Farewell to STMís MR-63s:
††††††††††† In 2018, I learned that STM in Montreal was to retire their MR-63 subway trains by June of 2018. †Having ridden them a lot in my past trips to Montreal, I thought that I would like to ride them a final time in service.
††††††††††† While three days would have been ideal, Home Depot was giving me a lot of shifts, but in late April, I saw I would have two days off. I decided I might be able to make two days work.
††††††††††† My plan was to take VIA train #62 to Montreal on April 26th and take train #69 back home the next day. My friend Mark joined me on this trip. The trip unfolded as follows.
April 26, 2018:
††††††††††† I got to the Langstaff GO train station at 7:20 am and bought a ticket to Union. My train came about 10 minutes later. I photographed it before I got on.
††††††††††† I would normally have taken the departure after this. However, Mark said he would be on this train so I figured Iíd take this train down. I realized I had forgotten my spare battery for my camera at home. Fortunately, I had other means to charge the battery.
††††††††††† We arrived at Union about 30 minutes later. I got off and photographed the train.
††††††††††† Mark and I then went out and filmed the New York bound Maple Leaf departing. After, we stuck around and I filmed a VIA train pulling in led by a P42 wrapped for |VIAís 40th anniversary this year. It looked like VIA train #70 which is either early or the schedule changed. A few minutes later, the equipment for todayís trains 62 and 52 pulled in I filmed it.
††††††††††† Mark and I then went to Union to await boarding of our train. Boarding began shortly after 9:00 am. We were seated in LRC coach #3317. Mark and I made separate reservations, but we were in the same coach heading to Montreal. The train departed 2 minutes late. As we departed, I filmed the equipment belonging to VIA train #40 on the track next to us.
††††††††††† When we passed the TTCís Greenwood subway yard, I filmed it. I saw a Hawker subway car had been covered in graffiti. My ticket was taken and I bought a chocolate bar when the VIA attendant came by with the cart. A westbound VIA train raced past.
††††††††††† The train stopped at Oshawa. We soon departed. We stopped at Cobourg awhile later. At Cobourg, another VIA train passed, but I was unable to film it. We departed Cobourg a couple minutes later. The crew announced we were 10 minutes late.
††††††††††† When we passed the Memory Junction Railway Museum in Brighton, I filmed it. We passed non-stop through Belleville. East of Belleville, another VIA train passed. At one point we overtook an eastbound freight which had GO Transit bilevel coach #2500 second from the rear heading somewhere for overhaul.
††††††††††† We stopped at Kingston where I filmed VIA train #63 on the opposite track. We departed now running 5 minutes late. I attempted to film VIA train.
††††††††††† West of Brockville, we stopped to separate trains 62 and 52. I went to the rear of my coach and photographed the uncoupling of train 52.
††††††††††† We were soon underway again and we passed non-stop through Brockville. We soon picked up speed. VIA train #65 passed, but I was unable to film it. We stopped at Cornwall a little while later. East of Cornwall, we overtook a CN freight train.
††††††††††† A westbound CN freight train passed. We crossed into Quebec and passed an AMT station with an AMT commuter train being pulled by an ex GO Transit F59PH. However, I was unable to film it.
††††††††††† I went online and learned that Bill Cosby had been found guilty on all counts. We also passed a gas station where gas was selling at just over $1.40 per liter; (ouch!) We stopped at Dorval a few minutes later. We departed Dorval a few minutes later.
††††††††††† A little while later, we were approaching Montreal. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off. As we made a curve towards Central Station, I saw one of AMTís ex GO Transit single level cab cars and their ex CP Galley cars in storage. Hopefully the Galley cars at least will be preserved.
††††††††††† Train #62 arrived into Montreal 20 minutes late. I got off and photographed the train.
††††††††††† Mark and I then went upstairs and then left the station. We each bought three-day STM passes and boarded the Metro and rode to Mont Royal station. We rode on a train of MR-73 subway cars which will be around for at least a little while. Along the way, we passed some of STMís new AZUR trains. After getting off at Mont Royal, I filmed one of STMís new trains pulling in.
††††††††††† We went upstairs and I noticed that since I was last in Montreal in 2015, there is now a display board indicating when the next buses will arrive.
††††††††††† We then boarded a bus and headed out. We rode to Parc Avenue and got off. Once again, I had booked a room at the Hotel Park Avenue. We checked in and went to our room.
††††††††††† After a few minutes we headed out. We missed a bus on route #80 and waited for the next one. I phoned home and let my mom know we were in Montreal.
††††††††††† The next bus came and we rode to Place Des Arts Metro station on the Green Line. The Green Line is now the only line that the MR-63s run having been removed from the Yellow line. At the time of this trip, there were 9 trains or 81 MR-63s in service.
††††††††††† Mark and I went to the eastbound platform. We waited four trains which were all MR-73 class subway trains. We boarded an eastbound train when a train of MR-63s pulled in going west. We rode the train of MR-73s one stop and got off at Saint Laurent.
††††††††††† The next train to arrive into the station was a train of MR-63s. I photographed the train before I got on.
