Technical details
VIA Rail Canada


Evaluate use of VIA HFR on REM railways
Feasibility Study, Preliminary Design

VIA foresees the construction of a dedicated High Frequency Railway (HFR) for passenger transit along the Quebec City-Windsor corridor across the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

On the specific section between Montreal and Quebec City, VIA wishes to use the Mont-Royal tunnel to run along the north bank of the Saint-Lawrence river. However, the Mont-Royal tunnel will soon host the new REM automatic metro system. The need is therefore to evaluate the feasibility to share infrastructure in order to operate both urban and inter-urban trains.

The interoperability project takes place between Gare Centrale and Gare A-40 and is characterized by the following:

  • Cohabitation of two rolling stock fleets with different dimensions and mechanical characteristics;
  • A common electrical traction mode on the shared path: 1.5 kV DC requiring several traction modes on board VIA Rail’s fleet;
  • A common CBTC signalling system requiring dedicated communication modules on board VIA Rail’s fleet.

VIA Rail gave to SYSTRA the mandate to evaluate the feasibility to operate its new HFR rolling stock fleet, soon to be procured for the Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa section, on REM infrastructure.

The mandate execution consisted of delivering the following reports:

  • An operational impact study, including several track layout options to operate both fleets between Gare Centrale and Gare A-40.
  • A safety impact study addressing the Mont-Royal tunnel and including the study of different scenarios in nominal and degraded modes to manage a potential fire occurring and egress requirements. The study also addressed the governance management between REM and VIA Rail authorities.
  • A technical impact study highlighting the exhaustive list of sub-systems for which a specific interoperability assessment involving design and interfaces specifications shall be conducted at design stages for both REM and VIA Rolling Stock renewal projects.

The project in pictures