A proposed electric light rail train means good news for the Dorval-Trudeau International Airport, after the hub was included in an island-wide, 67-km project announced by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) Friday morning.
The $5.5-billion Réseau électrique métropolitain, that would link Brossard, Deux-Montagnes and Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue by a light-rail transit (LTR) network passing through downtown Montreal and Saint-Laurent, means easy access to the metro.
That’s more accessibility to the airport not only for tourists, but for the 8,000 employees that pass through the airport every day. The LTR is expected to go from the airport to downtown in 25-30 minutes. Current public transit takes about an hour and up to 45 minutes by car.
It’s clear that the airport has been waiting for a project like this. In 2009, they built a $40-million train station underneath the U.S. departures area. In 2015, Aéroports de Montreal (ADM) proposed that the Quebec government and CDPQ integrate a single-network LRT from the South Shore to the West Island.
Friday’s announcement “far exceeds our expectations,” said ADM president, James Cherry, in a release. The airport authority was particularly impressed by the use of the Mount-Royal tunnel, that will be completely electric.
The details of where the train would access the airport have not been ironed out. One possibility is going around the airport land and entering via Lot 7, the former Dorval Municipal Golf Course, though nothing is final, stressed vice-president of communications for ADM, Christiane Beaulieu.
The CDPQ told TC Media in an email that they are looking at different options, some based on tunnels. “We are still evaluating the best way to access the airport in terms of cost and rapidity,” they wrote.
Construction impact of the project is expected to be minimal. ADM already planned work on the airport ramp and short-term parking lot. “It won’t disturb much,” said Beaulieu.
Once plans for the train are finalised, construction plans for the ramp and parking lot can all be done at the same time, she said. Work on the ramp and parking was already planned to begin in 2018, while CDPQ expects to complete the train construction in 2020.
The cost to ADM is unknown at this time, though a large investment was already made when ADM built the $40-million train station. Ridership and engineering studies already conducted by the airport cost in the millions.
TC Media will visit ADM’s train station on Tuesday. Stay tuned.