The Montreal Métro

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Managed by City of Montreal, Québec, Canada
Société de Transport de Montréal
Locale Montréal, Laval, Longueuil
Transit type Rapid Transit
Number of lines 4
Number of stations 68
Daily ridership 1,111,700 (per weekday 2011)
Chief executive Dominique Lemay
Headquarters 800, de la Gauchetière Ouest, Montréal, Québec
Began operation October 14, 1966
Operator(s) Société de Transport de Montréal(STM)
Number of vehicles 759
System length 69.2 km (43.00 mi)
Track gauge Standard
Average speed 40 km/h (25 mph)
Top speed 72 km/h (45 mph)
Route map


The Montréal Métro is a rubber-tired metro system, and the main form of public transportation underground in the city of Montréal, Québec.

The Métro, operated by the Société de Transport de Montréal (STM), was inaugurated on October 14, 1966, during the tenure of Mayor Jean Drapeau. Originally consisting of 26 metro stations on three separate lines, the Metro now incorporates 68 stations on four lines measuring 69.2 km (43.00 mi) in length, serving the north, east, and centre of the Island of Montréal with connections to Longueuil, via the Line-4 Yellow (Montreal Métro), and Laval, via the Line-2 Orange (Montreal Métro).

The Métro system is currently Canada's busiest subway system in total daily passenger usage, serving an average of 1,050,800 daily passengers on an average weekday (as of Q1 2010). In 2008, 291.6 million riders (transfers not included) used the Metro. According to the STM website the metro system has transported over 6 billion passengers as of 2006, roughly equivalent to the world's population. Montréal has built one of North America's largest urban rapid transit schemes, serving the third-largest number of passengers overall behind New York and Mexico City, and attracting the second-highest ridership per capita behind New York.

The Montréal Métro was inspired by the Paris Métro and in turn is also the inspiration for the Lyon Métro and Marseille Métro, as well as the Mexico City Metro, all constructed a few years later, and all which also share the same rubber-wheel car design.


Urban transit first came in 1861 where a first line of horse-drawn cars started to operate on St. James St. (now St-Jacques). Eventually, as Montreal grew, a comprehensive network of streetcar lines provided service almost everywhere. But urban congestion started to take its toll on streetcar punctuality, so the idea of a subway was soon considered.

Unbuilt projects

Starting in 1910, where a first proposal was tabled, the Montréal subway would prove to be an elusive goal of the Montréal Tramways Company, and following municipalization, of the Montréal Transportation Commission.

The first subway proposal, dated 1910, was for a single line running underneath De Bleury Street and Avenue du Parc from Craig Street (now Rue Saint-Antoine) all the way to Avenue Mont-Royal. The line was to run underground from Craig to Avenue des Pins. An eventual expansion up Boulevard St-Laurent to De Montigny was also contemplated at the time.

In 1944, the Montreal Tramways company proposed a 2-line network, running underneath Rue Sainte-Catherine from Square Cabot (Rue Atwater) to Avenue Papineau, and a second line under Rue Saint-Denis (from Rue Jean-Talon to Rue Notre-Dame), then turning westwards under Notre-Dame and Saint Jacques Street all the way to Guy Street, then turning north and connecting with the other line at Guy.

Proposed extensions were to run northward under De Lorimier up to Beaubien, eastward from De Lorimier to Viau under Rue Ontario, northward Chemin Côte-des-Neiges and Queen-Mary to Snowdon (Décarie), westward under Sherbrooke to Girouard, and southwards under Wellington, Centre and Verdun to 1ère Avenue in Verdun.

In 1953 the newly formed Montreal Transportation Commission proposed a single line, running under Rue Sainte Catherine from Rue Atwater towards Rue Peel where the line would have turned south, going underneath Dorchester Square all the way down to Rue Saint-Jacques, which it followed to Rue Saint-Denis. Then, it would have gone north all the way to Boulevard Crémazie, right by the Place D'Youville maintenance shops.

Proposed extensions were to run northwest under Sherbrooke, Girouard & Décarie to De L’Église, in St-Laurent, northeast under D’Iberville and Jean-Talon to Pie-IX and eastward under Ontario street to Viau.

In 1963 the last proposal was the closest to what was to be built. The major difference with the built initial network was that there was no line to Longueuil, line 2 extended northward only to Crémazie instead of Henri-Bourassa, and that the Canadian National commuter train lines to Cartierville and Montréal-Nord would be integrated into the system. Negotiations with CN did not work out, and line 3 was left unbuilt. However, a line numbered 4 was built to Longueuil, on the south shore, to serve Île Sainte-Hélène, site of Expo 67.

