REM Construction Update

We were all hoping for a 2024 opening of the REM but it wasn’t to be.

Since I wouldn’t expect to see the system open before Summer 2025, it seemed like an ample moment to take a look at where the construction currently stands along the core section of the line, running from Gare Centrale through the Mont-Royal tunnel and up to the Town of Mont-Royal (TMR).

And since last weekend I was visiting some friends in the area I naturally took advantage of the opportunity to explore the stations in the vicinity.

So without further ado, let’s undertake some light urbex as we explore the route all the way up to the REM’s interchange with exo’s Mascouche Line at Côte-de-Liesse.

We’ll be visiting the following stations along the way:

Note that there’s limited photo opportunities downtown as the underground infrastructure remains hidden from the public eye, but we can take a look above ground to see what’s going on. And stick around for the really interesting photos later on!

But first, a couple of disclaimers:

  • This wasn’t part of an official visit.
  • I didn’t trespass at any time.

Gare Centrale

Let’s start at one of the operational stations. Gare Centrale already serves REM services coming from Brossard in the south.

Platform level at Gare Centrale along with a now defunct ARTM ticket scanner

It’s underground with two widened platforms occupying what were originally 4 tracks serving exo’s Deux-Montagnes and Mascouche lines.

There’s also a couple of sidings. According to Carto Metro these sidings are not yet connected to the tunnel, and I wonder if they’ll initially implement through running using these sidings for stock moves between the two parts of the system.

It will be interesting to see how they “tie the knot” between the two sections of the network when it becomes time.

We look north towards the end of the existing track, and just beyond the start of the Mont Royal tunnel.

This is going to be our last view of the track for a while. The next two stations are also underground, and we’ll have to make do with what we can see on the surface. But, stick with me as once we eventually emerge from the tunnel things get interesting again.

Before we move on and begin following the Mont Royal Tunnel, it’s worth taking a look at this cab ride video through the very same tunnel when the line was still run by the AMT. It shows the kind of environment they’re trying to upgrade and once the line reopens it will look very different, not least because it’ll have two new stations along the way and the tunnel will be separated with a wall in the middle.


McGill is a station many Montrealers will know well. And whereas the sub-standard connection between Bonaventure on the Metro and Gare Centrale on the REM has been hauled into the spotlight for mockery, McGill is getting a proper interchange between the Metro’s Green Line and the REM.

The REM will still have its own station building though, located on the corner of McGill College Avenue and de Maisonneuve Blvd. Connections underground will be with the Eaton Centre and another from McGill’s large Metro station.

A surface entrance on De Maisonneuve Boulevard will provide upstairs access without needing to go via the Metro station concourse or the shopping malls. I can’t help but notice that even the station building seems to have a long way to go before its ready. I think most likely its main function right now is a point of access for construction, and only once work underground has finished will we start to see the frontage take it’s final shape.

The existing Metro platforms lie perpendicular and to the east of the REM platforms

This boarded up section on the Metro's concourse will form the connection to the REM

The street level entrance on the corner of De Maisonneuve Blvd and McGill College Avenue

A view of the station entrance from a nearby office building

Looking south on McGill College Avenue

Another view of the station entrance

A view of the construction along the intersection with President Kennedy Avenue

The tunnel runs directly under McGill College Avenue

Looking north to McGill University with Mont Royal in the background

Underground in the Eaton Centre, this passage connecting two shopping malls will become the other subterranean entrance to the station

Construction workers enter and exit the station site from this corridor

Another view of the connecting corridor which will eventually be opened up into the station entrance

Looking across the Eaton Centre to what was an entrance to the Metro station

If you want to see some underground photos, the REM invited the media in to take a look at progress in the tunnel around McGill. I hope we’ll soon be able to see all this from the front of a train!


Of all the REM stations, Édouard-Montpetit has to be the most ambitious. It’s certainly one of the calling points I’m most excited about.

In the original plans, neither McGill nor Édouard-Montpetit would have received a station, but in the end common sense saw through and these vital Metro interchanges are being built after all. The result is going to be a north / south axis connecting three of the four Metro lines.

The tunnel passes right under the existing Metro station, even to the point that one of the original ventilation shafts was just by the station entrance. That shaft has been widened a space large enough for several elevators and an emergency stairwell.

The station will be 72 metres down, which will make it the second deepest station on the continent. That’s seriously impressive. Even London’s deepest tube station at Hampstead is only 59 metres below ground.

Like McGill, the REM will have its own station building and gate line, but it will be connected to the Metro station under ground making for a proper interchange.

The STM are improving accessibility in their section of the station, in anticipation of matching the accessibility of its neighbour on the REM

At the Metro ticket barriers, the boarded off section is where the link between the Metro and the REM will be

A closer look at the boarded up section along with notices

Above ground, the construction site has taken over much of the area

The REM station building, across the road from the Metro station entrances

Another look at the REM station

Further construction, directly above the Mont Royal tunnel

Another aspect of the REM station building

Boarding along Eduard-Montpetit Blvd

Looking across to where there used to be an entrance to the Metro

A reminder this intersection is mostly a construction site

If you’re curious as to what was going on underground, RMTransit paid a visit a couple of years back.

OK, let’s move onto the outdoor section where we can take a close look at the rail infrastructure. It’s about to get interesting.


Canora – a portmanteau of “Canadian National Railway” – lies just south of the Town of Mont-Royal (TMR) and just north of the exit from the Mont-Royal tunnel.

With tunnel access restricted from its southern entrance at Gare Centrale, Canora provides the main access for works in the 3.3 mile tunnel. As such, the area around this station is still a bit of a mess, although the station building itself appears close to completion.

Infrastructure-wise it looks like only a single track has been laid into the tunnel itself and a procession of engineering trains can be seen down the line waiting to bring equipment into the tunnel to work on the underground stations.

