OUTLINE OF PRESENTATION
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You may either scroll through or use these links to dates:
| About 1910 Conceived by
Henry K. Wicksteed (1850-1927), Chief Engineer of Surveys for the
former Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR). The main objectives were:
1. To give the CNoR access to downtown Montreal. Rivals CP and Grand Trunk had the good spots spoken for, with their Windsor and Bonaventure stations respectively, while CNoR’s station was very inconveniently located at Moreau and Ste. Catherine Streets in the east end. CNoR also wanted to avoid crossing CP and GT lines, or going around the mountain.
2. To develop the then-vacant and low-valued land north of Mount Royal into a “Model City”, the Town of Mount Royal (TMR). CNoR hoped to finance the tunnel and terminal project mainly from the sale of residential lots in TMR, a tactic they had used very successfully in their past expansion into Western Canada.
The CNoR acquired, at an “advantageous” price (never disclosed), a parcel of land covered with “second-rate buildings”, at de la Gauchetière and McGill College Streets, on which it built a terminal that was supposed to be temporary. Sir William Mackenzie and Sir Donald Mann of the CNoR had ambitious development plans for the area around the terminal, but they would not come to fruition for almost 50 years, and then not exactly as Mackenzie and Mann had planned.
The tunnel is about 3 miles (5 km) long, has a 0.6% grade against outbound trains, and is not forced-air ventilated. From the start, it was proposed that only electric trains should ever operate in the tunnel. The CNoR chose a 2400-volt DC system, like the Butte, Anaconda, and Pacific (BA&P) copper-hauling railway in Montana; and established an engine change point at Lazard (Val Royal 1926-1995, now Bois Franc), where electrics were changed for steam locomotives, or vice versa, on mainline trains to or from Toronto and Ottawa. CNoR also built shops for their electric locomotives at Lazard, along with a loop track for turning locomotive-hauled trains.
Incorporation of Canadian Northern Tunnel and Terminal Company, later
renamed Mount Royal Tunnel and Terminal Company, as a subsidiary of
CNoR, to build the tunnel and terminal.
1913 December 10 Tunnelling crews from east (downtown) and west portals met in the centre of the tunnel; alignment was off by only about one inch. Concreting of tunnel was completed by 1916; tracks and catenary were installed by September 1918. Slow progress was due to World War I and CNoR’s financial difficulty.
1914 Order placed with General Electric (GE) for 6 boxcab electric locomotives, like Butte Aanaconda & Pacific units. Née CNoR 600-605, then CN class Z-1a 9100-9105, then 100-105, finally 6710-6715. Units 600-603 were built entirely at Schenectady, New York; 604 was built in Toronto, from parts shipped there from Schenectady; 605 was built entirely at Peterborough, Ontario. Delivery delayed until 1916-1917 due to war. 603 was retired in 1993 as CN 6713, all others remained in service until June 2, 1995.
1914 Six electric multiple unit (MU) cars were ordered from Pressed Steel Car Co. for commuter service. This order was later cancelled; former Grand Trunk Pacific coaches 2012 and 2015 were converted to electric MU motor cars, 15903 and 15904, in 1925.
1917 December 20 Bankruptcy of CNoR; in 1919, it became part of the Canadian Government Railways, which in turn became part of Canadian National Railways (CN) in 1923. Mackenzie and Mann’s redevelopment plans for the area around the terminal were frustrated.
1918 October 21 Unit 601 hauled the first train from the terminal into tunnel. Opening was little noticed; a flu epidemic resulted in a ban on large public gatherings, and World War I was still underway. Regular commuter service began to Lazard, about 7 miles.
1925 July Electrification extended about 9 miles west from Lazard to St. Eustache-sur-le-Lac (Deux-Montagnes since 1963, now Grand-Moulin); this is still the main line today.
President Sir Henry Thornton proposed another ambitious
redevelopment plan for the area around the Tunnel Terminal; also
by Great Depression of 1929. A tentative start on a new downtown
was halted by 1931; restarted in 1938.
1943 July 14 CN opened present Central Station, combining in one location 3 of its widely scattered “legacy” stations (CNoR Tunnel Terminal and Moreau Street, and GT Bonaventure). The old “temporary” Tunnel Terminal was closed the next day, and demolished in January 1952; the present CN Headquarters building was opened on that site in 1961.
