Far From Boring:
Meet the Most Interesting Tunnel Boring Machines

Right now in Los Angeles, Elon Musk is playing in the dirt with his shiny new toy, a second-hand tunnel-boring machine (“TBM”) named “Godot”. He hopes to revolutionize car travel by building highways underground, in “going 3d”. Musk’s antics have already drawn criticism from transit-planning experts. Jarrett Walker points out that Musk’s ideas are inherently […]

2017 in Review

In 2017 for this blog, the big story continued to be the REM. Early in the year the BAPE (environmental consultation process) published their report, in which they concluded that at this time they can not recommend that this project should continue. I had been following that consultation closely, and wrote a long memoir and […]

The “World’s First Solar Train”
     is in Reality a Battery Train

This month, Australia’s Byron Bay Railroad, a short tourist shuttle, started service. It’s special, because it claims it’s a “world-first truly solar train”. I think it’s great that it’s a solar-powered train, but it’s actually even more exciting that it’s a battery-powered train. The PR imagery shows that there are solar panels on top of […]

Privatization of the Deux-Montagnes Line:
How to Value a Transit Line?

How do you make subsidized transit profitable overnight, without moving a single stone?– By privatizing it, but not in the way you’re thinking. During the BAPE consultations for the REM last year, I ran into Aref Salem, a city councillor who was a board member of the AMT (now RTM). He was quite in favour […]

What’s a Gadgetbahn?

For some time, I’ve been meaning to write about German transportation systems like what’s an S-Bahn or what’s a Stadtbahn. With the recent news out of Quebec, I figured I’d instead talk about a transportation concept that doesn’t actually transport anybody at all: the Gadgetbahn. The word is a portemanteau of the English “Gadget” and […]

Barcelona’s Line 9 – Inspiring Montreal’s Pink Line

Why do we care about Barcelona anyway? During the current electoral campaign in Montreal, Valérie Plante (Projet Montréal) proposed to build a new metro line, the Pink line, which would run diagonally from Montréal-Nord to downtown. The Pink line is actually inspired by Barcelona’s Line 9, both in terms of construction method and in some […]

Mont Royal:
Convertissons la Conduite Urbaine en Ski Urbain!

Go to English Version La mort récente d’un cycliste sur Camillien-Houde, le chemin passant à travers le Mont Royal, a amené plusieurs à demander de faire cesser la conduite à travers la montagne. Une fermeture partielle du Chemin pourrait permettre de maintenir les lignes d’autobus sur la montagne, de même que la pratique de sports […]

The Cost of Montreal’s Free Transit Weekend

Update: October 4, 2017 (added missing day pass in last table) Two weekends ago, Montreal had a weekend with free transit. In general, this sounds like a good idea. It’s a way to get people to try out transit, maybe encourage them consider to use it more often. Or maybe use it on a path […]

Does Automating the Metro Save Lots of Money?

As a continuation of my recent post on the cost of operating the Montreal Metro, I wanted to look at the merits of automation. The recent discussion of the planned REM light metro has brought that subject up repeatedly, with the implication that drivers are super expensive and that you can save a lot of […]

Is the Montreal Metro Profitable?

Recent discussions about transit and profitability seem to imply that a transit system could be profitable if you privatize and automate it. This led me to wonder whether the Montreal Metro, a semi-automated system, is actually profitable. From an accounting perspective, profitability is simple: add up the revenues and the costs of doing business, and […]

The CDPQ and Bill 137:
Constructing Alternate Realities

It’s been quite a while since I wrote about the REM, Montreal’s controversial light rail project. Since my last analysis on the subject, I spent more time following the official channels to try to participate in the discussion — I submitted a 100 page brief and a 20 minute presentation at the independent environmental consultations […]

The New Vend̫me Station РLong Transfers Ahead

Last Wednesday, I presented a memoir at the the Société de Transports de Montréal’s (STM) consultations on the “Vendôme Access Project”. The STM plans to build a second entrance and pedestrian corridor at Vendôme Station, to link together the Metro station, the commuter rail station, the new MUHC hospital, and the residential area to the […]

La Controverse Autour du REM est Devenue une Guerre Médiatique…

English version below. The following was written as a response to the most recent ‘opinion’ published by the CDPQInfra in La Presse and Le Devoir. La controverse autour du REM est devenue une guerre médiatique… sur un projet de transport en commun! Ça n’a aucun sens. Le projet devrait être évalué selon son mérite, avec […]

How VIA Rail Torpedoed its Own “High-Frequency Rail” Project and Montreal’s chance for Regional Rail

VIAs high-frequency rail project is a great opportunity for an integrated rail network in the greater Montreal region. This would require shared access to the Mount Royal tunnel, which the Caisse refuses to consider with the REM project. Instead of fighting for track sharing at the environmental impact hearings, VIA decided to throw themselves under […]

STM By-Law on Tickets Found Unconstitutional:
the Judgment Explained

The following article is written by JC, a non-practising lawyer who sometimes collaborates with Ant6n on his blog posts, and is not a legal opinion. On September 7, 2016, a Municipal Court judge rendered a judgment that declared unconstitutional sections 6 and 9 of the STM by-law that allowed STM inspectors to fine transit users […]

Le REM perd le nord

This text was published as an opinion in the metro newspaper on September 15, 2016, excluding the last paragraph. Des nos jours, des centaines de milliers de montréalais du nord et de l’est de l’Île de Montréal s’entassent durant des heures chaque jour dans les bus des lignes 67, 139, 32, 48, 49, 60 et […]

The New Champlain Bridge – Barely Built for Rail

An investigation into how the New Champlain Bridge is being built for only very light railway axle loads, and how this would make it difficult to build an integrated regional rail system shared between REM, AMT and VIA, but not impossible. One issue regarding the REM light metro project that has come up during the […]

REM – A Look At The Ridership Study Summary

Ridership Study Reveals Suburban, Car-Centric, Peak-Centric Focus; Airport Ridership is Abysmal; brings into Question again the Cost-benefit of the West Island and Airport Branches; ignores urban network effects. Things are starting to roll for the REM, the BAPE (environmental impact) hearings started this week, there are more presentations and people have started asking questions. The […]

The Caisse’s Debunking Debunked

Last Friday, the CDPQInfra released an article entitled “Claims and Realities regarding the REM project”. It appears they want to address some of the criticisms that many have raised. Unfortunately, their article of supposed “claims” vs supposed “reality” includes many big inaccuracies, so I’m feeling compelled to provide counterpoints to their “reality”. I know at […]

How the Caisse’s “Public-Public-Partnership”
is Privatization in Disguise

I’ve been staring at the documents of the REM projects for months now. The more I look at them, the more I feel we’re about to make a big mistake. I’ve been having this sinking feeling in my stomach, the feeling you have as you watch a trainwreck unfold in slow motion and there’s nothing […]