Will VIA Rail And REM Trains Share The Mount Royal Tunnel?

Discussion of Canadian Passenger Rail Services such as AMT (Montreal), Go Transit (Toronto), VIA Rail, and other Canadian Railways and Transit

Moderator: Ken V

Will VIA Rail And REM Trains Share The Mount Royal Tunnel?

Postby NH2060 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:23 pm

That's one of the options on the table, along with terminating any new VIA service to Quebec City (along with the Mascouche commuter trains) outside downtown Montreal with no access to Gare Centrale:
Via’s HFR proposal would see 18 trains per day between Montreal and Quebec City. Of those trips, 10 would be on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, going through Trois-Rivières, which is about 50 minutes faster than the southern route that goes through Drummondville, making the trip time between the two cities a little more than two hours. However, that northern route is the one that would require VIA trains to use the Mount Royal Tunnel.

Lacroix said there is technology coming to allow heavy rail cars to be adapted to a light-rail track. However, he did not say how much this new technology would cost. Because VIA’s proposal is not yet public, it isn’t known if it includes adapting heavy rail trains to run on the Deux-Montagnes Line.

http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-n ... ve-the-rem
NH2060
 
Posts: 1505
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:44 pm

Re: Will VIA Rail And REM Trains Share The Mount Royal Tunne

Postby mdvle » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:18 pm

Guessing that the spokesperson was referring to some sort of automatic signal system / control system, but that would be problematic in a number of ways.

But I suspect it's irrelevant, and that these comments are political posturing.

The Réseau électrique métropolitain website gives us their service frequency. For the tunnel they are talking about 24 trains an hour(*) (or one every 2.5 minutes) and I don't see the ability to get a VIA train through every now and then.

* Deux-Montagnes every 5 minutes, West Island every 10 minutes, Airport every 10 minutes
mdvle
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:48 pm

Re: Will VIA Rail And REM Trains Share The Mount Royal Tunne

Postby Tadman » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:27 pm

NH2060 wrote:That's one of the options on the table, along with terminating any new VIA service to Quebec City (along with the Mascouche commuter trains) outside downtown Montreal with no access to Gare Centrale:
Via’s HFR proposal would see 18 trains per day between Montreal and Quebec City. Of those trips, 10 would be on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, going through Trois-Rivières, which is about 50 minutes faster than the southern route that goes through Drummondville, making the trip time between the two cities a little more than two hours. However, that northern route is the one that would require VIA trains to use the Mount Royal Tunnel.

Lacroix said there is technology coming to allow heavy rail cars to be adapted to a light-rail track. However, he did not say how much this new technology would cost. Because VIA’s proposal is not yet public, it isn’t known if it includes adapting heavy rail trains to run on the Deux-Montagnes Line.

http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-n ... ve-the-rem


I think this is a serious journalism whiff. Via and CN prior to 1990 did share the tunnel. There are rare pictures of the ex-CN boxcabs hauling the Senneterre trains, tied on in front of the FP9, through the tunnel. Further, that tunnel is heavy rail as is the Deux-Montagnes line. It was once run by CN heavyweight coaches and double-headed boxcabs. When the boxcabs were double-headed, the pair weighed as much as an SD40. It is part of the national network and not part of a subway or light rail.

Pic of such from Don Ross's site: http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr0107/cn6715.jpg and http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr0107/cn6717.jpg

Edit: here is a pic of the CN electrics hauling the Senneterre train: https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/imag ... WyzdhWVCC6

The southern routing through Drummondville happened when Via realized the electrics were in rough shape and about to be retired (perhaps 1993?) and the upcoming MU cars would not be able to drag the Via trains like the boxcabs could.
Tadman
 
Posts: 8861
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am

Re: Will VIA Rail And REM Trains Share The Mount Royal Tunne

Postby deathtopumpkins » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:47 am

Tadman wrote:I think this is a serious journalism whiff. Via and CN prior to 1990 did share the tunnel. There are rare pictures of the ex-CN boxcabs hauling the Senneterre trains, tied on in front of the FP9, through the tunnel. Further, that tunnel is heavy rail as is the Deux-Montagnes line. It was once run by CN heavyweight coaches and double-headed boxcabs. When the boxcabs were double-headed, the pair weighed as much as an SD40. It is part of the national network and not part of a subway or light rail.


