Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Montreal's Metro Moving the Masses

.Here's a neat story that appeared in Concordia's newspaper / website, called 'The Link'

    Some of you may find it interesting,Montreal Btw: had plans for a Subway System way back in the early 1900's ,.but of course as we know now,the idea never took flight until the mid-60''s the story:


February 17, 2009 Features


How, where and why the metro grew the way it did

by R. Brian Hastie

From left to right this graphic shows the various plans for our dear metro starting withthe first plan presented in 1910 and ending with the system we actually have.
GRAPHIC Ketan Patel
GRAPHIC Alex Manley

“Montreal is a big metropolis and the tremendous expansion of our city creates problems. Mass transportation being one of these daily problems,” stated Mayor Jean Drapeau, at the groundbreaking ceremony for Montreal’s underground transit system.

Almost 50 years in the making, the metro system that came about in 1966 changed the way Montrealers got around in their day-to-day lives, and its growth has continued to shape the city’s landscape.

Having expanded with every passing decade of its existence—aside from the 1990s due to the moratorium, which the Quebec government had put on proposals to expand the transit system—recent statistics now estimate that in one year the Montreal transit corporation’s clientele took over 433 million trips. Many of these utilized the underground network of highly stylized stations that crisscross the core of the island—which we affectionately call the metro.

People travel these tunnels daily without really questioning their creation; they have no idea how the metro system came about or what could have been.

The Metros that never were

The first proposal for a subway occurred in 1910. The Montreal Subway Company drew up plans that called for a single line running underneath de Bleury Street and Parc Ave., and from Craig Street—now St-Antoine Street—all the way to Mont-Royal Ave. Railway companies placed significant pressure on Montreal’s public officials, seeing a subway system as an active threat to their livelihood, and put an end to these plans.

The next mention of a subway came up in the mid 1940s. The Montreal Tramway Company first proposed a network that had an initial two-line, 15-station launch, running east-west along Ste-Catherine Street and north-south along St-Denis Blvd. The north-south line was to continue down, then westward beneath St-Jaques Street, looping up to meet again with the east-west line at Guy Street.

Proposed extensions included a network running to Verdun in the southwest, Sherbrooke Street O. and Girouard Ave. to the west, and Queen-Mary Rd. and Décarie Blvd. in the northwest. To the east, an eastern extension to the corner of Ontario & Viau Streets was proposed, as well as an offshoot of that line which would have travelled up north to de Lorimier Ave. and Rosemont Blvd.—these plans were tabled as more immediate war-related concerns were dealt with.

In 1951, the Commission de transport de Montréal was created in order to properly take care of the public transportation situation in Montreal. Two years later it delivered a report to the City of Montreal that detailed a similar network to that proposed in the ‘40s.

The 16-station, single-line network would start on Atwater Ave. travelling eastward along Ste-Catherine Street for three stations before dipping down to St-Jacques Street for three more stations, then veering northwards beneath St-Denis Street up to Cremazie Blvd.

Extensions from the western end included a nine-station route that went west along Sherbrooke Street before travelling north along Decarie Blvd., an extension that added two stations to connect the Ste-Catherine Street route, and then an eastern extension towards Ontario and Viau Streets, with a line snaking out on D’Iberville Street that headed north and to the east to Jean-Talon and Pie-IX Blvd. This plan was abandoned due to a lack of funds.

The Quiet Revolution that started at the end of the 1950s continued to spread all over Quebec—particularly in Quebec’s biggest metropolitan centre, Montreal. Talk of a new metro network heated up the 1960 Montreal mayoral election. Mayor Jean Drapeau used it as a platform point and managed to convince the citizens of Montreal to vote for him again, securing a second term.

The original network suggested by the CTM in 1961 showed a two-tiered metro system that provided both under- and above-ground service. The under-ground service retained the same geographical locations of the earlier plans and similar extensions, only this time an above-ground network ran north-south right through Mount Royal to Cartierville, with an eastern extension to Sault Street in the east.