Proposed extensions were to run northwest under Sherbrooke, Girouard & Décarie to De L’Église, in St-Laurent, northeast under d’Iberville to Crémazie and eastward under Ontario street to Viau.

The 1960s were very optimistic years. Metro planning did not avoid the general exuberance of those years, and a 1967 study even proposed 6 additional lines that would bring the 25km of Métro lines of 1967 to 112km for 1982.

Formerly planned lines/extensions

The Orange and Blue lines, however, were not planned to end where they eventually did in 1990. The Orange Line was originally meant to have two or three more stations beyond Côte-Vertu; however, priority funding was given to complete the current Blue Line. The plans for Deguire/Poirier, Bois-Franc, and Salaberry stations were scrubbed. The Blue Line itself was shortened due to funding issues. It was originally projected to have stops west of Snowdon (Côte Saint-Luc, Montréal-Ouest, Lafleur) and east of Saint-Michel (Pie-IX, Viau, Lacordaire, Langelier, Galeries d'Anjou).

An entire Métro line in initial planning was also scrubbed, the so-called Line 7/Pie IX - Saint-Leonard/White Line, also due to the same funding issues. Proposed for the first time by the Bureau des Transports de Montréal (BTM) in September 1983, the original project for a new north-south line (Line 7, the number 6 being reserved for another surface metro line proposed by the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ)) would have had 10 stations (from Pie-IX Métro to Léger street), which then got formally proposed by the Greater Montreal Area at the start of 1984, this time having 12 stations (from Pie-IX Métro to Maurice-Duplessis/Langelier)

Future Extensions


  • On July 22, 2007, the mayor of Laval, Gilles Vaillancourt, with the ridership success of the current Laval extension, announced his wish to loop the Orange line from Montmorency to Côte-Vertu stations with the addition of six (or seven) new stations (three in Laval and another three in Montreal). He proposed that Transports Quebec, the provincial transport department, set aside $100 million annually to fund the project, which is expected to cost upwards of $1.5 billion.
  • In May of 2011, the city of Laval, Quebec released it's plans for the next 30 years called "evolucite".The mayor (Gilles Vaillancourt) wants to promote sustainability, reduce environmental impact, and increase the use of public transportation. The plans called for an extension of the West and East Line 2 - Orange to complete a circle with 1 station branching out from the west part of the line to Carrefour Laval. This would mean another 2 to 3 stations in Montreal in order for the west side of the Orange line to reach Laval. All studies have been done and are awaiting funding. The stations would be the following

West Line 2 - Orange

1- Carrefour (Daniel-Johnson / Le Carrefour) 2- St-Martin (St-Martin Ouest / Chomedey) 3- Notre-Dame (Notre-Dame / Curé-Labelle) 4- Lévesque (Lévesque / Chomedey) 5- Gouin ( Gouin / Grenet) 6- Bois-Franc ( Henri-Bourassa / Marcel-Laurin) 7- Poirier (Poirier / Grenet)

East Line 2 - Orange

39- De l'Agora (Armand-Frappier et Du Souvenir) 40- St-Martin (St-Martin Ouest / Chomedey)



Rolling Stock

Thumbnail Trailer Cars Motor Cars Year Lines Served
Canadian Vickers MR-63
STM-MR63.jpg 80-001 to 80-123 81-501 to 81-746 1965-1967
Bombardier MR-73
STM-MR73.jpg 78-001 to 78-141 79-501 to 79-782 1976-1980
Bombardier/Alstom Azur (MPM-10)
STM-MPM10.jpg 10-011 to 10-529 2014-2018 Not Entered Service

The Network

Current Network

Line # Color # of Stations Interchangeable Length Start Year Finish Year Remarks
1 Green 27 2 22.1 KM 1966 1978
2 Orange 31 4 30.0 KM 1966 2007
  • 6-7 more planned.
4 Yellow 3 1 4.25 KM 1967 1967
  • 3-5 more planned.
5 Blue 12 2 9.70 KM 1986 1988
  • 20 originally planned.
  • 7 more planned.

Planned/Scrapped lines

Line # Color # of Stations
Length Remarks
3 Red 9 to 17
  • Plans were scrapped, never built.
6 Colorless
  • Proposed upground LRT.
  • Plans were scrapped.
7 White 12 11-12 KM
  • Plans were scrapped.
  • BRT system planned instead.


The Métro is for Montreal what the boulevards are for Paris or the canals for Venice. -Jean-Claude Germain

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