1943 Three engine change points were established: at Gohier, near Eastern Junction, for trains to or from northern Quebec; at Turcot Yard, for trains to or from Ottawa and Toronto; and Bridge Street, at the north end of the Victoria Bridge, for trains to or from the South Shore.
1943 Construction of the l’Assomption (later Longue Pointe, then Joliette, now St. Laurent) Subdivision across northeastern part of Montreal Island; crosses Mount Royal Subdivision at Eastern Junction (EJ Tower located in southwest quadrant). Electrification started 1945-46 to Montreal North station, at Lacordaire Boulevard, about 6 miles east of Eastern Junction.
1946 January 12 NW2 #7903, hauling 2 burning coaches out of Central Station, collided with oil-electric motor car 15819, near South Portal of tunnel; 4 killed. Tunnel was closed for 10 days. Smoke was a major factor in the accident; electric-only order for tunnel was reinforced.
1946 Electrified service started to Montreal North; never more than one locomotive-hauled rush hour round trip.
1947 Retirement of first-generation MU motor cars 15903 and 15904; scrapped 1949.
1950, July 28 Delivery of 3 GE steeple cab electric locomotives, built at Erie, Pennsylvania, class Z-5a, née 200-202, later 6725-6727. These units were the line’s “hot rods”; they were preferred for hauler service because of their fast acceleration. All 3 units lasted until June 2, 1995.
1952 Delivery of 18 electric MU cars from Canadian Car and Foundry (CCF), with GE electrical equipment: 6 motor cars, class EP-59a, née M-1 to M-6, later 6730-6735; and 12 control trailers, class ET-69a, née T-1 to T-12, later 6739-6749. These cars were the line’s workhorses for the next 43 years. Normal consist was one motor car and 2 trailers (sometimes only one trailer); they could be coupled in trains of up to 9 cars. Motor cars always led outbound trains from Central Station. All but 4 cars lasted until June 2, 1995.
1954 GE and EE boxcabs retrofitted with same GE754 traction motors and other electrical equipment as steeplecabs and MU motor cars.
Start of building boom in downtown Montreal, on air rights over CN
tracks, that eventually covered up the tunnel’s South Portal, and the
tracks leading to it. Until then, the area was a large open cut called
“the hole”; from the Dorchester (now René-Lévesque)
Boulevard bridge, one could see the action. Among the large buildings
erected in this period: the Queen Elizabeth (Reine-Élisabeth)
Hotel, opened 1958; CN
HQ (1961); and Place Ville-Marie (1962).
July 23 Roxboro station MU trailer car T-8, leading a
3-car eastbound train to Montreal, collided head-on with westbound
freight train (RS-18 #3852 leading). One passenger, a 22-year- old
woman, was killed in the wreck; 70 others were injured; T-8 was
found that all 4 crew members of the commuter train overlooked an order
meet the freight train at Des Prairies siding in
Early 1960s First of many proposals to modernize the line; this one proposed converting it to Metro line 3. In 1962, after Montreal was awarded Expo 67, this plan was sidetracked in favor of Line 4 (to Ile Ste Hélène and Longueuil) and never revived.
1968, November 8 Last train to Montreal North; Metro line 2, opened 14 October 1966, bled off most of its traffic (probably never high to start with). Sauvé Metro station is near CN Ahuntsic station, still standing today and used by VIA trains. Catenary removed from Montreal North line, except for a short connection at Eastern Junction, used by locomotives hauling mainline trains (locomotive-hauled and RDC) through tunnel until the early 1990s.
1969 Final numbering scheme (67xx) of DC rolling stock adopted.
1971, November 4 4 EE locomotives 6718-6721 retired; they had been out of service since about 1967, and cannibalized for parts for others.
1974, October 7 A-ma-Baie station Eastbound freight train (RS-18 #3701 leading) collided head-on with westbound diesel hauled passenger train (GP9 #4107 leading) to Grenville; 2 crewmen on 4107 killed.
