The Montréal métro’s inaugural car arrives at the museum
Montréal, October 12, 2018 — In the vast Angus Pavilion of Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum in Saint-Constant, Philippe Schnobb, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), and Daniel Laurendeau, Vice-president of Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum, unveiled métro car 81-502 in Exporail’s impressive collection.
“Today, we are very pleased to be celebrating the arrival of the Montréal métro’s inaugural car at Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum. Thanks to the work of the STM’s employees, the car was refurbished to extend its life for the benefit of museum visitors in the years to come. Exporail is now the only place where you can see a car from the first MR-63 train that travelled in the Montréal métro system,” said Mr. Schnobb.
“We are so happy and proud to be welcoming the STM’s MR-63 car into our collection for the renewal of the permanent exhibition at Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum. It will be an opportunity for people to learn more about the STM’s important contribution to rail heritage, including the only collection of former Montréal tramways, in the past, current and future development of Canadian society. This beautifully refurbished car will expand the experience between 21st Century visitors and 19th and 20th Century visionaries,” said Mr. Laurendeau.
Since the last MR-63 train was removed from the system, on June 21, 2018, car 81-502 has been given a major facelift and returned to its original look. STM employees cleaned and sanded the entire car and repainted it the same colours that it was in 1966. The operator’s cab was also completely made over, and the three-pronged poles installed in 2012 were replaced with the single poles previously used.
Worthy of a museum
This car has quite the history! It’s called the “inaugural car” because it hosted dignitaries during the unveiling of the first MR-63 cars in August 1965. It was then integrated into the Montréal métro system, which opened to the public on October 14, 1966, and it transported millions of people until it was retired, 52 years and approximately four million kilometers later.
A remarkable addition for a new exhibition
The inaugural car was handed over to the museum in exchange for a symbolic dollar, as the STM could not legally give away one of its assets without any compensation in return. The addition of car 81-502 to the Canadian Railway Museum’s collection also coincides with a complete overhaul of the exhibition in the Grand Gallery of the Angus Pavilion. One of the star vehicles is tramway no. 274 from the Montreal Street Railway Company, carefully restored to its original 1892 look.
Reduced admission fee for métro anniversary
On Sunday, October 14, the 52nd anniversary of the inauguration of the Montréal métro, museum visitors will receive a 15% discount on the admission fee to Exporail upon presentation of an OPUS card. To find out more about Exporail, go to The Canadian Railway Museum website: http://www.exporail.org/en/welcome-to-exporail/
Note that the MR-63 métro cars were replaced by the new AZUR cars. The other cars still in service are the MR-73s, introduced in 1976.
For further information about de MR-63 métro cars : http://www.stm.info/en/about/discover_the_stm_its_history/history/mr-63-car-exporail
From left to right : Daniel Laurendeau, Vice-president of Exporail, Marie-Claude Léonard, Métro executive Director, Mario Arsenault, Ville de Saint-Constant councillor and member of the ACHF chair, Nadine Cloutier, Expo-Rail director and Philippe Schnobb, Chairman of the STM board.
Isabelle A. Tremblay
Société de transport de Montréal
Responsable des communications
Exporail, le Musée ferroviaire canadien