Media Day for the New Metro Cars

STM had a media day about the new tender for the metro cars to replace the MR63.

Reported here: The Gazette and Le Devoir

Since I do work for Alstom, I can only offer my personal opinion about the features of the cars.

Full gangway between the cars:

  • This adds a lot of flexibility and spreads out the passengers
  • Better chance of getting a seat.
  • STM will have to operate the 9-car sets all the time though.
  • I’ve been on the NS-93 in Chile (practically the same design as the MP-89 in Paris) that have them and I was impressed

Air Conditioning:

  • Bad idea.  Montreal’s climate doesn’t justify the expense for only a few months of the year.
  • What people forget is that air conditioning only moves heat around.
  • The tunnels and the stations will be hotter – then people will demand air conditioning in the stations as well (big $)
  • A better way to reduce the heat in the tunnels would be to have regenerative braking but this requires changes to the track power supply.  It would save quite a bit of electricity though!

3 doors/car:

  • From a maintenance point of view it is better because there will 25% less chance of a door on the train malfunctioning
  • The doors will be wider than they are right now so that will compensate for their reduced number
  • The doors all need to be equally spaced (including from one car to the next) this will allow the future addition of platform screen doors in the stations.
  • As they say in the story, recycling of each door independantly if they are not closed will greatly improve the dwell time at the stations.

Interior Noise

  • I’m sure that the current trains are nowhere near the current standard for allowable noise levels.  The newer trains need to be a lot quieter.

Surveilance Cameras

  • This is a standard feature on metros today.
  • It should increase the sense of security of the passengers

Door close warning

  • I don’t think it adds that much – you just get an earlier warning (1 or 2 seconds) that the doors will close.

I can’t wait to start working on this tender when it finally is issued!

4 comments so far

  1. Mike on

    Re: surveillance cameras

    I’d like you to back up your arguments a bit more about this particular gimmick.

    “This is a standard feature on metros today.”
    Since when is something worth buying just because others have it, too? There needs to be a clear and tangible benefit for Montreal’s metro users in order to justify spending the extra money for hundreds of cameras per train + storage equipment + continuous system maintenance.

    And no, “It should increase the sense of security of the passengers” doesn’t count as an argument. You could just as well mount $5 dummy cameras instead and you would have the same effect. Just search for “security theater” on the net. Those cameras will just cost large amounts of money over time while not adding an ounce of real security.

    Personally, as long as this gimmick is included in the purchase, I hope the new trains will never materialize.

    • transportjames on

      Mike:

      Thank you for your comments and I understand why you are reluctant about it. There certainly is a ‘big brother’ aspect to the security cameras. Rest assured that the images are erased after a few days.
      The STM’s specification calls for four interior cameras per car and one per cab watching the track ahead.
      The STM’s specification requires that video of the best-positioned camera be displayed on a screen in the driver’s cab automatically if one of the following events occur:

      If a door doesn’t close after being recycled (blocked by passengers).
      If there is an emergency brake handle activation
      If there is an intercom activation,
      If a door is manually opened by passengers

      Currently the driver needs to exit the cab and walk towards the affected car to resolve the situation. This new mechanism will allow quicker resolution of problems.

      Also when the metro arrives at the terminus, the STM’s specification requires that the video system automatically detect if the cars are empty. Often people fall asleep and don’t get off the metro at their station or even at the terminus. If the metro is then going out of service to storage tracks or the maintenance shops, people can get trapped on the train. Sometimes they pull the emergency brakes or the intercom. These types of events cause delay in turning the train around.

      The frontal camera will essentially be used in the maintenance shops when reversing the train to make sure that nobody is standing in the way.

      Don’t forget that security is a lot more than just recording the images.

      • Mike on

        “Rest assured that the images are erased after a few days.”

        I’m sorry, but I won’t be. I do not know who will be operating those storage systems, who has access to it and if these people are trustworthy. They don’t trust me, otherwise there wouldn’t be any cameras in the trains, so why should I trust them? Trust is always mutual. There have been countless incidents where people who were charged with operating surveillance systems were found to exploit it to their own benefit, e.g. by spying on other people.

        In fact, you did not provide a single reason why the footage would have to be recorded around the clock in the first place. If no one blocks a door, pulls the emergency brake, triggers the intercom, or manually opens a door, there is simply no reason to record the passengers. I take the metro twice daily and have not seen such an event happen even once in an entire year. There is no justification for non-stop surveillance.

        I am of course not saying that if one of these events occurs, that video may not be recorded, or if the train operator needs to see something _live_, I don’t have such a big issue with that either.

        But what is really never backed up with hard facts these days is why outright non-stop surveillance is needed. If there really is an issue big enough to justify such an amount of surveillance, then just taping something on video clearly is the least efficient way of dealing with it.

  2. paul on

    don’t our metro cars already use regenerative breaking ?!

    i thought for sure i had read that somewhere about them ..


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