A chapter in Montréal’s public transit history is coming to a close: the final MR-63 train will be leaving us on June 21.
A farewell tour
The train will make an appearance on each métro line at rush hours during the week of June 18.
Climb aboard one last time!
52 years of loyal service is worth celebrating!
Four more trips and it’s over... say goodbye one last time:
Monday, June 18: Yellow line
Tuesday, June 19: Green line
Wednesday, June 20: Orange line
Thursday, June 21: Blue line
#mercimr63 Photo Contest
Pay tribute to the MR-63 one last time. Share your pictures of the train and enter our contest!
During the MR-63’s final weeks of glory and its farewell tour on the week of June 18, take your snaps of the train and post them on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #mercimr63.
You could win:
Two winners (one grand winner and one runner-up) will receive a Boutique STM merchandise package and family admission to Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum! View the contest rulesfor more informations (French version only).
Amateur film-making and picture-taking involving minimal crews and small devices (smartphone or hand-held camera without other equipment) do not require prior authorization insofar as they comply with these restrictions:
Pictures and videos are allowed if taken with a smartphone or small camera.
Using a tripod or flash is prohibited within the métro system.
Activity must not impede the movement or flow of passengers.
Filming or photographing STM employees is prohibited.
In addition to these points, it is crucial that you comply with all basic safety regulations at all times when you are inside the métro system. You can view all rules and regulations.
The MR-63 has a lot of stories to tell
Here are some of them:
In 1966, there was no writing or logo on MR-63 cars, except
for the first train, which had the Montréal coat of arms on the
side of the lead car.
In the early days, advertisements and métro maps were displayed
on the lights inside the cars. Don’t be fooled by the passenger
in this photo: the métro has always been non-smoking!
Back then, there were two operators in each train: one at the
front and one at the back. The first drove the train while the
second was in charge of closing the doors.
The installation of more powerful fans led to the addition of trapdoors
on the roofs of MR-63 cars, making it necessary to raise the ceiling
in certain parts of the métro.
What are the metal boxes in certain cars for? They hold air
conditioners, which were added to drivers’ cabs after operators
fainted due to excessive heat.
Originally, the fronts of MR-63 cars were painted white. The
white band on a blue background was introduced in the
nineties to match the MR-73 cars..
MR-63 cars were equipped with a heating system, which was
never used. Instead, it became necessary to increase the
ventilation and replace certain windows with expanded metal sheeting.
The MR-63’s seats were upholstered with black imitation leather,
and the cars had wood flooring. But they didn’t hold up to the
ravages of time and were replaced in the early nineties.
The MR-63 cars were made by Canadian Vickers, a former
naval shipyard at the corner of Notre-Dame and Viau. It’s no
wonder that their horns sounded like foghorns!
The first MR-63 car built by Vickers was number 81-501, but it
was number 81-502 that was delivered first and hosted the
No fewer than 16 MR-63 doors and their opening and closing
mechanisms were used by artist Michel de Broin to create
the work Thresholds, which was exhibited in the Quartier des
Spectacles in 2017.
The MR-63s will have second lives after their removal. Their
parts are being reused; some cars were dismantled and
recycled; and some are being repurposed for special projects,
like the one at the Jardins de Métis.
Retiring to the museum
Why was car 81-502 chosen?
The first MR-63 car built by Vickers was number 81-501, but it was number 81-502 that was delivered first and hosted the first dignitaries.
Unveiling the very first cars
August 24, 1965, was a very big day at the Canadian Vickers workshop on Notre-Dame. The first three cars for the Montréal métro were unveiled with pomp and ceremony, attended by Mayor Drapeau and his wife; the chairman of the city’s executive committee, Lucien Saulnier; the métro’s chief engineer, Lucien L’Allier; and Cardinal Paul-Émile Léger, whose red robes contrasted sharply with the new train’s blue and white livery. Officials and dignitaries stood aboard car 81-1502 (today 81-502) for the official photo, seen here, often mistaken for the métro’s inaugural photo. Far from it! Another year went by before the public was able to board the MR-63 cars, on October 14, 1966.
Photo: Ville de Montréal Archives.