1976 Cartierville service was reduced to rush-hour only; service to Deux-Montagnes cut sharply, from 44 trains per weekday in 1966 to 18 by 1979. Until 1975, weekday daytime service was hourly on each branch, or every 30 minutes from Central Station to Val Royal. Over the next 5 years, CN repeatedly threatened abandonment unless the line was modernized and government assistance was forthcoming. Another modernization plan (1981) went nowhere.
Early 1980s MU motor car 6732 destroyed by fire, when and where unknown; scrapped 1985.
1982 July 1 10-year operating agreement with then Commission, now Société de transport de la Communauté urbaine de Montréal (STCUM)took effect; CN operated the line under contract to STCUM. Cartierville service abandoned; most trains to Deux-Montagnes restored (from 18 to 28 trains per weekday). Within MUC (Central Station - Roxboro, corresponding to present zones 1 and 2) fare integration with Metro and STCUM buses was adopted; fare anywhere within the MUC was 2 bus and Metro tickets, but transfers to and from Metro and STCUM buses permitted.
1986 January 1 Fare reduction: from Central Station to Val Royal (corresponding to present zone 1) now equal to single bus and Metro fare.
1989 Cartierville branch cut back to a 300-foot stub at Val Royal, used to short-turn MU trains.
1980s/Early 1990s Last major rebuild of DC rolling stock,
1992 February 12 Quebec Transport Minister Sam Elkas announced a $289M modernization of the line: 58 new cars ($130M contract awarded to Bombardier); electrification to be changed to AC (25,000 volts, 60 Hz); stations to be renovated; tracks and signal system to be rebuilt; a short extension, to Autoroute 640 in Deux-Montagnes, to be added.
1992 - CN leased 35 CCF-built coaches (ex-CN, 1954) from VIA Rail, to replace worn-out 1920s heavyweight coaches; added openable windows for ventilation. Rebuilt GP9RM diesels hauled the longest and heaviest trains, to ease the load on electric locomotives, especially in winter; however, electrics still hauled trains through the tunnel, cutting off at Portal Heights. Inbound trains (diesel or electric) coasted downhill through tunnel.
1992 - ? August 2: Weekday service cut from 16 to 12 trains, to help conserve MU cars.
1993, 1994, and 1995, summers Line closed completely for various phases of modernization, as described later. Service was curtailed progressively before shutdown, and restored in stages after work completed. Trains were replaced with various bus services for the duration of the work.
1993 Retirement of GE boxcab 6713, EE boxcab 6717, and MU trailer car 6748.
First deliveries of new cars, built by Bombardier with GE electrical
equipment. Cars are stored at a new shop in St. Eustache, north of
Autoroute 640, off Boulevard Albert-Mondou, still used today. Test runs
were made over a short section of track (25 kV 60 Hz) running south
the shop to a point just north of Oka Road overpass, where DC catenary
A short gap in the catenary separated AC and DC systems.
1995 February Removal of old DC catenary south of Central Station, leading to former CN Pointe St. Charles shops (later AMF Technotransport, now Alstom). Maintenance was moved in 1943 to “the Pointe”, then in 1985 to Central Station (old Turbo train maintenance bay). New AC catenary later erected to Cape (mile 0, Deux-Montagnes Subdivision).
1995 May 1 Catenary cut back from Deux-Montagnes to Laval-sur-le-Lac, to allow work in the Deux- Montagnes area.
1995 June 2
End of the line for the “rolling museum”: Last run of old DC rolling
1995 June 5 Val Royal station was demolished, after being vandalized over the weekend.
1995 October 26 Line reopened for rush-hour revenue service, after several delays. Rush-hour service was originally to resume August 28, and full-time service September 18.The new trains were an immediate hit with passengers, who were fed up with breakdowns and either roasting or freezing in the old trains. At first, the only apparent problems were with the end doors on some cars not closing properly. Bombardier technicians rode shotgun on some trips, to fix any problems. Full service resumed December 1, after completion of fencing along the line.
1995 December First serious problems appeared; during a major snow storm, melted snow shorted out traction motors. Service suspended 20 December to 08 January 1996 while all 116 motors (4 for each of the 29 motor cars) were sent back to GE at Erie, Pennsylvania, for re-insulation. Trains have operated reliably ever since. (This was not a new problem: In February 1958, the same problem affected the Pennsylvania Railroad’s GG1 electric locomotives, built in the 1930s and 1940s; at one point, almost all 139 of them were out of service).
