Although some work on the REM was stopped for the winter, there is still plenty of progress being made in many other areas. Even with some of the icy, cold weather and snowstorms that have hit the Montreal area, crews are still very hard at work. They are preparing sites, doing performance and endurance tests, to make sure the system has the ability to handle our winter conditions – a concern that has been on many people’s minds. Here is what is going on and what is to come for the rest of this season.
REM Winter project sites
‘ANNE’ AND ‘MARIE’ LAUNCHING BEAMS: Last year, work on the massive ‘Marie’ and ‘Anne’ launching gantries in the West Island made great progress. There were 94 spans installed between the pillars of the elevated structure, running from the Technoparc in Ville Saint-Laurent to Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. However, as of December 15th, work on the gantries was put on pause for the winter. The REM explains that contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with the beam mechanism – but rather with the epoxy glue used for the joints. The glue simply does not work when it is too cold. Work will resume sometime in April, as the temperature grows warmer. In the meantime, construction of the pillars continues and they will soon begin installing the tracks.
‘ALICE’ THE TUNNEL-BORING MACHINE TAKING SHAPE: After the REM held a contest last October, ‘Alice’ became the official name of the enormous tunnel-boring machine (TBM). It will be used in digging a 3.5km long tunnel more than 30 metres below the surface, from the Technoparc in St. Laurent all the way to Montreal-Trudeau airport. It is now in the stages of being directly assembled in the main shaft they dug last year – a huge trench 15 meters deep and 120 meters long. Alice requires several weeks of assembly and is expected to start drilling in late winter or early spring.
WINTER TESTS ON PLATFORM SCREEN DOORS OF TRAINS: It is now the second winter season that the REM has been doing endurance tests on the platform screen doors for the trains. Over 500,000 door opening and closing cycles have been carried out in extreme cold, ice and snow conditions to make sure they perform properly. They were also tested successfully in a climatic chamber, where the temperature dropped to -40°C with more than 30 millimeters of ice.
TRACK INSTALLATIONS, ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS AND OPERATIONAL TESTS: It will be a major turning point for the REM project in 2020, with a representative section being set up on the South Shore in the autumn to conduct the first operational tests. Over 2km of tracks were already installed last year and it will continue at the beginning of this year. In the spring, a second phase will see the electrical and communication systems being installed.
EXCAVATION AT EDOUARD-MONTPETIT COMES TO AN END: It has been a technical challenge for the REM, but the excavation of the galleries at the Edouard-Montpetit station will be finalized towards the end of March. The galleries will be used for the circulation of people (mezzanine, elevators, escalators) and also for building services and ventilation. Installation of the steel structures and construction of the station is scheduled to begin this spring.
INTERIOR STATIONS DESIGNS: Construction of the Rive-Sud and Du Quartier stations has been well underway. Workers are now busy with interior work for the electricity, plumbing and mechanical rooms. The installation of the curtain walls (glass facades) will continue this winter on the station structures.
WORKSITES ON THE DEUX-MONTAGNES BRANCH: Two new sites will be progressively mobilized at the Montpellier and Du Ruisseau stations in the borough of Saint-Laurent, first involving preparatory work to relocate utilities and prepare the groundwork. Starting March 30th, the catenary and tracks will be removed, when train service is stopped with the closure of the Mount Royal tunnel.
Feature image: End of excavation at Edouard-Montpetit – REM