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REM construction could bring transit headaches

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WATCH: Construction on Montreal’s light rail REM system is causing disruption for drivers and commuters. As Global's Tim Sargeant reports, the patience of thousands of public transit users will very soon be put to the test – Apr 25, 2018

It’s tough enough getting around downtown Montreal.

Soon — it’s going to become a lot more difficult.

McGill College Avenue is slated to be dug up beginning this fall to make room for a tunnel linking the McGill metro station to a future train station belonging to the light rail electric train project — known as the REM.

Officials backing the project outlined the construction plans in the coming years.

The network will stretch 67 kilometres and include 26 stations.

But while construction has begun on some parts of the REM — some users on existing commuter train lines could face major inconveniences.

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Beginning Friday night, service on the RTM’s Deux-Montagnes line will be cancelled every weekend between Friday night and Monday morning for at least two years.

In June, two morning rush-hour trains and one evening rush-hour train will be cancelled.

And in 2020, all riders on the Deux-Montagnes line will have to exit at the du Ruisseau station and take a shuttle bus to the Cote-Vertu metro station to access downtown.

“I and my friends that take this line are at a loss to figure out how this is going to work,” Sandy Weigens, a commuter train user, told Global News.

The transfers are expected to add 30 minutes to the daily commute.

The message being relayed to the public: plan your commute in advance.

“We’re trying to make sure that it’s as easy as possible and this is why we’re working with our partners to make sure that some alternatives exist,” Caroline Julie Fortin, the spokesperson for the RTM, told Global News.

Construction on all four lines of the REM is expected to last until 2023, when the new train system is scheduled to open.