Yes, currently, but the whole point of the REM project is to convert the tunnel (and the Deux-Montagnes line) to rapid transit/light rail (it's a bit ambiguous what it will actually end up being). The problem is that depending on what specs they settle on for the REM, VIA equipment might not fit. And even if it did, they plan to run REM trains through the tunnel every 150 seconds, and adding VIA trains into the mix would most likely delay REM service.
Call me Connor or DTP

Railfan & Roadgeek from the North Shore of Mass.
deathtopumpkins
 
Posts: 1035
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:56 am
Location: Somerville, MA

Re: Will VIA Rail And REM Trains Share The Mount Royal Tunne

Postby Tadman » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:41 am

Ah thanks for the clarification. I'm not an expert on the current affairs of Montreal, but I can't imagine why they want to go from Class 1 to rapid transit when there are two competing designs of EMU for high-voltage AC catenary (the Kawaski M8 and the Rotem SL5).

Also, how many Quebec City trains are there? 5-10? 50 minutes is a big difference on what should be a 3 hour trip.

I don't think it is worth considering the northern Quebec trains in this discussion. They are more like essential transportation rather than quick corridor service, so the timing of the ride is a bit more forgiving.
Tadman
 
Posts: 8861
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am

Re: Will VIA Rail And REM Trains Share The Mount Royal Tunne

Postby mdvle » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:44 pm

Tadman wrote:Ah thanks for the clarification. I'm not an expert on the current affairs of Montreal, but I can't imagine why they want to go from Class 1 to rapid transit when there are two competing designs of EMU for high-voltage AC catenary (the Kawaski M8 and the Rotem SL5).


I would guess cost, both in construction and operation.

Réseau électrique métropolitain is a significant expansion with additional stations on the existing trackage (including 2 new station in the tunnel apparently) as well as 2 new branches (West Island, Airport) and double tracking of some sections.

As well as the lighter equipment likely being cheaper to operate, given that this is Quebec there is also the possibility of Bombardier being able to use and existing European design for equipment though the fact that this is being driven by the pension fund and not the governments (Canada and Quebec combined are only about half the money according to the reports) the favouritism to Bombardier may not be as strong.

Tadman wrote:Also, how many Quebec City trains are there? 5-10? 50 minutes is a big difference on what should be a 3 hour trip.


None currently using the tunnel. However, part of VIA's plan for its own tracks includes both an increase in service as well as using 2 routes between Montreal and Quebec City - 18 trains a day with 10 using the tunnel to follow the north side of the river and service Trois-Rivières, this option being 50 minutes faster than the southern route according to the above linked newspaper article.
mdvle
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:48 pm

Re: Will VIA Rail And REM Trains Share The Mount Royal Tunne

Postby dowlingm » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:33 pm

I think all this talk about "well maybe VIA will get stock in the future that can run with the REM"is bull - a distraction from AMT and VIA being dumped at Autoroute 40. VIA should tell them to stick it - and if their HQ was in Ottawa or Toronto, maybe they would have. But it's in Montreal.
dowlingm
 
Posts: 1121
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:42 pm
Location: Toronto, ON

Re: Will VIA Rail And REM Trains Share The Mount Royal Tunne

Postby bdawe » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:41 pm

I'm increasingly in the REM-should-be-killed camp. The the Airport Branch is going to be an expensive (and indirect) dog with poor ridership (as most airtrains are) and extensive tunneling (since it must go under the runways rather than the more open approach from the south) The West Island Branch runs through warehouses by the freeway and the Brossard branch has all the appearance of low-ridership suburban freeway RoW rail.

For this, not only will VIA access to the North Shore and a possible fast, modernized, low-freight-traffic route to Quebec City & Trois Riviere be forever blocked, but the Massouche Line will always remain the joke of a suburban parking lot shuttle that it is, made into a worse stub end. The Massouche Line serves very dense neighbourhoods in North Montreal, and while it does so poorly under the peak commuter rail paradigm, it could be made into a far more effective transit line like the Deux Montagne Line.

The REM proposal includes some items that are simply gratuitous - abundant new parking garages, constructed at great expense that suppress transit oriented development and off-peak ridership. A whole re-electrification of a line that was already wholly re-electrified to world-standard 25kv AC system in the 1990s. REM proposes to replace this setup with dc light rail electrification, causing complications for any possible use by intercity trains in the future. The pension fund funding structure brings unclear benefits and given the subsidies still required doesn't seem to actually make the public better off than the alternatives.

