Friday, May 18, 2007

Montreal Tramway

A new tram system in Montreal has been the talk of the town for the last month if not the last year. I somehow fell upon this document [pdf 240 kb] put out by Projet Montreal, complete with maps of every borough, and their proposed tram lines. If you haven't forgotten the last municipal election, Projet Montreal is the very new municipal party that surprising won a seat. They are the ones who have been putting the pressure to introduce a tram system.

Their proposal is a very bold one at that, seemingly drawn up by randomly connecting lines using a blue felt pen. This is the type of ambitious project, however, needed to stop the automobile's pervasiveness. Implementing the key routes like Park Ave, Old Port, Henri-Bourassa and Notre-Dame would be a great beginning.

Update: (Thanks to the Montreal City Weblog) The city will unveil a transit plan today that will apparently address the need for sustainable transit on the island. Bridge tolls and streetcars are in order. It seems a lot of people (including Kate from the Mtl city weblog) do not think there are advantages of trams over buses... maybe an upcoming post?
Update #2: For those with a lot of free time (like myself) the 155 page pdf document released by the city is available here.


Jazzophile said...

i was just going to ask what's the big deal with the trams? Isn't it just a bus with a hook and on a rail? I don't understand the need to put a tram up on these streets. The project is expensive and could be easily avoided by bettering the existing bus lines. Is there a real advantage to trams? cuz I don'T get it.

Jeannette said...

I dont like Kate.

exmtlgal said...

I think I can answer Jazzophile. Your right not to get trams. I've been living in Toronto for a few years now - and have been trying to understand this city's streetcars. The fact of the matter is that they are useless as a way to move people. They're slower than buses. Passengers must walk into the street to get them (or stand in a tiny island in the middle of the road whie waiting.) When one breaks down - which happens frequently - the whole service comes to complete stop.

Worst - when the service becomes out of whack (very frequently!) the TTC 'short turn' the streetcars. This mean dumping passengers off a vehicle and making them wait for another.

So why does TTC have streetcars. It's actually just for show. Many people like streetcars - but mostly those who don't have to ride them. Bizarre - but all too true.

Anonymous said...

Trolley VS Bus

Electric power vs Diesel fuel ($)

electric traction motors vs transmission oil, filters,etc.

non-polutant vs carbon deposits

steel wheels vs rubber(oil based)tires

stuck in traffic vs stuck in traffic with diesel constantly running burning fuel.

In the long run, trams are cheaper and less expensive than buses.

Montreal was shortsighted and wrong to scrap a functional and effecient tramway system.

Totonto's officials knew better and never scrapped their tramways.
They expanded their electric bus system as well.
And their GO Train suburban rail system is Notrh America's reference.

This is from a native born Montrealer who remembers what Montreal was like. Stepping out from the old Eaton's and boarding the No.3 line car heading home in the winter. You didn't wait 30 minutes for a car.

No more streetcars and no more Eaton's.

Clang-clang, went the trolley !

I'll get off my soapbox now.

Thank you.

Myrtone said...

Could unidirectional trams be considered for Montreal? Given that their pevious system was largely unidirectional with either loops or wyes a every terminus and that Toronto retains unidirectinonal running while plaining on new Transit City lines with bidirectional LRVs, they have shown no signs of converting the legacy system to bidirectional running.
Similarly, many old tramway networks in tram savvy European countries, escpeially Eastern Europe, still retain unidirectional trams and show no sign of switching to bidirectional running. Why do these operators continue ordering more unidirectional trams and rather than converting?
It turns out that unidirectional trams and balloon loops have many advantages over bidirectional rolling stock and dead end termini.
First of all, loop track, whether around a block or just turning loops, can be advantagous even on bidirectional tramway networks at busy termini because headways of less than a minute mean that there is not enough time for the driver to change ends. And with loops at both ends, the advantages of unidirectional trams can be considered.
By having driver controls at only one end and doors only on the right, there can be more floor area available for a greater amount of seating with all seats fixed and most facing forwards. Facilities such as wheelchair bays can be directly opposite the doors, which is not as easily acheivable on a bidirectional tram. Having doors on only the right means there is neither the possibility of the driver opening the wrong side doors nor the need for either expensive software to prevent wrong side door incidences or fences to protect passengers when this happens.
Also, depending on your taste, unidirectional trams may also have aesthetic advantges. For example, which looks better, identical number one and number two ends (as double ended trams need to have) or non-identical front and rear ends (quite common with single ended trams)? For example, do you prefer headlamps and brake lights at both ends (necessary for bidirectional running) or headlamps at the front and brake lights at the rear, as is found on unidirectional rolling stock.