New Montreal Metro train finally in service

When a sleek grey train pulled into the Henri-Bourassa station a little after 10 a.m. on Sunday, it marked the first time the public has had a chance to ride the new AZUR trains.

Cars feature larger windows, wider doors and more space

The STM's new AZUR cars underwent testing during the daytime on the Metro's orange and blue lines. (CBC)

Montreal Metro passengers had the chance this morning to do something they have never done before: board a subway car that looks different.

As a sleek grey train pulled into the Henri-Bourassa station a little after 10 a.m., it marked the first time the public has had a chance to ride the new AZUR trains.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre joined other dignitaries as the new AZUR metro cars entered service for the first time. (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)

They will replace the iconic blue and white MR-63 cars that have been in service since 1966, when the Metro first opened. An updated version of the MR-63, which looks identical from the exterior, was introduced in 1976.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and a number of other dignitaries were among those waiting anxiously for the new train on the Henri-Bourassa platform.

"It's the start of a new era," Coderre said. "What's important today is that Montreal, like other big cities, is getting up-to-date in terms of sustainable development."

The new trains have no partition between cars, allowing passengers to move freely from one car to the next. They also feature larger windows, armrests, wider doors and pneumatic suspension.

'Everything is different'

As the train picked up its first passengers, they remarked on the smoother ride.

"Everything is different," said Gilles Benoit, who made the trip from Longueuil. He worked for several years as a Montreal Metro operator, and wanted to be among the first to ride the new trains.   

"I love it," he said, smiling. 

The new trains feature blue seats featuring the STM's logo. (Radio-Canada)

For the moment there is only one of the new trains in operation and only on the orange line. A total of 52 new trains will be gradually phased into service by 2018.

The 468 new cars are being built by the Bombardier-Alstom consortium, at a cost of $1.2 billion.​