Montreal Rapid Transit

North America’s 19th-largest metropolis has its third- (or fourth-*) busiest subway. And the Montreal Metro is not just a successful system, it’s an iconic one, with its rubber-tired railcars (based on Paris, of course) and historically, at least, a unique map. But Montreal is about to get a whole new rapid transit system. The Réseau express métropolitain (Metropolitan Express Network), or REM, will use driverless trains like Vancouver’s Skytrain and Honolulu’s HART, and will take advantage of existing commuter rail right-of-way to extend deep into the suburbs. Before long, Metro, including a planned extension of the Blue Line, and REM, including the newly announced REM de l’Est, should total 109 miles combined, with 118 stations. (* As in other areas, Montreal competes with Toronto for this title.)


The origin of this map was a realization that, for all the official and amateur maps made of the Montreal Metro, no one had yet seriously attempted to integrate the Metro and REM. I was nearly done when I discovered this map by ARTM, the regional transportation planning org. C’est la vie! If the maps look similar, it’s because both draw on the Metro map, starting with its distinctive black background. In defense of this map, it will be interesting to see how a future iteration of the ARTM map incorporates REM de l’Est, with its new stations in the heart of downtown and alignment closely paralleling the Metro Green Line, both of which present cartographic challenges. This map also future-proofs potential extensions of the Metro Orange Line to Bois-Franc and REM to Dorval. The typeface is Metro’s, FF Transit.

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