New AZUR métro cars
August 25 : AZUR will be travelling during off-peak hours
An important milestone has been reached
AZUR is finally showing up on the Orange line. If we have reached this major phase of testing, it’s because AZUR has undergone a full range of tests. Now, its performance must be validated in its actual operating environment, in other words, in our tunnels, our stations and alongside our other trains.
In attendance for the start of daytime testing (L to R): Pierre Gagnier, STM board member and borough mayor of Ahuntsic-Cartierville; Philippe Schnobb, STM board chairman; Denis Coderre, mayor of Montréal; Robert Poëti, Québec minister of transport, minister responsible for the Montréal region; and Luc Tremblay, STM chief executive officer.
Keep your eyes on the Orange and Blue lines
In coming months, AZUR will be travelling on the Orange and Blue lines during off-peak hours.
Don’t be surprised if you see two different trains: the prototype is loaded with various measuring instruments, while the other is fully outfitted. This last train will be used to perform the tests that require a fully-equipped interior.
Testing without passengers
This new phase of testing is essential to assessing the train’s performance under various operating conditions. You cannot board this train. The operator will sound the horn to inform you the train is entering the station. You will also notice that signs will be posted in the door windows. These indicate the train is being tested and that you cannot board.
So who are all these people on the train?
They are a group of STM experts and CBA consortium team members who, together, are validating all parameters and test results.
When will the train begin passenger service?
According to the latest schedule from CBA, the first train should be put into passenger service by the very end of 2015, if all required testing is successfully completed.
And testing at night?
So far, over 900 tests have been performed at night.
As with the MR-63 and MR-73 métro cars, the AZUR train is also mounted on bogies that essentially propel the train. Bogies, or trucks, are an assembly of parts that include tires, suspension and drive axles. Together, they handle the acceleration, braking action, steering and suspension for métro trains.
If you want to know more about the bogies on AZUR cars, go see the video.
During the heat wave of July 1 - 2, while thousands of Montrealers were either moving or settling into their new home, the STM and its partners were conducting tests on the new train washing system with the AZUR prototype. The train moved through a soap cycle, similar to a car wash, where it got washed, scrubbed, rinsed and dried from top to bottom. The entire operation took about nine minutes, and when AZUR came out, it was all shiny and clean!
How does it work?
The washing system features markers at the portal entrance that detect whether the arriving train is an MR-73 or the new AZUR. As the train moves forward through the washing station, sensors send out signals to activate pumps and scrubbing brushes. In case you’re wondering, the older MR-63 trains are washed elsewhere, at the Beaugrand minor repairs shop.
AZUR has travelled on all lines
Tests carried out to validate track clearance are completed. They consisted of running the AZUR prototype throughout the entire network, including way stations and tail tracks, and no major issues were reported. AZUR passed with flying colours!
No, there’s no mistake, you read it right, it says a lifting track. In preparation for the arrival of AZUR métro cars, we completely refurbished our maintenance shops and, in doing so, made a number of modifications. Among them is the installation of a lifting track designed primarily to enable maintenance staff to replace the train’s bogies.
A 150-metre long train lifted at once on a single track!
The lifting track can lift an entire 150-metre long train high enough for bogies to be removed. The train itself weighs in at 240 metric tons, which is like lifting 40 adult elephants. This makes it possible to remove and install bogies without having to unlink the nine cars that make up the AZUR train. This new approach will reduce maintenance time, which will mean more trains available for passenger service.
Operators have a rendezvous with technology.
This driving simulator enables the operators to quickly put their knowledge into practice. The system reproduces all aspects of the environment and driving conditions in the métro network.
Just like airline pilots, operators build up driving hours in a stimulating and realistic environment. It’s a first at the STM.
Late last Sunday night, our train prototype headed out toward the Blue line. This initial outing in the tunnel marks the beginning of its first night-time tour of the underground system.
Initial static testing completed
After assembling the train over a 10-day period, we started to perform the first static tests (without moving the train) in our workshops. These preparations are a crucial first phase before the new train can be operated in its new environment.
Followed by tests on moving train
Over the past few days, further testing was carried out on the moving train on a track next to the workshops, often used as a test track. As the test results were convincing, the AZUR prototype is now ready for its next adventure.
Why start on the Blue line?
Because it closes earlier at night, the Blue line affords more time to the Bombardier Alstom consortium (CBA) and STM team to carry out their tests. However, this also means we only have five hours each night to work, as the first departure is at 5:30 a.m. and the last one at night at half past midnight.
