Expansion plan brings new railroad tracks to AMT trains

WATCH:An expansion plan is in the works for Montreal's passenger rail service, the AMT. As Global's Tim Sargeant reports, the commuter train agency has hired contractors to build a new set of railroad tracks.

MONTREAL – An expansion plan is in the works for Montreal’s passenger rail service, the AMT.

The commuter train agency has hired contractors to build a new set of railroad tracks to run parallel with existing tracks running between the Montreal-West and Lucien L’Allier stations.

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Three lines – Vaurdreuil-Hudson, Candiac and Saint-Jérôme – all have trains that run between the two stations and it can often get very congested.

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“There’s so many trains in the morning and afternoon that if you have a train breakdown it will congest the whole line,” Mike Cochrane, a CP Rail track foreman told Global News.

The $35 million project is part of the AMT’s plan to maintain reliable service with minimal delays and it could eventually lead to an increase in train service, especially on the popular Vaudreuil-Hudson line where passengers have been calling for more trains for years.

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“The project we are talking about, the addition of a third line, has the potential in the future to build more frequencies in the system,” said Paul Côté, the AMT’s new President and CEO.

The infamous train de l’ouest project, a grass roots proposal to dramatically increase train service on the Vaudreuil-Hudson line, has been discussed for years.

The stumbling block is determining how to add more trains.

The options are to either build a new set of tracks that would be wholly owned by the AMT, but could cost close to $1 billion, or negotiate with CP Rail, who currently owns the existing tracks, to add more trains.

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For now, Côté is leaning toward the latter.

“If we have resources available we will try to negotiate more trains on this line, obviously,” he said.

Outside of rush hour, it’s very difficult to catch an AMT train on the Vaudreuil-Hudson line as they often run several hours apart.

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The new tracks could be the future foundation for eventually increasing service.

The tracks will be operational by mid-November.