The Montreal Metro system

LINE 1 – Green

Began operation: October 1966

The original metro line was depicted as a straight line on the inaugural metro map from Atwater Ave. to Frontenac Street, utilizing Berri-de-Montigny—now Berri-UQAM—to switch over to the Orange line (2) and the Yellow line (4). It then extended eastward to Frontenac in ‘67 and then towards Honore-Beaugrand, officially opening the stations from Préfontaine to Honore-Beaugrand in 1976. Finally, it extended eastwards with the stations from Lionel-Groulx to Angrignon opening in 1978.

LINE 2 – Orange

Began operation: October 1966

This was the first-planned metro line, as well as the longest running from Henri-Bourassa to Bonaventure. Originally, the portion from Berri-de-Montigny to Bonaventure was supposed to go to Longueuil instead, creating a solid north-south line, but this was scrapped as concerns over reaching downtown were voiced. The line continued westwards from Lucien-L’allier to Lionel-Groulx (making the station the second transfer station, after Berri) in 1978. Then the rest of the stations that continued west- and northward were opened from 1980 to Cote Vertu’s opening in 1986.

In 2002, construction began on a three-stop extension including Cartier, de la Concorde and Montmorency, heading north from Henri-Bourassa. The stations were opened in April 28th, 2007, finally linking the metro to Laval.

In July 2007, Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt voiced his desire to loop the Orange line from Montmorency to Cote Vertu, with the addition of six or seven new stations—half in Laval and half in Montreal. Talks are ongoing between the two cities.

LINE 3– Red

Began operation: Never

Originally conceived as a partially above-ground network of 15 stations that would’ve ended in Cartierville, it was cancelled due to the above-ground nature of the line, which would have to have winterized trains and use steel instead of rubber for the trains’ wheels. Because of those and other logistical and bureaucratic factors, including Canadian National Railway’s refusal to allow the metro access to its tracks running beneath Mount Royal, the red line would never come to be. The other large contributing factor was the opening of the 1967 World’s Fair—Expo 67—which made the Yellow line that reached to Ile-Sainte-Helene the main focus. The tunnel and tracks are now used by the AMT for their Montreal-Deux-Montagnes commuter train line instead.

LINE 4 – Yellow

Began operation: April 1967

A late arrival to the initial metro plans, the Yellow line was added on years after construction had begun on the Orange and Green lines when Montreal was chosen to host the 1967 World’s Fair. The line opened in late April to coincide with the beginning of the summer-long Expo 67.

There are three stations on the line—Berri-UQAM is the northern terminus, with Ile-Sainte-Helene—now Jean-Drapeau—and Longueuil—now Longueuil-Université-de-Sherbrooke—being the southern terminus. The Yellow line was the first line to leave the island of Montreal and to travel underwater.

LINE 5 – Blue

Began operation: 1986

The last of the four existing stations was created in the early 1980s to service the eastern portion of the island as well as service the Université de Montreal. Originally conceived to run far into Montreal North, with a terminus on Amos Street along Jean-Talon Blvd., with plans proposed to reach west into Montreal West on Sherbrooke Street, beyond the current western terminus of Snowdon and as far east as Ville-d’Anjou. The original metro line was composed of De Castelnau on the west and St-Michel station on the east in ‘86, then Parc was added to the line in 1987, and finally the line was extended westward to Snowdown in 1988.

A CTV News investigation in 2007 revealed the fact that there is an unused station in Hampstead that would connect to Snowdown, continuing the Blue line westward. The station was built, complete with tracks that would connect it to the already in-service station, but due to political reasons no aboveground entrance has been created.

LINE 6 – Colourless

Began operation: Never

A proposed east-west metro line that would’ve run above ground on the northern shore of the island. Unlike line 7, line 6 never got very far in the planning stage and was quickly dropped.

LINE 7 – White

Began operation: Never

First conceived in the early 1980s as a north-south line that would run below Pie-IX Blvd., this line was meant to bring service to the boroughs of St-Leonard and Montreal-North. The white line would have had 10 stations from Pie-IX on the Green line to a never-created Léger station to the north. The plan was scrapped and reintroduced in 1984 as a 12-station line travelling from Pie-IX to Langelier. It appeared on official STM literature and metro network plans from 1983 to the early ‘90s uncoloured, leading to its unofficial “white” name.

It was dropped when the Quebec government placed a moratorium on all expansions, citing budgetary concerns in the late 1980s.

—with files from Sebastien Cadieux

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