The venerable MR-63 took its last ride Thursday, as the city’s metropolitan transit agency, the STM, is taking them off the rails to make way for the new Azur trains.
The original Metro trains began their lives in Montreal’s underground train system back in 1966.
The cars were designed by Jacques Guillon et Associés and built by Canadian Vickers.
As STM officials shuttled dignitaries and reporters on and off the cars as it followed the blue line from the Snowdon Station, the designer of the original cars, Morley Smith, spoke to Global News.
Smith had just moved to Montreal from Syracuse, N.Y. in the early 1960s after graduating from college. He was going to work for the Ford Motor Co. when Jacques Guillon asked him to design the first Metro cars.
“I didn’t know anything about designing Metro cars and I had to learn really fast,” he said.
The move that brought him to Canada ended up keeping him here. He designed the successor as well, the MR-73, the LRC high-speed Canadian train, and other vehicles. He now lives in Beaconsfield.
There was an unmistakable feeling of nostalgia on the trains as well.
The MR-63 began a Montreal tradition of rolling on rubber tires, a feature continued with the new rolling stock, and one designers chose originally to keep the ride smooth during inclines on the tracks.
Pierre Mayer is a self-described transit enthusiast who was at the MR-63’s last run.
“You can call me very strange, but I really love the smell of peanut oil and the rubber tires in the Metro,” he said.