††††††††††† Mark and I rode all the way to the end of the line. At one point, the lights flickered which reminded me of the Gloucester subway cars the TTC retired in 1990. Mark and I took some photos once we got off.
††††††††††† We filmed the train pulling into the tail track to turn around. †Mark and I then went to the other platform to get the train back. I filmed the train pulling in.
††††††††††† Mark and I then got into the second car where I took some interior shots
††††††††††† We moved to the third car where I attempted to take some interior shots, but someone else boarded.† I ended up deleting the picture I took.
††††††††††† We rode to Berri-UQAM station where we got off. We filmed the train pulling out of the station. I had achieved my primary objective for this trip, but the day was still young.
††††††††††† We transferred to the Orange line. I wanted to try to ride AMTís newest commuter rail line. A new Azur train pulled in. I photographed it.
††††††††††† Mark and I rode back to Bonadventure station. We went back to Central station where I saw we had 30 minutes before the next train on the line I wanted to ride would depart. Mark bought something from the McDonaldís in the station.
††††††††††† We bought tickets to Ponte-aux-Trembles which is the furthest station on the line that we could easily get back to on STM. It was soon time to board. We boarded the cab car of the train which was in pull mode. The line uses the new bilevels that are capable at boarding at high level stations powered by ALP-45s which are dual-mode; either powered by a diesel engine or overhead wires.
††††††††††† The train left. We passed a couple STM bus garages on the way. At one point, we were passed by VIA trains 604 and 600 running combined; both coming from northern Quebec. I filmed the trains as they passed.
††††††††††† When we got to Ponte-aux-Trembles, we got off. I photographed the train.
††††††††††† I then filmed the train pulling out and took one more photo.
††††††††††† We then caught a STM bus on route #186 back to Honore-Beaugrand; the eastern end of the Green line. When we got there, we saw another train of MR-63s pulling in. I photographed it pulling into the tail track and filmed it pulling in.
††††††††††† We boarded the front car and took some interior shots.
††††††††††† The train departed. A few stations later, we were stopped due to a delay which was announced only in French. We sat for several minutes while 2-3 trains came in and stopped going the other way. We eventually were able to depart.
††††††††††† We rode to Lionel-Groulx station. We got off and I filmed the train pulling out. We then transferred to the Orange line. A new Azur train pulled in. We boarded and the train departed.
††††††††††† The Azur trains are quite different from the MR-63 and MR-73 subway cars. First, the trains are permanently coupled together with gangways between the cars like the Toronto Rocket subway trains back home. The cars had lights by the doors that were green when the train was pulling into a station and then when the doors are open. The lights turn red when the door closing chimes come on. The lights are white all other times.
††††††††††† We rode to Namur and we got off. I photographed the train and filmed it pulling out.
††††††††††† I wanted to have dinner at the restaurant shaped like a giant orange. We walked over. Mark noticed a Toys R Us and pointed it out. We decided to check it out after lunch as Toys R Us is closing their American locations and it doesnít look good for the Canadian locations.
††††††††††† We got to the restaurant and I photographed it.
††††††††††† I bought dinner there. Mark also got something. He agreed with me that the orange juice was good. After dinner, we walked to the Toys R Us. Outside the store, we photographed it.
††††††††††† We went inside. We stopped by the electronics area where Mark found a Super NES Classic which he ended up buying. Mark said he had been looking for one for months, so coming up here was worth while after all for both of us!
††††††††††† I saw a couple CP diesels pass by on the line behind the Toys R Us. However, I was unable to photograph them.
††††††††††† Mark and I walked back to the Metro and took an Azur train to Lionel-Groulx and transferred to the Green line. We rode a train of MR-73s back to Place Des Arts. We then got on an articulated Nova LFS bus on route 80 and headed back to the hotel.
††††††††††† We went back to the room and stayed there for a little while. I went out to a couple convenience stores and bought some cereal and milk. I then returned to the room. I set my alarm for 8:30 and called it a night.
April 27, 2018:
††††††††††† Mark and I got up and got dressed. I went to the kitchen area in the hotel and had breakfast. After breakfast, we finished packing and headed out. We walked a couple blocks and boarded a Nova LFS on route #129 and rode downtown. We were going to the Science Center in Montreal.
††††††††††† We got off the bus and walked the rest of the way. I photographed a 2002 vintage Nova LFS which is one of STMís oldest model buses as well as a newer LFS.
††††††††††† A few minutes later, I photographed a horse drawn carriage.
††††††††††† We got to the Science Center and went inside. Mark is a member at the Ontario Science Center which lets him get in free not just there, but other science centers including this one! I am not a member, so I paid the admission price.
We went around and I photographed a solar car built by Bombardier.
I photographed a few more exhibits.
I could make out La Ronde in the distance. It was not open when we were there. I then photographed a couple boats in the harbor.
I then photographed some more exhibits.
They are setting up for a new exhibit next month.
Mark and I went to the snack bar for a few minutes. We then left and walked along. I took one more photo of the Science Center
We saw a Ferris wheel which I photographed.
