The city of Montreal has always taken pride in having one of the most modern metro in the world… With the arrival of AZUR new metro cars, the STM (Montreal Transit Corporation) took an even bigger step towards innovation. When Romain & I walked into that metro for the first time, we felt like we stepped aboard the future! Here’s a video (with English subtitles) about the Azur model car :

For the moment, AZUR metro trains only run with passengers on the Orange Line. It will also be running for tests on the Green Line without any customers on board, starting from this summer.

The metro cars interiors have an innovative lighting system which creates a more comfortable environment. Nine-car trains carry commuters to their various destinations. The layout of end cars is: 22 fixed seats, 2 flip-up seats, 2 spaces reserved for wheel chairs, ischiatic supports. The layout of middle cars is: 28 fixed seats, 4 flip-up seats.

High-tech information systems are also available inside each car. For example, a screen with the general metro map, highlights from which station we are departing to which one we will be arriving. The duration of the transit is also displayed with a black dot in movement.

Metro interior

Romain took a short video showing when the doors are opening in one station, there’s a green light to say it’s ok to step in or out of the vehicle. Contrariwise, when the doors are about to close, there’s a red light to warn you not to step in or out of the metro anymore. The following station is visible on a screen in addition to a voice announcing the next station:

Here are a couple of advantages of the new metro I found on the official STM website :
Freedom of movement: Nine-car trains allow passengers to move freely from one end to the other.
Increased capacity: Each train can accommodate up to 8% more passengers.
Ventilation system adjusts automatically to number of passengers in each car.
27% wider doors: Easier to embark and disembark, obstruction sensors.
Designed to ensure universal accessibility: More and better-positioned hand grips, colours and contrasts chosen for better visibility.
Optimal ergonomic positioning of seats.
Top-of-the-line public address system, acoustic environment to minimize background noise.
Panoramic windows with anti-grafitti and anti-scratchitti protective coatings.
Pneumatic suspension system: Smoother ride, less vibration.
Heightened sense of security: 3 times more intercoms, impossible to fall between cars, 4 continuous surveillance cameras.

In general, my husband and I prefer the metro in Montreal because we find it much safer and less crowded than in Europe. We already took the metro late at night without any trouble. That’s one of the reason, we chose an apartment near a metro station to move around the city freely.

A funny coincidence for us: The apartment we chose is near the metro station called Namur! As a Belgian, I was surprised to find out about the long friendship between Canada and Belgium.

Namur station’s depth is 24.1 metres. The mezzanine contains a giant suspended illuminated aluminum sculpture, entitled “Système”. The decoration is by the Quebec artist Pierre Granche. His work called “System”, consists of 28 aluminum modules. Moreover, according to the Lonely Planet Travel Guide, it is one of the best decorated metro stations in the world.

Recently, Romain and I noticed new placards explaining the link between Canada and Belgium, especially with the city and province of Namur.

My husband has lived in Belgium for 5 years and I have been living there my entire life… So as newcomers in Montreal, we were delighted to find a little Belgian touch here in North America!

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    • It’s very strange because it’s the closest metro station from our apartment… And we didn’t choose because of that, it’s destiny I guess! 😀 The sculpture looks amazing indeed 🙂