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REM 2022 Testing: 5 Critical Pre-Commissioning Milestones

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2022 is a pivotal year for the REM. A series of milestones must be reached before the Brossard-Central Station segment can be commissioned in fall 2022. Here is an overview of tests to follow closely this year.

Tests already conducted
The end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 marked the start of testing for various REM systems. Here is a short summary of the tests completed in the past year and half:  

  • Manual and automatic vehicular traffic.
  • Operation of the power supply.
  • Operation of the station platform screen doors.
  • Communications systems, video surveillance systems and other equipment.
  • Interfaces with various subsystems (trains, tracks, power supply, signalling, etc.)
  • Winter conditions during the 2020-21 winter and 2021-22 winter.
  • Monitoring of available systems by the control centre.
  • And more.
     
In general, the tests confirmed the approach taken during the railway system’s design and enabled the necessary adjustments to be done on all the installed subsystems. Priority was given to ensuring that the network operates smoothly, safely and reliably. 📷 Alstom / C. Fleury.
In general, the tests confirmed the approach taken during the railway system’s design and enabled the necessary adjustments to be done on all the installed subsystems. Priority was given to ensuring that the network operates smoothly, safely and reliably. 📷 Alstom / C. Fleury.
In general, the tests confirmed the approach taken during the railway system’s design and enabled the necessary adjustments to be done on all the installed subsystems. Priority was given to ensuring that the network operates smoothly, safely and reliably. 📷 Alstom / C. Fleury.
In general, the tests confirmed the approach taken during the railway system’s design and enabled the necessary adjustments to be done on all the installed subsystems. Priority was given to ensuring that the network operates smoothly, safely and reliably. 📷 Alstom / C. Fleury.
In general, the tests confirmed the approach taken during the railway system’s design and enabled the necessary adjustments to be done on all the installed subsystems. Priority was given to ensuring that the network operates smoothly, safely and reliably. 📷 Alstom / C. Fleury.
In general, the tests confirmed the approach taken during the railway system’s design and enabled the necessary adjustments to be done on all the installed subsystems. Priority was given to ensuring that the network operates smoothly, safely and reliably. 📷 Alstom / C. Fleury.
In general, the tests confirmed the approach taken during the railway system’s design and enabled the necessary adjustments to be done on all the installed subsystems. Priority was given to ensuring that the network operates smoothly, safely and reliably. 📷 Alstom / C. Fleury.
In general, the tests confirmed the approach taken during the railway system’s design and enabled the necessary adjustments to be done on all the installed subsystems. Priority was given to ensuring that the network operates smoothly, safely and reliably. 📷 Alstom / C. Fleury.
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The current testing area is located between Brossard station and the Pelletier overpass, after Panama station. 📷 Alstom / C. Fleury.

Next Major Milestones Until Commissioning

 

1. Simulated operation

Planned period: spring

For about one month, from May to June, the systems testing team has handed everything over to the operations and maintenance teams for the “simulated operation” phase. 
This phase will simulate future service, without passengers, and test the teams’ ability to perform routine operations in different contexts.

🎥 Alstom / C. Fleury

What are we testing?

For the first time ever, Groupe PMM Operations and Maintenance—the entity responsible for network operations and maintenance for the past 30 years—will simulate a series of typically “normal” service days, with car passage frequencies ranging from 2.5 to 10 minutes. On these days, several elements must be checked: 

  • Initialization of cars in the storage centre.
  • Automated departure and return of cars from storage to the REM tracks.
  • Fleet management according to cleaning and maintenance requirements.
  • Service schedule management and overall rail system reliability.
  • And even more!
View of the storage facility

Beyond the testing of normal service days, the teams will also conduct simulations in “degraded” mode where potential malfunctions or breakdowns are simulated randomly each day, e.g. the unexpected absence of someone in the control room or a passenger blocking a station door. The teams must perform the appropriate procedures for such simulated irregularities as they would in a real situation. In particular, these simulations test:

  • Troubleshooting procedures at the control station and on the tracks.
  • Coordination between actions taken in the field and at the control centre.
  • Safety and quality-of-service procedures.
  • Implementation of a management plan for degraded situations. 
  • Service resumption after an incident.
  • Consistent network announcements.
  • And more.

The simulated operation is a full-scale test run of future service.

The REM car circulates on the South Shore during the tests.

2. End of electrification work  

Planned period: summer 2022

This summer, for about a month, trains will be completely stopped to allow NouvLR—the consortium in charge of infrastructure—to complete work on the track, mainly its electrification.

Aerial view of the work in the Lachine Canal sector
Aerial view of the work in the Lachine Canal sector
Electrification work in the southwest sector
Electrification work in the southwest sector
Network electrification work carried out by NouvLR
Network electrification work carried out by NouvLR
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This stoppage will allow workers to deploy in force and deliver an important milestone: complete electrification of the branch from Brossard to Central Station

 

3. Expansion of the testing area to Montréal

Planned period: summer-fall 2022

Once NouvLR has finished performing electrification work and multiple track verification operations with Groupe PMM, the first REM cars will finally be able to cross the Champlain Bridge to Île-des-Sœurs and southern Montréal. 

The first test cars to arrive at Central Station will be a momentous occasion for the project. The work is underway and the catenaries are being installed.

Groupe PMM will perform dynamic tests again, but for a larger, brand new segment this time. The special trackwork, the electrical components and all of the systems and technologies, especially at the Île-des-Sœurs station and Central Station, will then be tested remotely from the Brossard control centre. 

The complete branch may be tested. 📷 Alstom / C. Fleury.

During this period, other tests my also be carried out, such as simulations involving emergency services. For example, the teams will simulate passenger evacuations from an elevated structure and the fire department’s responses in a station. These actions will test the effectiveness of coordination with fire departments, municipal police and others.

 

4. Run test

Planned period: fall 2022

The final step before commissioning is called a “run test” (or trial run). For about a month, the actual commercial service will run, but still without passengers. By then, all systems will be operational and the cars will run at the commissioning frequency and schedule.

The approval milestone for the entire REM rail system comes next. To reach this milestone, the operation and maintenance teams must achieve an overall system availability rate of at least 95%. This approval milestone must be reached before the REM can be commissioned.
 

5. Final stage: commissioning

Planned period: fall 2022 (only if all of the above milestones are met)

Once all of the above stages have been completed, commissioning will be scheduled. The public will be invited to celebrate this final milestone on opening day! The system will at last be open to the public 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Brossard station to Central Station.

📷 Alstom / C. Fleury.

Despite all these tests, the first months of the network’s operation will still be quite special. A brand new network means an ever-growing learning curve for the operations and maintenance teams, and new habits for the users who will board this brand new system. Our teams will be extremely vigilant for the first two months, with two priorities in mind: system reliability and public and user safety.

Network map

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