground s-train until the real cause of the latest fire following the many previous fires on s-train has been established, you know, for the safety of the public?

    Is another bird to blame, again, for the fire taking down the Expo Line? Did a bird do it? Did more “terrorist” birds sabotage the Expo Line? What happened!!!!

    “Trapped on #skytrain tracks. Going full speed then brakes slammed, people flying out of seats TWISE now. Whiplash @TransLink I HATE YOU!!!!”

    Fires on s-train are all too common. Fires are serious crap. Is the electrical design for s-train up to code? Who is doing the audit of the electrical design right now? Anyone?
    Anyhow, Haveacow, that was a long comment. Thanks for the link (below) to the fascinating article.

    “So why would the Caisse want to tear down a whole electrified transit line and rebuild it entirely, using trains that have less than a third of today’s length? … It seems the Caisse wants to simply replicate the [lack of] success it had in Vancouver with the Canada Line [Richmond Line which was given a prestigious name to endear it to the public], ignoring glaring issues like the capacity problems… The Canada Line [Richmond Line] is a fully automated light metro line that runs from downtown Vancouver, through a tunnel, then splits into two branches: one going to the suburb of Richmond, and the other going to the airport. It uses very ‘light’ rail: the trains are only 2 cars (40m) long … the very short stations are already causing platform crowding issues [by design as will be explained shortly].”

    Let’s see if I and my regular Sunday afternoon card playing enthusiasts on another perfect rainy day for Hearts in Vancouver can outdo you in 1,500 words or less, in between hands. We’ll try: TransLink’s business model is simple and sane if you are a planner at TransLink: build a small number of costly subways and viaducts to spend the most money possible and move the fewest number of people possible. Bus and recycle thousands of students to the subways and viaducts to make them crowded even though the rate of vehicle use continues to grow while the rate of public transit use (people paying to use public transit) continues to fall or stall (nobody playing cards took public transit to be here). Voila. Failure is success. More drivers in cars on the roads guarantee TransLink more money from gas taxes (mobility pricing).
    “Unidirectional s-train pantomime”
    In Metro Vancouver, the s-train pantomime is geared towards moving people traveling in one direction. At the busiest commuting time of the day: s-train holds about 12,000 people traveling in one direction on the Surrey Line, 6,000 people in one direction on the Richmond Line and an unimpressive 2,000 people in one direction on the Coquitlam Line which cost $1.4 billion. All these lines hold a paltry 20,000 people traveling in one direction (into Vancouver in the morning or out of Vancouver in the afternoon) plus a few strays in the opposite direction. Spending another $5 billion to extend the Coquitlam Line to UBC adds more stations to bump up the number of people on the Coquitlam Line for all the s-train lines to hold no more than about 30,000 people at any instant in time.

    Allowing TransLink to impose road tolls (added mobility pricing) to spend quad zillions of billions of dollars more to upgrade the electrical system and run the latest and greatest s-train (Mark III) from Bombardier adds another 20% for s-train to hold 36,000 people traveling in one direction, by the year 2040 or whenever. Tres beau. Lovely. How about just cutting out all the s-train stations in between Surrey and Vancouver, Richmond and Vancouver, and Coquitlam and Vancouver? Make s-train a quasi-bullet train from Surrey, Richmond and Coquitlam and increase the size of four s-train stations (farthest one from Vancouver in Surrey, farthest one from Vancouver in Richmond, farthest one from Vancouver in Coquitlam and one massive station at Waterfront “grand central” in Vancouver) for each s-train to hold up to 2,000 passengers. Run s-trains every three minutes at peak times. Big quasi-bullet trains running fast move more people than small s-trains running slow.

    These three lines do some serious people moving (120,000 people hourly). Cutting out 50 ticking time bomb s-train stations rotting away eliminates billions of dollars of future liabilities as a bonus. Use inexpensive trams or trolleybuses to fill in the gaps of s-train in Metro Vancouver. Again, as already stated, this is bad and takes cars off the roads. Don’t go there.

    Presently, hundreds of thousands of semi-trailer trucks, dump trucks and other commercial vehicles are on the roads. They are truly the reason for much of the road congestion which public transit can’t reduce. TransLink is pretending that public transit is the answer to road congestion in Metro Vancouver lacking an adequate road network (too few bridges). TransLink never mentions the real cause of road congestion which TransLink is impotent to tackle: commercial vehicles and jammed bridges. To reduce road congestion: we’re talking about adding modest timber or steel bridges (four lane) spaced every one mile to two miles across water bodies as in Pittsburg for electric vehicles which promise to strip TransLink of riders and make TransLink go the way of the dinosaur:

    Bridges are useful for all commuters (transit users and non-transit users). They create useful jobs to build and maintain them.

    In addition to all the commercial vehicles on the roads in Metro Vancouver at the busiest time of day, 400,000 cars carry 500,000 or more people traveling in all four directions, and the cars are puttering about more or less near home base where drivers and passengers live. By TransLink’s own admission, people travel in all four directions close to home, and the unidirectional travel of s-train for regional travel (light years in or out of Vancouver) doesn’t suit the travel patterns of drivers. Good thing, otherwise, more people might use public transit and TransLink would lose gas tax income. That would be bad.

    “Road congestion is the smell of money honey to TransLink”
    Honestly, s-train moves so few people compared to the number of commercial and private drivers on the roads that s-train is useless at curbing road congestion. It would be stupid for TransLink to cut down on road congestion, and funding for public transit goes away if road congestion goes away. More funding means bigger budgets and bigger salaries for everyone at TransLink. This is good, and the subways and viaducts by TransLink are the smell of money honey to TransLink. They create road congestion for everyone at TransLink to work on studies and “stuff” to tell us to give TransLink more money. All the buses to recycle passengers to the subways and viaducts are designed to make life hell for drivers on the roads and clog up the roads to maximize road chaos. More chaos on the roads spurs the mayors in Metro Vancouver to clamour for more money to fund overfunded TransLink creating the road chaos. TransLink couldn’t be happier.

    It is job one at TransLink to eff up the roads and let bridges fall into disrepair to eff up travel for drivers as much as possible. If you live in Surrey, the next car trip over the Pattullo Bridge under the “care” of TransLink could be the last one for you and hopefully you have previous training to escape a sinking vehicle in water and can swim.

    It would be dumb for TransLink to switch to trams to handle 220,000 people (10 times the number of people carried by s-train for the same net present value capital and operating costs) in all four directions of travel at any instant in time. Trams traveling in all four directions and throughout Metro Vancouver would match the travel patterns of drivers traveling in all four directions and appeal to drivers. Trams also wouldn’t be crowded and drivers might enjoy taking public transit to maybe leave the car at home occasionally. This is bad and cuts down on gas taxes from drivers as previously mentioned.

    Crowded subways deter drivers from taking public transit and that’s the whole point of them. Subways costing quad zillions of billions of dollars and having few stops by their very nature are crowded (same goes for the effed up b-line express buses costing more time to take than they save and having few stops). They cater to the mostly hapless and penniless students who are bunched up at centralized stations to board s-trains (or b-lines). Crowding on the subway is always good and makes it look like lots of people use public transit when they don’t for TransLink to beg for more funding to build the next subway or to establish the next b-line (express bus) route to create more crowding on public transit. If you’re a student who rides public transit for almost free (paid for by gas taxes) in Vancouver, you take the subway and flip the bird, like the students who taught you in Toronto; it’s what you do.

    Big quasi-bullet trains running fast move more people than small s-trains running slow. Run trams or trolleybuses to the quasi-bullet trains.

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