December 7, 2018 6:17 pm
Updated: December 7, 2018 8:02 pm

Exo commuter rail service rolls out changes

Fri, Dec 7: With winter fast approaching, exo, the company in charge of the city's commuter train service, is putting the wheels in motion to ensure users have a smooth ride. As Global's Tim Sargeant reports, new measures have been put in place to ensure that there are fewer delays this winter.

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Officials running Exo’s six commuter rail lines are trying to put the winter of 2018 behind them. After all, last January trains were consistently late as cold temperatures and heavy snowfalls delayed many of Exo’s trains. Now, $15 million has been spent on major upgrades.

Fifty-six new heated covers have been added over track switches to prevent ice and snow build up. New ballasts have been installed on track infrastructure to allow for improved water drainage. Steel guards are bolted on the underbellies of trains to deflect ice and snow from hitting a sensor that triggers brakes to be applied.

READ MORE: Exo general manager Raymond Bachant steps down

“We did some improvements on the maintenance,” Gaétan Turcotte, Exo’s point man in charge of the rolling stock told Global News.

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Tens of thousands of passengers rely on the commuter trains every day. Some are relieved to hear improvements are being made.

”Hopefully, it’s going to be reliable and it’s not going to break down because I’m using this transport to make sure I get to school,” Colin Mitron, an Exo user told Global News as he prepared to board a train on the Vaudreuil-Hudson line at the Lucien-L’Allier station.

READ MORE: Montreal’s commuter train network promises to improve services

Global News was one of only two media outlets (the other Radio-Canada) granted access to Exo`s sprawling garage in Lachine where trains are fueled, inspected, maintained and repaired.

Locomotives with 4,400 horsepower that can pull trains and reach speeds up to 130 kilometres per hour were on full display.

Exo’s goal is to maintain an on-time performance record of 95 per cent with the exception of the Deux-Montagnes and the Mascouche lines. They are being retrofitted by the sprawling electric train network, REM, which will soon take over the line.

“It’s true that we’re operating a train line in difficult conditions and that we deal with old cars,” Exo spokesperson Catherine Maurice told Global News.

For the other four lines, Maurice says the $15 million should make service this winter a lot better.

“Risk zero doesn’t exist but we’re very confident that we’re improving the situation regarding winter 2019,” she said.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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