CDPQ Infra will acquire the viaduct leading to Montreal Central to allow REM trains to access the station directly without affecting the three other operators which use the station: Metropolitan Transit Agency (AMT), Via Rail and Amtrak. The agreement allows REM to use Central station and to run beneath CN tracks in Pointe-Saint-Charles. CDPQ Infra will also purchase other land, buildings and structures from CN for the project.
The agreement will reduce the impact of the REM project on the city as it will avoid the demolition of several buildings and obviates the need to construct parallel tracks and close three roads.
Environmental impact public hearings for the project will begin on August 29. Since the project was first announced on April 22, CDPQ Infra has held meetings with more than 120 interested parties including mayors and social groups, staged public open houses with 1500 participants and conducted an online survey. It published its environmental impact study and fact sheets about the project on July 28. As a result, the route has been optimised.
Requests for qualification are underway for the engineering, procurement and construction contract as well as the rolling stock, systems, operation and maintenance contract.
The Quebec government is expected to make a final decision on the project in winter 2016-17. This would allow construction to start in spring 2017 with the first trains running in 2020.