1996 January 1 Newly-created Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) became operator of the line, and owner of rolling stock (effective December 20), replacing STCUM.
1997 Installation of 2 small high platforms, one with a shelter, at Roxboro-Pierrefonds station, for wheelchair access. “Switchback” ramps give access from main (low) platform. Centre (high- level) door of the first car of a Montreal-bound train lines up with this platform; signs indicate proper stopping positions for various train lengths, from 2 to 10 cars. Bridge plate slides and lowers into place, to close gap between platform and sill of car door. At Central Station, this car stops near elevator to concourse; a portable bridge plate is used there. The Quebec government is considering whether to install these platforms at other stations; so far, there are no plans to do so
January 6 Ice storm prevented trains from operating;
doors of trains were frozen shut, they could not leave St. Eustache
Power system and catenary were unaffected.
2001 January 1 Fare zone boundary moved; Du Ruisseau and Bois-Franc stations transferred from fare zone 1 to zone 2.
2003 January 1 Monthly and weekly bus and Metro passes issued by Montreal transit system, now called Société de transport de Montréal (STM), no longer accepted aboard trains.
2005 October Ten years after reopening of renovated line, daily ridership is over 31,000 almost half of AMT’s 7 commuter rail lines (total daily system ridership 63,000). Ridership has increased by 86% since 1996. Single track between Bois-Franc and Roxboro-Pierrefonds stations is a real bottleneck; AMT would like to double-track this section, but needs Quebec government approval to do so.
Short Term (3 years)
from Bois-Franc to Roxboro-Pierrefonds, and station at Autoroute 13
(Bois de Liesse); initially shelved, probably due to lack of funds.
This can now be expected in the near future, at least to Autoroute 13.
A new station in St. Eustache.
22 additional cars, for a total fleet of 80.
Expansion of park and ride lots at most outlying stations; with increased popularity of rebuilt line, there is often not enough parking space!
Return to Outline of Presentation
RENOVATION WORK 1993-1995
First Phase - Summer 1993 (July 3 - August 30)
Track renewal on Montfort Subdivision (single track from Val Royal to Deux-Montagnes); included reballasting of roadbed and laying of 115 lb./yard continuously welded rail.
Renewal of tunnel lining (4500 square feet).
Second Phase - Summer 1994 (June 27 - August 29)
Track renewal on Mount Royal Subdivision (2 tracks from Central Station to Val Royal), as described above.
Construction of new Bois de Liesse electric substation and St. Eustache shop.
Final Phase - Summer 1995 (June 3 - October 25)
Replacement of old DC catenary with new AC catenary, fed from a single new substation at Autoroute 13 (Bois de Liesse), about halfway between Bois Franc and Sunnybrooke stations, and next to a large Hydro-Québec substation (Poste Salaberry).
Removal of 3 old (vintage unknown) mercury-arc rectifier substations: at Central Station; Vertu, in northeast quadrant of Eastern Junction (also base for catenary maintenance crews; their truck was often parked there); and Saraguay, near new AC substation.
Removal of loop track and short remaining stub of Cartierville branch at Val Royal, and of electrified connection at Eastern Junction.
Installation of Centralized Traffic Control on entire line, now called CN Deux-Montagnes Subdivision. Former Mount Royal Subdivision was Automatic Block Signal system; former Montfort Subdivision was manual block system, as was Cartierville branch when it operated.
New fare machines installed at all stations; validators for book tickets were later added.
Testing and acceptance of new cars as deliveries continued.
Debugging of new power and propulsion systems, which were causing interference with signalling and communications systems, and electronic equipment in homes along the line.
Renovations to Central Station, including installation of elevators to platforms, at south end. Gate to tracks 7 and 8 removed; newsstand now occupies space.
