MONTREAL, Feb. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - Train de l'Ouest is grateful that the
government has decided to launch the project to improve commuter rail
service between downtown and the Western suburbs (the "Couronne Ouest"
of Montreal), starting with the preparation of engineering studies.
Since the announcement in the budget for 2010-2011 of a contribution of
$ 200 million from Quebec for the construction of a dedicated exclusive
airport shuttle, the grassroots movement "Train de l'Ouest" has mounted
a campaign to promote the improvement of commuter rail service to the
western suburbs of Montreal (the Couronne Ouest). The campaign came to
a climax with a visit of the mayors and "Train de l'Ouest" to Quebec
City in October to present a petition of 13 000 signatures to the
National Assembly and make a case for improved commuter rail service to
the Minister of Finance, Raymond Bachand and the Minister of Transport,
Today's announcement by minister Hamad is the first response from the
Quebec government to the campaign.
The process has started, but is the "Train de l'Ouest" really ready to
leave the station?
"While this is a first step," declared Train de l'Ouest spokesman
Clifford Lincoln, "Quebec must put a priority on the construction of
new rail lines to Ste Anne, set a time-table for construction, and
provide adequate funds for the project in the next budget."
If Quebec agrees to make the project a priority and authorize the funds,
construction of the new rail lines could be completed by 2014, in time
to provide an effective means of mitigation to the work on the Turcot
exchange and the Ville Marie Expressway.
"We must remember that, just as with the metro, the municipalities share
in the deficit of the operation of the commuter trains. The more people
that will use the train, the lower the deficits, so the timing of the
beginning of the service is important", added Clifford Lincoln.
Traffic congestion and longer commute times are the main motivators for
individuals to abandon cars for public transit, specifically trains.
Experience in the US and Europe has shown that drivers prefer using
trains to buses. To maximize ridership and reduce operational deficits,
it is essential that the Train de l'Ouest be completed before work is
started on the reconstruction of the Ville Marie Expressway.
This reconstruction will reduce the capacity of the highway from Turcot
to Atwater into the city by 40% during rush hour. This will not only
affect residents of the West Island and Vaudreuil, but also from
Chateauguay and the western part of Laval.
With the appropriate feeder bus lines and convenient parking, it is
expected that the Train de l'Ouest will reduce the daily number of
individual car trips by 4,000. This represents a significant reduction
of the traffic coming from the West Island and Vaudreuil.
It will make employment opportunities in the "Couronne Ouest" available
to Montreal residents who rely on rapid public transport. With trains
running until midnight, Montreal's cultural vocation will be more
accessible to West Island residents who wish to use the train to go
Finally, by building new tracks that will separate freight and passenger
traffic, Canadian Pacific will be able to help grow container volumes
passing through the port of Montreal. C.P.'s freight traffic would no
longer be restricted by commuter trains.
Train de l'Ouest, a grassroots movement spearheaded by Clifford Lincoln,
is mobilizing the population of the West Island and Vaudreuil-Soulanges
in order to pressure the Quebec government to improve commuter rail
service to these areas.
SOURCE Train de l'Ouest
For further information: