STM's new AZUR Metro train remains rare sight
Single new 9-car train will be in operation on Orange line during non-peak hours for next 2 months
With only one of Montreal's long-awaited new Metro trains in service for the next two months, Montrealers will need to know where to look — or have a little bit of luck — to hop on an AZUR train.
Although the STM has been testing the new trains since last August, the first nine-car train was put into regular service on Sunday.
"It was a very moving moment," STM chairman Philippe Schnobb told CBC Montreal's Daybreak on Monday.
"You had people who were there 50 years ago for the very first ride, and they said, 'I had to be there for the first train.' It's very unusual to get a standing ovation when a metro gets into a station. We had that yesterday."
The AZUR cars will eventually replace the iconic blue and white MR-63 cars that have been in service since 1966.
The 468 new cars are being built by the Bombardier-Alstom consortium for $1.2 billion.
Operating during non-peak hours
For at least the next 60 days, however, only one of the trains will be in operation on the Orange line during non-peak hours, Schnobb said.
"You have to be lucky because it takes an hour and a half to do [the full circuit], so every 45 minutes you'll get the train in your station," he said.
Or you could follow along on social media, Schnobb suggested, where many are sharing their impressions of the new trains when they spot them.
As luck would have it, got a ride on the new Azur metro cars just now. Well impressed. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/STM?src=hash">#STM</a> <a href="https://t.co/Ouink9qeIB">pic.twitter.com/Ouink9qeIB</a>—@finnertymike
Schnobb said the trains remain in the testing phase — and for now they won't be used during rush hour.
The new trains have greater capacity, better lighting and improved ventilation, Schnobb said.
Eventually, more trains will be added to the Orange line, easing the congestion seen during rush hour, he said.
The trains must run for 61 consecutive days without a significant issue before the STM introduces another train, meaning the next one could be in operation in another two months. The full fleet of cars are scheduled to be delivered by 2018.
Rode <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Montreal?src=hash">#Montreal</a>'s futuristic new Azur métro trains on 1st day of service.<br>Felt weird pulling into same-old stations! <a href="https://t.co/RawdwKmOno">pic.twitter.com/RawdwKmOno</a>—@grescoe