Renovations to outlying stations. Almost all were renamed and/or moved, as follows. Only Central Station, Mount Royal, Ile Bigras, and Ste. Dorothée were not renamed.
||Named for CAnadian NOrthern RAilway.|
||Double S-curve south of station eliminated.|
||From O’Brien Blvd to Autoroute 15.|
|Val Royal||Bois Franc||
||From east to west side of Laurentian Blvd. Val Royal sign remains at old yard.|
||From Alexander Blvd to Sunnybrooke Rd; near Gouin Blvd. and buses.|
||Buses moved closer to station.|
|Ste. Dorothée||Ste. Dorothée||
||Replaced Laval Links and Laval-sur-le-Lac, both closed. Moved about 300 feet west.|
||Originally to be called A640.|
Return to Outline of Presentation
FEATURES OF NEW CARS
Number and type: Total 58 cars; 29 motor cars, all with driving cabs, 400-456 even; 4 trailer cars with driving cabs, 481-487 odd; 25 trailer cars without driving cabs, 401-449 odd. Exact pairings of motor and trailer cars is listed in Canadian Trackside Guide. Designated class MR-90 (MR: matériel roulant, or rolling stock, 1990 design). Current plans provide for 22 additional cars, for a total fleet of 80.
Builder: Bombardier Inc., La Pocatière, Quebec. Stainless steel construction. Body design and interior amenities probably based on Comet design sold to other commuter operations (including AMT’s 700 series, for Windsor Station - Dorion - Rigaud line, on CP tracks).
Electrical equipment: General Electric Transportation Systems, Erie, Pennsylvania, USA; 25 kV 60 Hz primary power; each motor car has four 380 HP (continuous) AC traction motors.
Power Collection: Faiveley type single arm pantograph on each motor car.
Capacity: Motor cars and cab trailers, 88 seats; non-cab trailers, 92 seats. Crush capacity about 200 passengers for all cars. Seats are arranged in facing pairs, 2+2 abreast. Graffiti-resistant seat and wall coverings.
Wheelchair tie-downs: 2 in each motor car and cab trailer, near centre doors; seats fold upward.
Bicycle racks (May 1 to October 30): 4 racks in motor and cab trailer cars; each rack replaces a pair of seats. Bicycles must ride in first car of train only.
sliding door at centre of car on each side, for high
platform loading; used at Central Station, and wheelchair platform at
Roxboro-Pierrefonds. Passengers can open the centre doors individually
using push buttons, when enabled by train crew.
Outward opening plug doors at ends of cars, 3 on motor and cab trailer cars, 4 on non-cab trailer cars; used at outlying stations. 5 steps at each door; no traps over steps, a huge time saving for crew! Any or all doors (centre or end) can be opened or closed remotely from any car in train.
Heat and air conditioning: Electric; air conditioning is probably the most appreciated amenity! (Old locomotive-hauled trains were connected to steam lines in Central Station during layovers there; the heat thus generated was theoretically sufficient for 2 round trips. In practice, it was usually exhausted in about half that time, as trains usually ran with doors open! Air conditioning used ice blocks, but was deactivated due to lack of power supply. The locomotives had neither heating boilers nor head-end power, neither of which the old DC power system probably could have handled anyway. The cars’ own axle-driven generators required a 26-mile run to recharge the batteries, 17 miles was not enough. Old MU cars had electric heat, but no air conditioning).
Crew: Can be only 2 people, engineer and conductor, but often 1 or 2 trainmen, for total crew of 4. (Formerly 4 to 6 men, depending on type and length of train: engineer, conductor, and 2 or 3 trainmen. Locomotive hauled trains had 2-man engine crews; MU trains had only an engineer. Flagman was required to ride rear of train in tunnel).
Superior direction: Northbound or westbound; on most other CN subdivisions, the superior direction is eastbound or southbound.
Frequency of Service: 26 round trips Monday to Friday; 9 on Saturdays; 5 on Sundays. Current schedules available on AMT Web site, and in Canadian Trackside Guide.