Whereas the original Canora station had platforms coming all the way up to the tunnel entrance, the new station is set further back; The REM trains will be a lot shorter than the original platform length.

Further up the line, there are two pedestrian bridges over the track. One in-between Canora and Ville-de-Mont-Royal station, and the other to the north of the latter. Expect these to be popular rail-fanning spots when the line opens!

Boarding surrounds the work site

A view of the station building

A clearer view of the track approaching the station, taken from just above the tunnel's northern portal

Another view of the station from above the tunnel portal

The old AMT ticket office now hollowed out and derelict

Construction in front of the entrance

A view from one of the side roads showing the extend of the construction site

Looking north along the alignment

View of the works vehicles from a pedestrian bridge

Looking north towards Ville-de-Mont-Royal station

And looking south again back to Canora

Another view towards Canora with the entrance to the tunnel just visible beyond the station

Looking towards Ville-de-Mont-Royal station again

More views of the works trains

One of the pedestrian bridges crossing the tracks, which I believe predates the REM

Looking northwards

A close up of the catenary


From here on and as we head further north, we begin to see an alignment which looks close to completion. Stations are almost finished, rails and catenary in place.

Such an example is Ville-de-Mont-Royal station. Formerly just “Mont-Royal” in the exo days, one assumes they’ve now renamed the station to avoid confusion with the far more hip neighbourhood on the Metro’s Orange Line.

The station inhabits the geographical centre of the town from which it derives its namesake. Opposite the station a new park above the railway line is also under construction.

Just south of Ville-de-Mont-Royal station

Looking back own towards Canora

Another view south, with Canora station visible in the distance

Looking south

A look at the rail alignment

The front of Ville-de-Mont-Royal station

A closer look at the station

Part of the main building looks almost like a shipping container

The new park above the railway tracks is still being landscaped

An information display showing the plan for the new park

The view passengers will get as they approach the main entrance

A look at the back of the platform from a side street

A view from the other side of the station

The northern end of the platform

A long shot of the platform with the platform edge doors in view

North of Ville-de-Mont-Royal station, we see the track is almost at grade with the road

A closer view of the rail alignment

A reminder of the dangers of tresspassing

A long shot back towards the mountain

North towards the point where the Métropolitaine highway crosses the railway alignment

It's hard to believe McGill station is on the far side of the mountain

The Métropolitaine once again

Looking towards the next station at Côte-de-Liesse

To the south

From the views from the second bridge, it’s clear being at the front of a REM train heading south is going to provide one of those iconic views as you get closer and closer to the mountain.

As I continued further north there were several engineering trains coming down the line. I filmed one of them and I didn’t notice the worker at the front of one of the trains gave me a wave and so didn’t wave back. I hope he didn’t think me too rude!


This is the first time there’s been a station here at Côte-de-Liesse.

Formerly the plan was to call it Correspondance A40 after the nearby elevated A40 highway – better known to Montrealers as the Métropolitaine. I think this station is intended to be a park-and-ride of sorts. It sits in the middle of an industrial area to the north of TMR and there’s not a lot here save a bunch of warehouses and an STM bus maintenance facility.

The station seems quite grandiose compared to others on the line, consisting of a whopping four tracks. This gives it the feeling of a terminus and I think is going to make it one of the more interesting stations on the system.

Most people will think of the REM as only having three interchange stations, consisting of Gare Centrale, McGill and Édouard-Montpetit. However, there’s a fourth here at Côte-de-Liesse which will allow cross platform interchange with exo’s Mascouche Line.

I’m very interested to see how this will work operationally. In the case of the three Metro interchanges, the Metro and REM stations are separate with their own gate lines. But at Côte-de-Liesse one of the platform concourses will have northbound REM services on one side complete with platform screen doors, and opposite an open bay platform serving double-decker Mascouche trains which will terminate here before heading back out to the East.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a clear view from my visit of what that side of the station will look like, but I’m curious about a number of things as it’s the only station on the system owned and operated by the REM (apart from perhaps the airport) but which also has services from another operator.

  • How will revenue protection work without separate gate lines?
  • Who owns the trackage into the station on which exo trains will run?
  • How will the REM side of the northbound platform be protected from weather if the exo side is open to the elements?
  • Will exo increase its services given they no longer have to run their trains into downtown?

I look forward to learning the answer to these questions, although on the matter of exo improving services I’m not confident as there’s been no evidence since the line’s opening they intend to build more ridership.

Beneath the Métropolitaine

Côte-de-Liesse from the side

Path leading to the station entrance

From a distance, a view of the western-most of the four platforms

A view of the adjacent STM bus garage

A wide view of the station building and part of the platform

A long view of the station platform

The station entrance

The money shot – I did not tresspass to take this

Looking straight ahead into the platform area

We can see through the nearest platform over to the far side


We’ve only explored a small section of line here, albeit one dense with stations. My observations made me think that north of the tunnel the line and stations are close to being ready. We also know trains are already being tested up at the end of the Deux-Montagnes branch, so part of the line is already technically operational.

The challenge in opening the system on schedule seems to have been works in the tunnel. I do hold out small hope that they might open the line in segments, even though the line’s overall usefulness is minimal without trains being able to run downtown. Nevertheless it would make sense to test completed sections as a “preview service” to see how the system performs with real passengers.

I hope to explore some of the other stations to the north of Côte-de-Liesse in the near future. But the further out you go, the less accessible the stations become. If you happen to live in the West Island then do give me a shout on the socials to let me know what state your local REM station is in, and bonus points for a photo as well.

If you’re enjoying these manic transit posts, then we’ll be back in the next several weeks with the first of three new Station Stories! You can check out the previous episodes if you want to catch up.

And if you’re not completely fed up with the REM, there’s more: