Montreal subway cars too high, city needs to grind tunnels

Montreal's STM transit agency will make a series of changes to its Metro network due to the size,...

Montreal's STM transit agency will make a series of changes to its Metro network due to the size, weight and configuration of the new $2.2-billion fleet. In the photo, Michel Labrecque, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the STM, inside the cockpit of a subway car. EMMANUEL DELACOUR/QMI AGENCY file photo

, Last Updated: 2:41 PM ET

Montreal's new subway cars are so massive that city workers will have to grind down some tunnels to avoid wedges, QMI Agency has learned.

Montreal's STM transit agency will make a series of changes to its Metro network due to the size, weight and configuration of the $2.2-billion fleet.

The STM didn't reveal the extent or cost of the work.

"The way the cars are made, if the suspension was broken, or punctured tires caused cars to lean to one side, they wouldn't pass through some ... tunnels," said maintenance union president Luc Saint-Hilaire.

The new cars each outweigh the old ones by 13 tonnes. That means Metro tunnels will also have to be reinforced in some places.

Sources also tell QMI that the new cars consume up to 30% more electricity. The STM would not confirm the information but said it was taking measures to make the cars more energy efficient.

Montreal's existing Metro cars, among the oldest in the world, were supposed to be replaced with new Bombardier cars by 2012.

The project was delayed when the French firm Alstom won the right to submit a bid.

Bombardier and Alstom eventually agreed to work together to build the cars.

The STM maintenance union wonders if it was all worth the trouble.

"For now, we're being told everything is under control," said Saint-Hilaire. "But it remains to be seen whether the new cars will work as well as the old ones."

- With files from Brian Daly


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