††††††††††† We walked over and thought about going for a ride but decided against it. We then headed out and stopped at a McDonaldís for lunch.
After lunch, we boarded a Nova LFS on route 55 and rode to Saint Laurent Metro station. We were going to try to ride some more MR-63s. We went to the westbound platform and waited. A couple MR-73s passed before an MR-63 showed up heading our way! I photographed it before we boarded the second car.
We rode to Angrignon station which is the other end of the Green Line. We got off and photographed the train.
I filmed the train pulling into the tail track. Mark said that Angrignon reminded him of Eglinton West and Old Mill stations back in Toronto.
The MR-63s then pulled in on the other track and I attempted to photograph them.
Sorry the photo is blurry.
Mark and I then boarded the train and we rode to Berri-Uqam station. I photographed the train.
††††††††††† I filmed the train pulling out. We left the station and walked around the area. I photographed a highway coach and a Nova LFS on route #747 to the airport.
We then got back on the subway. We had time to kill so we rode to Jean-Talon station and transferred to the Blue line. I photographed the train when it arrived, I photographed it.
We rode three stations east to the present terminus Saint-Michel. STM recently announced that they plan to extend the Blue line east of Saint Michel, but construction hasnít started yet.
At Saint Michel, I photographed the train before it went onto the tail track to turn around.
Mark and I then headed to the other side of the platform to board the train for the run to Snowden. I photographed the train before we got on.
We rode to Snowdown where I got off and photographed the train.
I then filmed the train pulling away. We then transferred to the Orange line and I photographed it before we got on.
I filmed the train pulling away. Mark and I went up to Central station to await the boarding of our train. I stopped at a convenience store and bought a chocolate bar and a Pepsi.
††††††††††† I noticed that VIA train #64 was running over an hour late. We then waited for our train to board. Boarding began shortly after 4:20 pm. I was seated in LRC coach #3334; the last car of the train. Mark; who had booked separately was seated in LRC coach #3317; the coach we rode down to Montreal on. Our train was pretty much the same as the train down except coach #3334 was added to the rear.
††††††††††† Train #69 departed on time. As we departed, I filmed two VIA trains next to the train. After leaving Central station, I attempted to photograph an RTL Van Hool AG300.
††††††††††† I had logged into the Wi-Fi and I worked on this report some more. I noticed no one was sitting next to me. As we passed the yard I saw the retired AMT equipment, I photographed it.
††††††††††† We soon picked up speed. We passed a CN freight and stopped at Dorval a little while later. After leaving Dorval, we passed a westbound AMT commuter train pushed by another ex GO Transit F59PH.
††††††††††† VIA train #64 passed. As it passed, I filmed it. We crossed into Ontario. An eastbound VIA train passed consisting of an F40PH-2, an LRC business class coach, and three Hep2 coaches. However, I was unable to film it.
††††††††††† My ticket was taken and I bought dinner. The train passed non-stop through Cornwall. We stopped at Brockville a little while later. West of Brockville, we passed an eastbound VIA train. I went to the back door and attempted to photograph it.
††††††††††† Awhile later, we stopped at Kingston. Kingston and Brockville were previously not served by this train as it ran express between Dorval and Toronto and then Oshawa. West of Kingston, a VIA train passed but I was unable to film it. I saw that the seat next to me had been empty since we left Montreal. I decided to go into the coach in front and asked Mark if he would like to move. He chose to because he was assigned a backwards facing seat. The train passed through Belleville and Cobourg non-stop.
††††††††††† The sun went down as we passed through Port Hope. Another eastbound VIA train passed but I was unable to film it. I continued working on this report.
††††††††††† The train stopped in Oshawa. We soon departed. As we got closer to Toronto, I readied my stuff in preparation to get off.
††††††††††† Train #69 arrived into Toronto on time. I got off and photographed the train.
††††††††††† Mark and I then went downstairs and headed to the subway. We rode a Toronto Rocket train to Finch. At Finch, we ended up crossing paths with our friend Jason who was coming from something downtown.
††††††††††† Markís dad picked us up in the Maserati. He then drove me home.
††††††††††† This trip was quite fun and enjoyable. Iím glad to not only ride the MR-63 subway trains for the last time in service, but ride ATMís new commuter line as well. I still would have preferred three days instead of the two I got, but I was able to make it work.
††††††††††† The MR-63s were built around the time of the TTCís H-1 subway cars which were retired in late 1999 so theyíve almost lasted 20 years as the oldest subway cars in service in Canada. Fortunately, some MR63 cars will be preserved.
††††††††††† Exporail will acquire the very first car. However, it will be solo instead of its three car set. An architect had purchased a number of cars that will be used as a building! Iíve even heard that STM may keep a train of MR-63s as historic cars as well. Weíll just have to see.
††††††††††† I also like the new Azur trains STM has purchased as well. However, Iím not sure when Iíll be back in Montreal to ride them again.
††††††††††† As for me, I probably wonít travel until June earliest or September the latest. Until next timeÖ