Quebec premier Mrs Pauline Marois and the mayor of Montreal Mr Denis Coderre took the controls of the first completed train for a run along the plant's test track.

The first vehicles are due to be delivered to Montreal early next year, and the entire fleet is due to be in service by 2018. The introduction of the nine-car sets will allow STM to gradually withdraw its fleet of MR-63 trains, which date back to the opening of the first phase of the network in 1966. The new trains will accommodate 8% more passengers than the MR-63s.

"We're anxious to get it to Montreal so we can start the testing process, which will take place over a period of approximately eight months," says STM chairman Mr Michel Labrecque. "These cars will certainly be in service for 50 years. They will enable us to not only increase the reliability and quality of services offered to passengers, but also boost ridership in the metro, which currently stands at 900,000 trips per day."

The Azur name was selected from more than 6000 suggestions submitted by STM employees and the public.