People living on Montreal’s West Island can expect better train service to downtown Montreal within the next two years, according to Quebec's Transport Ministry.
On Monday, Quebec Transport Minister Robert Poëti told members of the Train De L'Ouest Coalition — a West Island group that has been fighting for better train service — that the government is earmarking $80 million to add trains between the West Island and downtown.
Poëti’s announcement had West Island mayors feeling hopeful.
“He wanted to show the commitment to a rapid link for the west and today he showed it,” said Baie-D'Urfé Mayor Maria Tutino, who is also a member of the Train De L'Ouest Coalition.
For years, the coalition has been pushing for new rail lines between the rail stations of St-Anne-de-Bellevue on the West Island and Lucien L’Allier downtown.
For now, coalition members said they are happy with an immediate investment of $80 million from the province to add two to three trains a day to the schedule on the Vaudreuil-Hudson line.
“We’re coming out of this better than when we went in because we got a very honest exchange with the minister and a commitment that, on his watch, a rapid link for the citizens of the west would be done or put on track,” Tutino said.
Previous governments have made promises in the past about making a West Island train a priority.
Coalition spokesman Clifford Lincoln, who is also a former Quebec cabinet minister, said this time the project seems to have real momentum.
“We are just as skeptical about promises as you are. I used to be in politics so I know what it's like. The difference here is that the Premier has committed himself … So we've got a feeling now the message has been heard," Lincoln said.
The new trains are expected to start rolling on the tracks within 18 to 24 months.