What should be done in this case should be firstly, further modernization of the Deux-montagne line, with full double track, high platforms, and better all day frequency, which would serve the population most impacted by REM nearly as well. This should be followed up with modernization of the Massouche branch and a take-over by VIA of the Quebec-Gatineau Railway's north bank line and it's reconstruction as a fast passenger-primary railroad integrated with VIA's high frequency rail plans. In the longer run the West Island and airport would be better served by upgrading the existing and more direct commuter line.
B. Dawe's map of routes and urban populations https://brendandawe.carto.com/viz/80b9d ... /embed_map NOW updated with 2016 Canadian Populations
User avatar
bdawe
 
Posts: 600
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:06 pm
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

Re: Will VIA Rail And REM Trains Share The Mount Royal Tunne

Postby Tadman » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:26 pm

That's a thoughtful post, thanks for sharing.

I was not aware they seriously wanted to change the AC power back to DC subway standards, 25 years after they sunk all that money into the renovation. That was a project that was supposed to last for 50+ years, a true infrastructure for the ages.

I also agree on the Via issues - it would be great to see Via back in the tunnel. Like I said above, cutting 50 minutes off a trip under five hours is a huge deal.
Tadman
 
Posts: 8861
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am

Re: Will VIA Rail And REM Trains Share The Mount Royal Tunne

Postby mdvle » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:09 pm

At the end of the day VIA's problem is that the tunnel is owned by Montreal, and thus they get to say what happens with it.

As for whether REM is a good idea or bad, I don't live in Montreal so I don't know enough about the area to judge it. But I suspect at the end of the day a funded transit project is better than no project.

What can be said, is that unless someone is willing to come up with the money for an entirely underground system anything built in this day and age will be a compromise - society simply won't accept the wholesale clearing and demolition of neighbourhoods to force through a surface line in the "ideal" location.

As for the comments about the switch from heavy rail to LRT, the fact that the system will be entirely automated running at tight intervals I suspect means heavy rail is not an option given that such systems already exist in the LRT sphere.

According to the REM website the contractors for the equipment and the building of the lines should be announced soon (mid-February), which means at this point it will be difficult to stop.
mdvle
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:48 pm

Re: Will VIA Rail And REM Trains Share The Mount Royal Tunne

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:52 pm

mdvle wrote:As for whether REM is a good idea or bad, I don't live in Montreal so I don't know enough about the area to judge it. But I suspect at the end of the day a funded transit project is better than no project.

...

According to the REM website the contractors for the equipment and the building of the lines should be announced soon (mid-February), which means at this point it will be difficult to stop.

But is a funded project, with years of disruption, better than an existing and reasonably robust system? As you said though, it probably won’t stop.
User avatar
mtuandrew
 
Posts: 5064
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Re: Will VIA Rail And REM Trains Share The Mount Royal Tunne

Postby mdvle » Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:14 pm

And it starts.

Contracts have been awarded, construction starts in April. No Bombardier to be seen in either contract:

https://www.cdpqinfra.com/en/reseau-express-metropolitain-project-officially-launches

Don't recall seeing this last year, but Bombardier lost a bid for commuter cars from AMT that instead went to China (I guess helping to justify the Siemens/Alstom merger):

http://www.iheartradio.ca/cjad/news/24-new-amt-trains-to-be-built-by-chinese-firm-not-bombardier-1.2616199

Maybe related to this - providing 2 extra subway trains for "free" to Montreal instead of paying the penalty for deliveries being late (seems to be a chronic issue):

http://nmnoticias.ca/2018/02/05/metro-montreal-trenes-azur-extra/

In other news, Bombardier is looking for help in getting new contracts or they will have to layoff 300 employees in Quebec:

https://www.thestar.com/business/2018/02/19/bombardier-may-lay-off-hundreds-of-workers-in-quebec-if-no-orders-come-in.html
mdvle
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:48 pm

Re: Will VIA Rail And REM Trains Share The Mount Royal Tunne

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:01 pm

Is it practical for VIA to use the Port of Montreal Railway to bypass the Mount Royal Tunnel?
User avatar
mtuandrew
 
Posts: 5064
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Re: Will VIA Rail And REM Trains Share The Mount Royal Tunne

Postby Ken V » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:56 pm

While it is possible, the Port of Montreal railway isn't really a good option. That route is even more round about than the other tunnel bypass going west of Central station through Taschereau Yard which is used by the current Senneterre and Jonquiere trains.

For reference here is a rail map of Montreal.
Ken V. Moderator: Most things Canadian.
Any time could be train time!
User avatar
Ken V
 
Posts: 893
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:14 pm
Location: Toronto, ON


Return to Canadian Passenger Operations: AMT, Go Transit, VIA, etc.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests