Train de L'Ouest supporters ecstatic over new transit proposal
Two weeks ago West Island mayors were convinced the Quebec government had fully abandoned plans to build a new rail line to the West Island.
Now they're jumping for joy after hearing about the Caisse de Depot's planned light rail service.
The Metropolitan Electric Network (REM) proposes a dedicated rail line that would run parallel to Highway 40 from Ste. Anne de Bellevue to St. Laurent, when it would veer toward Montreal's downtown core. A separate spur would go toward the St. Laurent Technopark and Trudeau airport, with another line running to Deux Montagnes.
In a meeting with Premier Philippe Couillard just weeks ago the Train de L'Ouest supporters were left with the impression that the Caisse would be working on electric trains over the Champlain Bridge and to the airport, and nothing else.
They had a meeting with Caisse officials on Friday morning where they were ecstatic to learn about the plan to provide rail service all the way to the tip of the West Island.
Maria Tutino, mayor of Baie D'Urfé, said the train would revolutionize her city.
"Our Achilles' heel has always been public transportation. We have the highest number of cars per household," she said.
She predicted residents would soon ditch their vehicles in favour of a train downtown.
"There will be a garage sale in Baie D'Urfé, selling our cars because in 2020 we're going to be having access to our wonderful public transportation system."
Former MNA Clifford Lincoln has spearheaded the Train de L'Ouest proposal since 2010, and he was overjoyed at a group finally doing something for the West Island.
He said the all-electric train will do wonders for the environment.
"Getting cars off the road to a huge degree. We're going to save something like 16,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide by getting cars off the road which the Caisse told us in the equivalent of building two forested areas the size of Mount Royal," said Lincoln.
Aeroports de Montreal is also happy with the news. The airport authority had the foresight to build a train terminal at Trudeau Airport in 2009.
Spokesperson Christiane Beaulieu says the train will not only be welcome by travellers to the airport.
"All the people that work at the airport - we have about seven or 8,000 people working here - with the intermodality of the network, will be able to use this new system to come to work," she said.
Trains every 12 minutes
The proposal would see trains with between two and four cars leaving the airport and Ste. Anne de Bellevue every 12 minutes, from 5 a.m. until 1 a.m. seven days a week.
The West Island line would parallel Highway 40 until St. Laurent, then join with another line coming from Deux Montagnes.
It would connect to the existing metro service at the Blue line stop of Edouard Montpetit, the green line at McGill, and stop at Bonaventure on the Orange line before heading to the South Shore
Each car will have a capacity of 150 passengers. and provide wi-fi to passengers.
The Caisse de Depot estimates it will take 40 minutes to ride from Ste. Anne's to downtown.
Public meetings to present the project to the public will be held from April to June.