The prototype train, consisting of nine cars, will be delivered one car at a time, each day, on a 27-metre flatbed truck.
109 tests for a single train prototype
Once the train is completely assembled, teams from the Bombardier-Alstom consortium will work closely with our experts assigned to preparing it for service. Together, they will conduct 109 different tests, spread over a period of about eight months.
Over the next few months, we will keep you posted on the new train’s performance.
The gradual replacement of the MR-63 cars, which have been running since the métro opened in 1966, will mark a major change in the history of Montréal’s public transit system. For users, the new 21st century rolling stock, scheduled to enter service in fall 2014, will mean:
- Better service
- Increased capacity
- Greater comfort
- Increased reliability
As in other major cities, including Munich, Berlin, Bangkok, Shanghai, Mexico City, Delhi, and Madrid, the new nine-car “boa” trains will allow passengers to move about freely from one end to the other.
The transition from our forty-eight-year-old vehicles to new state-of-the-art cars requires a phenomenal amount of preparation. Our expertise and know-how in the fields of engineering, public transit operation, and infrastructure management will be put to good use. This project will also impact the work of many employees, including drivers and maintenance workers.
On October 22, 2010, STM signed a contract with the Bombardier-Alstom Consortium (BAC) to purchase 468 métro cars. This project, which will be spread out over several years, calls for a $2.4G investment, financed jointly by Quebec’s Ministère des transports (75%) and the Montréal agglomeration (25%).
We considered your needs while taking into account our operational requirements
With its modern design and new interior layout, the new car is the result of numerous consultations held at key steps in the manufacturing process. During these consultations, users tested various components such as seats, support poles, grab bars, and interphones to determine the best choices. Employees were also consulted about the new car’s maintenance and ergonomics.
30,000 people helped design the external appearance of the new train.
The name AZUR was chosen from among the 6,000 names submitted by our employees and the public.
In summer 2012, a full-scale model of the new car was placed on public display at the Berri-UQAM station, allowing thousands of regular and occasional users to consider its merits and provide feedback to STM experts. The public also had an opportunity to visit the model car parked on McGill College Avenue during the Go Green – Ride and Save event.
Excellent opportunities for Montrealers to discover the benefits of their collective heritage.
- Freedom of movement: nine-car trains allow passengers to move freely from one end to the other
- Increased capacity: each train can accommodate up to 8% more passengers.
- Ventilation system adjusts automatically to number of passengers in each car
- 27% wider doors: easier to embark and disembark, obstruction sensors
- Designed to ensure universal accessibility: more and better-positioned hand grips, colours and contrasts chosen for better visibility
- Optimal ergonomic positioning of seats
- Layout of end cars: 22 fixed seats, 2 flip-up seats, 2 spaces reserved for wheel chairs, ischiatic supports
- Layout of middle cars: 28 fixed seats, 4 flip-up seats.
- Top-of-the-line public address system, acoustic environment to minimize background noise
- Panoramic windows with anti-grafitti and anti-scratchitti protective coatings
- Innovative lighting: indirect lighting to create a more comfortable environment
- Pneumatic suspension system: smoother ride, less vibration
- Heightened sense of security: 3 times more intercoms, impossible to fall between cars, 4 continuous surveillance cameras
- High-tech information systems
Another step toward universal accessibility
AZUR has been designed to meet the standards of universal accessibility. Platforms at the front of trains in stations equipped with elevators have been adapted to allow clients in wheel chairs to board trains without assistance. The height of platforms has been harmonized with that of the new trains next to the second and third doors in the front cars.
Currently, passengers in wheel chairs require assistance from STM employees to board trains.
The train’s exterior design: a bold, distinctive look
Vitality: a streamlined profile evoking strength and balance, exciting colours with a metallic finish
Modernity: new technology successfully used in other major cities, a concept tested and approved by Montrealers
Ease of movement: open-concept “boa” cars, increased capacity, panoramic windows.
Timelessness: in line with the principles of sustainable development, designed to serve for the next four decades; a classic design anchored in daily realities, primarily blue, a colour beloved by Montrealers
Cars manufactured with 60% Canadian content, equipment 92.5% recyclable at the end of its useful life, 100% powered by hydroelectricity (green energy source), paper advertising eliminated inside trains
Designed to work with the existing nine-car trains, the STM’s service shops are undergoing major changes to accommodate the new boa trains, where passengers will be able to walk from one car to another. Demolition and construction work is well advanced. The new shop, highly specialized in the maintenance of modern metro cars, is extremely complex.
A prototype train should be delivered in spring 2014. It will be tested at night on one line of the metro system.