Each and every time you've taken the Orange Line in the last four months, you prayed for the chance to ride the shiny, new AZUR trains. If you did, you definitely took a selfie, but the rest of us who never happened to be in a station when the one-and-only AZUR on the tracks was running have been left wanting.
All that is going to change, though, because your chance to ride an AZUR train has effectively doubled, as the second AZUR has finally been put onto the tracks of the STM metro network.
With the testing phase of the first AZUR officially complete, the STM has announced they're ready to get more AZURs rolling out onto the tracks, with a new implementation schedule already planned out. So while we'll only have two AZURs running through the metro in May, that number will continue to rise with each passing month.
A major jump in quality and technology in comparison to the old metro cars (although not everyone agrees), the AZURs offer a lot to passengers as we'll all hopefully discover in the near future. For a timeline on all-things AZUR and what's to come, check out our brief rundown below:
February 7th, 2016: The first AZUR train is introduced into the metro network. Testing is set to last 61 days, with the train needing to travel 5000km without any major service issues in order to prove its functionality.
May 18, 2016: 100 days passes since the first (and only) AZUR begins testing, no word is given as to why a second train has yet to be introduced. Some Montrealers get miffed/frustrated by the fact that they've still never been able to get on an AZUR.
May 25, 2016: The second AZUR is finally put into service after an extended testing service of the first, which traveled a full 23,000km without any serious delays. Internal automation for the train (e.g. ventilation) and needed software updates are cited as the reason for the extended testing period.
June-December 2016: One new AZUR train will be sent to the STM garages and put onto service every month. If the receiving and implementation of the new trains goes smoothly, the one-a-month rate may increase by the end of 2016.
2017: The remaining AZUR trains (about 43, following the established delivery schedule) will be put onto the STM metro network. AZURs will replace the existing MR-73 cars on the Orange Line, with AZURs then being placed onto the Blue Line. A combination of MR-73s and AZURs will run on the Green Line.
2018: All 52 AZUR trains, which are made up of nine cars each, will be operational within Montreal's metro network by 2018, as the STM has promised in a recent press release.
Like their counterparts at Ensemble Montréal, Valérie Plante and Project Montréal are also planning to cover a portion of the infamous Décarie Expressway should she win re-election.
But unlike their political opponents, those in the Project Montréal camp vowed to cover a much smaller portion of the highway as part of their plan to revitalize the Namur-Hippodrome sector.
At a Tuesday press conference, the mayor said her party would aim for a "decongestion in all aspects" in the area and include dedicated space for cars, public transit and bikes.
"As for mobility links towards Namur metro, we're talking about the partial coverage between rue Jockeys and Jean-Talon in order to have a huge place for pedestrians and cyclists that are going towards the station."
The Expressway, which cuts through Ville Saint-Laurent and Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, has been a point of contention during the mayoral election.
Plante's rival, Denis Coderre, announced his party's own plans to cover the Expressway with green space between chemins Queen-Mary and Côte-Saint-Luc — a much larger and more daunting proposition than Plante's.
Coderre also wants to cover a large portion of the Ville-Marie Expressway between rue Sanguinet and boulevard Saint-Laurent.
Plante says her plan would earmark $95 million to cover the portion between Jockeys and Jean-Talon whereas Coderre said his plan would cost $700 million.
This article’s right-hand cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
Montreal pro tip: don't do your hair until after you're off the metro. Montrealers know the struggle of using all their body weight to force open their metro station's doors only to get smacked in the face by a blinding gust of wind that smells like the city's stale, dusty bowels.
So why does entering an STM metro station feel like an amusement park ride? The transit company took to Instagram to share the answer in an eye-opening explainer video on its ventilation system and methods.
The wind, the STM says, is due to what's called "the piston effect."
"In the public areas of metro stations, there's no ventilation system in the buildings, themselves," STM engineer Annie Mcken explains in the video.
"Instead, the circulation of the trains ensures more-than-adequate ventilation and sufficient air change in the stations."
When trains move through stations, Mcken continues, they displace air, which then pushes its way outside or in — this is the piston effect.
This, plus what the STM says are more than 150 ventilation shafts and 90 mechanical ventilation stations, are enough for the network, Mcken concludes.
The piston effect in the Montreal metro is, of course, well-documented and has been widely reported.
It also explains why the STM has those unique "butterfly" doors.
In an online document, the company says the famous doors on a fixed central axis facilitate airflow in and out of stations, reducing resistance and making it easier for riders to enter or exit.
The STM's Instagram video on ventilation also explains how metro trains, buses and adapted transport vehicles are designed to refresh the air.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
SPVM spokesperson Jean-Pierre Brabant explained that "a man presented himself without saying anything to the employee from the STM started to hit the window with what looked like a hammer. From there — when he was finished — he left by foot," leaving behind approximately $5,000 in damages.
The STM employee told the Montreal police that they had no altercations with the man and were not harmed during the incident.
Brabant said the SPVM is still trying to figure out why this event occurred and told MTL Blog that investigators have yet to identify the suspect but are using the footage from surveillance cameras in the metro to try and do so.
If you want a visual of what the damage looked like, Étienne Fortin-Gauthier shared a video on Twitter of the metro after the hammer attack.
Videos posted to Instagram and TikTok show someone recruiting Montreal metro riders to engage in Squid Game-like activities — minus the bloodshed.
The hit Netflix show follows a group of contestants competing for prize money in deadly versions of children's games. The main character, Gi-hun, joins the competition after a recruiter wearing a suit approaches him in the metro.
The Instagram and TikTok videos show a similarly-dressed individual engaging with STM riders and playing some of the games featured in the show.
Contacted by MTL Blog, the person behind the social media accounts declined to identify themselves but said they're developing more content for their channels.
They also said they've given prizes to some players in the form of $50 and $100 Amazon gift cards — much more modest than the ₩45,600,000,000 (about CA$48,021,177.60, according to Google) grand prize in the Netflix show.
"I'm doing these videos because I'm having a lot of fun creating unique experiences for people," the account owner told MTL Blog. "Seeing the enlightment on the face of the participants, the people around and the reactions from the videos make it all worthwhile!"