Infrastructure updates

Infrastructure updates

Delivering quality service requires having equipment in good condition. To ensure safe, reliable service, we need to keep our network's infrastructures in good condition. We invest heavily in updating our infrastructures and will continue to do so in the years to come to support our vision of excellence in mobility.

Increasing our worksites represents a major operational challenge when it comes to maintaining the service we deliver to our customers. But even with more projects, we are able to operate our network normally while performing the work.

For our customers, this work means more reliable service and renovated, universally accessible stations with better lighting. It’s an ambitious but responsible initiative and a commitment to our future generations.

Watch our video on waterproofing systems to learn how we protect our métro stations from water infiltrations.

Consult the accessibility page for more info on the external medias.

See Waterproofing system replacement on YouTube

Here is what we're doing to ensure infrastructure sustainability and our projects currently underway

What is a waterproofing system?

It is a device that protects the station from water infiltrations. It’s a bit like a giant umbrella that protects the station from leaks.

The waterproofing system covers the station’s underground roof and is therefore located underground.

Many stations' waterproofing system date back to the stations' initial construction and have reached the end of their useful life.

Replacing a waterproofing system requires excavating the ground above it. We dig two to nine metres deep, depending on the locations. 

Replacing a waterproofing system can require a particularly massive work area. Depending on the original method of construction, waterproofing systems often cover the entire length of the platforms, about 150 metres.

Water drainage work in vaulted ceilings

Water drainage work is used to channel water that infiltrates métro stations' vaulted ceilings. It requires installing gutters along the ceiling to drain the water and direct it into a pipe system, usually hidden behind wall finishes and below train platforms, and then into a pumping pit. Afterwards, the water is evacuated from the station and sent into the municipal sewage system.

This technique helps keep stations dry and avoids inconveniences related to water infiltrations. It also helps maintain the integrity of stations' architectural and electrical components and to keep them clean.

To conduct maintenance on drainage gutters, crews need to set up scaffolding over the platforms. You may have seen this in some stations. Our bricklayers and plumbers work mostly late in the evening and at night. When they are at work, the trains must slow down prior to entering the station. For safety reasons, their speed is limited to 32 km/h instead of the usual 72 km/h.

Vaulted ceilings are the arched ceilings above the tracks in the tunnel and the train platforms in the stations.

The gutters used are pipes installed along the joints of the vaulted ceilings. On average, there are 16 to 18 of these gutters per station, depending on the architecture. They are an important part of the drainage system and work by channeling the water away from the station.

It is mostly rainwater and water naturally occurring in the ground below Montréal. The City of Montréal’s sewage system also tends to leak. When it does, a certain amount of that water inevitably ends up in the métro.

We have tried several techniques to reduce inconveniences associated with water infiltrations. Instead of trying to waterproof the concrete ceilings, as we once did, today we prefer to channel the water. As water always finds a way, it’s better for us to find it first!

It all depends on how deep the station is and the type of soil around it. The stations most prone to this problem are those that are below the level of the St. Lawrence River.

For example, it appears that there was an underground stream running near Frontenac station a few hundred years ago. As a result, the ground around that station is particularly saturated. That explains why, if you listen closely, you sometimes hear water running behind the station’s walls. The water is being channeled away from the station by our drainage system.

Water infiltrations are normal in all types of underground facilities. They are not worrisome and will not alter the quality of the concrete.

Absolutely. Simply comply with the pictogram signs posted on the scaffolding directing passengers to either walk below it or between it and the wall. Avoid walking between the scaffolding and the edge of the platform, as it is a restricted zone where, for safety reasons, access is prohibited.

Escalators currently under repair

A lot of the escalators in the métro network have been replaced over the past few years. However, there are still many that date back to the métro’s expansion in the 70s and 80s. When they break down, repairing them is unfortunately rather complicated. Spare parts are harder to obtain, causing further delays. A project is underway to replace most of the remaining escalators over the next few years.

Texte important

To check the status of escalators and see if repairs are in progress at your station, consult the Escalator service status.


Incidents involving improper use are the main reason why escalators are out of service. For example, items are dropped and get stuck in the stairs or people fall down, requiring the escalators be stopped. Other frequent causes are people sitting on the moving handrail or pressing the emergency stop button for no good reason.

If an incident has little or no repercussion on an escalator, it can be started up again quickly by a station employee. If there is a chance, however, that the incident has damaged or otherwise compromised the escalator’s integrity, the equipment must be shut down until specialized mechanics can inspect it and perform any necessary repairs or adjustments before putting it back into service.

An impressive amount of escalators

The STM’s network has 296 escalators. They are used heavily due to the 250 million passenger trips made on the métro each year. In addition several of them are located next to entryways, exposing them to harsh weather conditions and temperature changes.

Mechanical ventilation stations

As part of our program to maintain métro infrastructure, we are building several mechanical ventilation stations in the network.

A mechanical ventilation station is a large infrastructure that is equipped with two powerful fans designed to extract hot air from the métro network through inlets fitted with air vents. Ventilation stations built for the original métro network extract around 60,000 cubic feet of air per minute, while the new ventilation systems extract around 240,000 cubic feet per minute. Huge noise suppressors mitigate the noise from these fans to ensure quiet for residents living close to a ventilation station.

  1. Comfort ventilation: Regulates the ambient temperature and supplies fresh air for transit users by exchanging air from the outside with air inside the métro network.
  2. Night-time ventilation: Ensures a supply of fresh air for night workers carrying out routine maintenance.
  3. Emergency ventilation: In the event of an incident, controls smoke and provides a safe evacuation route for passengers via the nearest métro station and ensures unobstructed access for emergency first responders.

What is an electrical substation?

An electrical substation houses all the equipment needed to distribute electrical power to the métro network. There are several of these substations located throughout the STM’s métro network.

What is a rectifier station?

A rectifier station holds equipment that is necessary to supply electrical power to the tracks in the métro. There are several rectifier stations spread out throughout the STM’s métro network.

In recent years, several auxiliary structures, spread throughout the metro network, have been undergoing major major refurbishment work.

It’s a service building that houses a variety of mechanical and electrical equipment needed for métro operations, such as  ventilation, power supply and pumping to remove runoff water. 

Refurbishment work is mainly carried out on the buildings’ structural, mechanical and electrical components. These renovations will serve to extend the service life of the buildings by 25 years.

The auxiliary structures that will be refurbished have been in use ever since the métro line sections they serve went into operation, so they have reached the end of their service life.

The work will not impact your trips or the service on the various métro lines. The renovations will ensure, however, that all the equipment supporting métro operations will run properly for many years to come!

This work is made possible through funding from the Ministère des Transports du Québec.

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