Fare Collection: Line is divided into 4 zones. Current zone map and fares available on AMT Web site. Tickets issued in zones 1 and 2 have blue borders; those issued in zones 3 and 5 have red borders. STCUM bus/Metro tickets are not accepted. Honor system is used; passengers must have valid passes or tickets, or transfers from Metro and STCUM buses in zones 1 and 2, while aboard trains or on station platforms, and can be inspected at any time. Fine if caught without proof of payment ranges from $75.00 to $500.00.
|One||Central Station to Bois-Franc inclusive (MUC)|
|Two||Sunnybrooke and Roxboro-Pierrefonds (MUC)|
|Three||Ile Bigras and Ste. Dorothée (City of Laval)|
|Four||The line skips zone four entirely|
|Five||Grand Moulin and Deux-Montagnes (City of Deux-Montagnes)|
Power supply: CNoR built its own 2400-volt-DC rotary converter substation, which originally was capable of supplying the entire line, near North Portal of the tunnel. This was later replaced by 3 mercury-arc rectifier substations, at Central Station, Vertu, and Saraguay. Those, in turn, were replaced in 1995 by present single AC substation feeding main line. Smaller substations at Central Station and St. Eustache shop feed those immediate areas.
eliminated by renovation:
- Flagman no longer required to ride rear of train in tunnel.
- Sale, collection, and punching of tickets and issuance of transfers on board trains.
- Manually throwing switches, or opening and closing vestibule doors and traps.
- Reliance on written train orders, hooped up to crews by operators, usually at Val Royal (also at Roxboro long ago).
- Deadhead equipment moves between Deux-Montagnes, Roxboro, Val Royal, and Central Station. Trains are parked overnight at St. Eustache, not at Central Station as in the past.
DISPOSITION OF DC ROLLING STOCK
Railway Museum, St. Constant, Quebec:
GE boxcab 6711, coaches 5062 and 5064 from last train; MU motor car 6734 and trailer 6742. Formally presented 10 June 1995. Last-day commemorative plaque stored in museum office; may be viewed upon request.
To City of
GE boxcab 6710; on static display outside new Deux-Montagnes station; “plinthed” (secured) there 19 July 1998; stored in St. Eustache shop in the meantime.
To Town of Mount
GE boxcab 6712; in municipal garage since 1995, pending selection of a suitable display site.
Museum of Science and Technology, Ottawa, Ontario:
GE boxcab 6715; arrived 05 June 1995.
To Alberta Pioneer
Railway, Stettler, Alberta:
MU trailer cars 6740, 6741, 6744, 6747 (diner “Val Royal”)
To Conway Scenic
Railroad, Conway, New Hampshire, USA:
MU trailer cars 6739, 6743, 6745, 6749.
Trolley Museum, East Haven, Connecticut, USA:
GE boxcab 6714; to be converted to run on museum’s 600 volt DC system.
To South Carolina
Railroad Museum, Winnsboro, South Carolina, USA:
MU motor cars 6730, 6733, 6735; MU trailer car 6746.
MU motor car 6732 (1985) and trailer car T-8 (1960); first-generation MU motor cars 15903 and 15904 (1949).
All EE boxcabs; GE boxcab 6713; MU motor car 6731 and trailer 6748. It is believed that the last 4 EE boxcabs (6716, 6722, 6723, and 6724) were moved at night from Taschereau Yard to Lachine for scrapping; this was never confirmed. There was also an unconfirmed report that a museum in England was interested in getting an EE unit, but nothing ever came of that.
GE steeplecabs 6725-6727; sent to South Carolina for conversion to diesel units, but company doing the work went bankrupt. An earlier unconfirmed report said that they were to be sold to Amtrak, for use as switchers in New York City’s Pennsylvania Station, part of which has third rail DC electrification.
Return to Outline of Presentation
Equipment/History/Operations (Current and Past)
City of Deux-Montagnes: http://www.ville.deux-montagnes.qc.ca/en/mairie/chroniques/Chapter10.php
(historic, with particular emphasis on Deux-Montagnes)
Marc Dufour, Montreal: http://www.emdx.org/rail/DeuxMontagnes/index.html
(Mainly French, but some English content)
Ricard’s Railway Page, The Town of Mount Royal: http://www.butoba.net/homepage/tmr.html
(Ricard Wolf, Sweden)
Canadian Railway Museum: http://www.exporail.org/collection/collection_inter_ang.htm
equipment will be found in Table VIII - Electric Interurban and Suburban Equipment
Alberta Pioneer Railway: http://www.absteamtrain.com/index.htm
Connecticut Trolley Museum (6714): http://www.ct-trolley.org/t2.htm
South Carolina Railroad Museum: http://www.scrm.org/eqpassenger.asp
Return to Outline of Presentation
Updated 3 March 2010
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