By Joel Ceausu
It was almost a generation in the making but the Train de l’Est is getting set to roll into town.
The Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) inaugurated a long awaited train stop last week.
Local MNAs and mayors showed up to cut the ribbon at the St. Léonard-Montréal Nord station straddling those boroughs, and tout the benefits the long-awaited—and increasingly expensive—train will bring to their communities.
“The service will greatly improve the quality of life for citizens of Jeanne Mance–Viger” said MNA Filomena Rotiroti, “by enabling them to dramatically reduce travel time to downtown Montreal.
The first passengers will step foot on the train Dec. 1, and the trip from St. Léonard’s northern limit to downtown Montreal is expected to take 25 minutes, a dramatic reduction from the grueling morning rush hour commute from the East-End borough.
The launch of the St. Léonard-Montréal Nord station brings the Mascouche-to-downtown line’s work to 91 percent completion. The line will see eight peak and eight off-peak departures daily from its northeastern terminus, with stops in Terrebonne and Repentigny before hitting the island of Montreal.
The station, just north of Grandes Prairies, offers a drop-off site, 14 bicycle racks and parking for 175 cars. Five STM buses service the station, one of 10 new stations joining Canora in Mount Royal and Central Station downtown.
Montreal Nord borough Mayor Gilles Deguire said the new station represents more than just a quick new way to get downtown. “We hope to revitalize industry by the arrival of new businesses and light manufacturing. Better public transportation is one more tool we have to make to woo these new industries and attract new employees.”
The Train de l’Est is expected to carry 5,500 passengers over its 52 km line each rush hour, almost a third of who—according to AMT studies—currently use their cars. The train’s cost is pegged at $671.4 million—plus a $90 million reserve—up significantly from its 2006 price tag of $435 million when it finally got the go-ahead from the province, which will pick up three-quarters of the tab.
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