A new service interruption affected the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) this Saturday, the fourth technical incident to occur in as many days. This time it is falling pieces of ice on the track of the Samuel-De Champlain bridge which are to blame.
CDPQ Infra, the light rail manager, confirmed around 2:30 p.m. that a service interruption was in progress. The service was initially scheduled to resume around 2:45 p.m., then around 3:30 p.m., but the duration of the incident was ultimately described as “undetermined” at the end of the day.
“The warming of the temperature is causing ice to fall onto the track from the structure of the Samuel-De Champlain bridge. In order to ensure the safety of users, we are working with SSL (the Signature sur le Saint-Laurent group, operator of the bridge) to allow them to clear snow from the structure,” CDPQ Infra clarified in a tweet on X.
The REM had already dealt with the same issue at the start of winter. SSL teams must then essentially remove the ice from the bridge stays manually, which can take several hours. Road lanes of the bridge were also closed.
Only two stations, Panama and Île-des-Sœurs, were affected by the interruption, but it nevertheless degraded the quality of service over the entire section. Buses from the Réseau de transport de Longueuil (RTL) were in fact dispatched between the two stations; users therefore had to disembark from the REM, take the bus, then board the light train at the next station.
Four in four
This is the fourth technical glitch to occur on the REM in four days. Late Friday afternoon, an equipment breakdown caused a slowdown in service across the entire network towards Central Station. However, the trains were still traveling towards the municipality of Brossard at that time.
The day before, Thursday, the REM service had broken down, when ice fell on Quebec, due to a technical glitch linked to the light train screen doors. The latter had also experienced an interruption the day before, Wednesday evening during rush hour, around 5 p.m.
Several users were then stuck on the train again due to the mishaps, since a train had to be manually brought back to Du Quartier station in order to evacuate.
On social networks, photos shared by users showed long lines to access the RTL shuttles. Several users then deplored the multiplication of these events in recent times. “It has become a daily stress to know whether this train of doom will work or not,” illustrated one of them, for example.
The orange line of the Montreal metro was also interrupted again for around twenty minutes this Saturday. Friday, the “spine” of the metro was paralyzed between the Berri-UQAM and Henri-Bourassa stations for a total of more than three hours due to the presence of an irritant gas and an intervention by emergency services .