CDPQ Infra and CN enter into an agreement

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CANADA: As part of its Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM) project update, CDPQ Infra has announced that it has entered into an agreement with CN. The agreement marks a decisive step in the development of the REM project as a unified, integrated system, with Central Station as the intermodal hub linking four metropolitan branches.

The REM is a new 67-km integrated public transportation network that will link downtown Montréal, the South Shore, the West Island (Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue), the North Shore (Deux-Montagnes) and the airport in a fully automated, electric light rail transit system.

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Under the agreement, CDPQ Infra will acquire the aerial structure leading to Central Station (Viaduc du Sud) from CN, allowing the REM to access the station directly. The agreement also allows the REM to use Central Station and run under CN’s tracks in the Pointe-Saint-Charles sector.

In addition to facilitating the integration of different public transportation networks through Central Station, the agreement allows CDPQ Infra to significantly reduce the impacts of the REM project on the urban fabric. As such, heritage buildings, including the Rodier Building, and various residential and commercial buildings, will be fully preserved. The use of existing structures also eliminates the need to build parallel tracks and close Saint-Paul, William and Dalhousie Streets, thereby avoiding further inconvenience for citizens.

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“This agreement crystalizes the vision we had for the REM, that of a unified system, integrated into the urban fabric. We are truly grateful for CN’s collaboration in helping us find solutions, particularly in facilitating the REM’s access to Central Station, the network hub. This speaks to the seriousness and commitment of a partner who, like us, seeks to improve the fluidity and efficiency of transportation in the Greater Montréal area,” said Macky Tall, President and Chief Executive Officer of CDPQ Infra.

“Considering the key role played by rail transportation in the fight against climate change, CN is proud to be able to facilitate the implementation of this major project that will benefit and develop the Greater Montréal area,” said Janet Drysdale, Vice-President, Corporate Development at CN.

The agreement between CDPQ Infra and CN provides for the acquisition of land, buildings, structures, bridges, as well as rail infrastructure between Bridge and Saint-Antoine Streets in a central area of Montréal.

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The three operators of passenger services (AMT – Mont-Saint-Hilaire line, AMTRAK and VIA Rail) that currently use the Viaduc du Sud will not be affected by its acquisition by CDPQ Infra.

The REM project will require construction work and potential changes to the structure. This work will be carried out without interfering with existing passenger services.

On the same day CDPQ Infra has also presented an update on the progress of REM project and on the latest proposed route optimisations.

Following technical and environmental consultations and analyses carried out on a continuous basis since the project was announced on April 22, various measures have been taken to optimise the route, in collaboration with different stakeholders, including municipalities and transit authorities. These improvements target all aspects of the project, including service quality and efficiency, the reduction of environmental and social impacts, and the reduction of travel times.

The new travel time from the airport to downtown is estimated to be from 24 to 26 minutes, with express service of 18 to 20 minutes.

The environmental impact public hearing (BAPE) requested from the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change begins on Monday, August 29.

Hear about the project from Jean Marc Arbaud, Deputy Managing Director, CDPQ Infra at the Global AirRail 2016 conference, taking place in Helsinki on 9-11 November. Click here for more information >>>

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