CDPQ Infra, the infrastructure investment arm of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, has agreed to acquire assets from Canadian National Railway Co (CN) as part of its Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM) project. The deal, the terms of which were not disclosed, will see CDPQ Infra acquire the aerial structure leading to Montréal’s Central Station, along with adjacent land, infrastructure, and other assets. In April, the Caisse said it would commit $3 billion to the REM project, which will create an electrified rail network in the Greater Montréal area.
CDPQ Infra and CN enter into an agreement, a decisive step for the Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM) project
Acquisition of the aerial structure leading to Central Station (Viaduc du Sud) and adjacent land and infrastructure
Long-term agreement allowing the REM to use Central Station Full preservation of the Rodier Building and closure of Saint-Paul, William and Dalhousie Streets avoided through the use of existing structures
Montréal, August 24, 2016 – As part of its Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM) project update, CDPQ Infra announced today that it has entered into an agreement with CN. The agreement marks a decisive step in the development of the REM project as a unified, integrated system, with Central Station as the intermodal hub linking four metropolitan branches.
Under the agreement, CDPQ Infra will acquire the aerial structure leading to Central Station (Viaduc du Sud) from CN, allowing the REM to access the station directly. The agreement also allows the REM to use Central Station and run under CN’s tracks in the Pointe-Saint-Charles sector.
In addition to facilitating the integration of different public transportation networks through Central Station, the agreement allows CDPQ Infra to significantly reduce the impacts of the REM project on the urban fabric. As such, heritage buildings, including the Rodier Building, and various residential and commercial buildings, will be fully preserved. The use of existing structures also eliminates the need to build parallel tracks and close Saint-Paul, William and Dalhousie Streets, thereby avoiding further inconvenience for citizens.
“This agreement crystalizes the vision we had for the REM, that of a unified system, integrated into the urban fabric. We are truly grateful for CN’s collaboration in helping us find solutions, particularly in facilitating the REM’s access to Central Station, the network hub. This speaks to the seriousness and commitment of a partner who, like us, seeks to improve the fluidity and efficiency of transportation in the Greater Montréal area,” said Macky Tall, President and Chief Executive Officer of CDPQ Infra.
“Considering the key role played by rail transportation in the fight against climate change, CN is proud to be able to facilitate the implementation of this major project that will benefit and develop the Greater Montréal area,” said Janet Drysdale, Vice-President, Corporate Development at CN.
The agreement between CDPQ Infra and CN provides for the acquisition of land, buildings, structures, bridges, as well as rail infrastructure between Bridge and Saint-Antoine Streets in a central area of Montréal.
The three operators of passenger services (AMT – Mont-Saint-Hilaire line, AMTRAK and VIA Rail) that currently use the Viaduc du Sud will not be affected by its acquisition by CDPQ Infra. The REM project will require construction work and potential changes to the structure. This work will be carried out without interfering with existing passenger services.
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Photo courtesy of Canadian National Railway Co