Short-term service increase coming for West Island train line

Anthony Abbondanza
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The Liberal government will commit $80 million, in the short-term, to improve the West Island rail network, adding two or three trains a day – each direction – on the existing Vaudreuil-Lucien-Allier line, the Train de l’Ouest coalition announced Monday morning at the Lucien-Allier Train Station.

The Train de l’Ouest has a brighter outlook after spokesperson Clifford Lincoln and Maria Tutino, mayor of Baie D’Urfe left a Monday morning meeting with the transport minister.

Led by the coalition’s spokesperson Clifford Lincoln and Baie D’Urfe Mayor Maria Tutino, the large delegation of mayors took the Monday morning rush hour train from Pointe Claire to Lucien-Allier Train Station in downtown, Montreal where they met with transport minister and West Island native Robert Poeti for about an hour in an effort to make a decades-long dream into reality.

“It was a very open and honest exchange,” said Lincoln. “This is positive news.”

When asked when to expect the added service, the former West Island MP said the minister gave a projected timeline of 18 to 24 months – contingent on the purchase of new equipment.

According to Tutino, the timeframe can be reduced significantly if the Agence Metropolitain de Transport (AMT), the agency which operates the regional train network, uses older equipment readily available.

But the big news, said Tutino, was the understanding the minister was on the same page as the West Island delegation; that is, the realization of the Train de l’Ouest project, which calls for a devoted, express rail line from Vaudreuil to Downtown, Montreal.

“He made a commitment that there will be a rapid link for citizens on his mandate that will be on track to completion,” said the Baie D’Urfe mayor. “For us, it’s a pretty strong statement.”

Tutino led a delegation of mayors that included Morris Trudeau of Pointe Claire, George Bourelle of Beaconsfield, Michel Gibson of Kirkland, and Paola Hawa of Ste. Anne de Bellevue among others.

The group, however, may have to wait a little longer for the government’s commitment to become a reality as Poeti awaits the AMT’s presentation of its West Island Mobility Plan, which offers three different modes of transportation as solutions to the current traffic dilemma, and offered to get back to the coalition with an answer by next year.

He made a commitment that there will be a rapid link for citizens on his mandate that will be on track to completion. For us, it’s a pretty strong statement. Maria Tutino, mayor of Baie D'Urfe

The three scenarios are mutually exclusive: bus-dominated transportation network; train-dominated transportation network; or a light rail system, which could potentially include the addition of a rail line devoted to passenger-only transit, akin to the Train de l’Ouest proposal

According to Lincoln, “it’s too long” of a delay for a project that will remove roughly 4000 cars off the Island’s busiest roads and highways, daily.

With the eventual demolition of the Turcot Interchange, traffic “will become even more chaotic,” he said.

“The train is a fantastic mitigation to the problem because it’s the best way of transporting a lot of people at the same time,” added Lincoln.

It’s not the first time a Liberal government has made promises regarding the Train de l’Ouest project.

Under the Charest government, the Liberals promised nearly $1 billion for the passenger-only rail line and a $22-million study. While the study was completed, and the Train de l’Ouest deemed necessary, it failed to materialize.

But Lincoln isn’t worried about what was said in the past, but rather looking to the future.

“[Poeti] realizes we need this project. And we’re just going to keep pushing until we get it,” he said.

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Organizations: AMT, Lucien-Allier Train Station, West Island Mobility Plan

Geographic location: West Island, Pointe Claire, Montreal Kirkland

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