The MPM-10 (nicknamed 'Azur') is a type of metro car that is being built for the Société de transport de Montréal. The cars, deigned by Labbe Designers & Associes, are being built by a consortium composed of Bombardier Transportation and Alstom.
The new metro cars entered service on February 7, 2016 and will eventually replace the MR-63 cars. It is expected that all MPM-10 cars (468 cars/52 trainsets) will be delivered by the end of 2018.
On May 11, 2006 the Quebec Government announced that it had requested the STM to enter into exclusive negotiations with Bombardier for the manufacture of new Metro cars, then designated MR-08. This would mean there would be no competitive bid process, which was objected to by Alstom who filed a lawsuit with the Quebec Superior Court. The Court sided with Alstom in January 2008.
Following the ruling, the STM issued a tender for the MR-08. Alstom and Bombardier submitted a joint bid in November of that year. The city's original tender for 340 subway cars, worth an estimated $1.2-billion, increased to 765 cars with an option of 288 cars, worth an estimated $3-billion. The increase was negotiated between the STM and the Alstom-Bombardier consortium.
As the contract looked to be finalized with the Bombardier-Alstom consortium, Chinese company ZhuZhou Electric Locomotive expressed interest in bidding for the MR-08 contract in December 2009. The company threatened a court order to force an open bidding process instead of the exclusive deal with Bombardier-Alstom. ZhuZhou stated they could build the cars for a lower price than their competitors. They also stated that they would build the cars as steel-wheeled vehicles opposed the Montreal specified rubber-tired vehicles, citing advances in technology that give steel wheels an advantage. On March 1, 2010, ZhuZhou formally submitted a bid valued at approximately $2 billion. The bid included specification of steel wheels which ZhuZhou argued would save taxpayers $1.5 billion and produce a smoother ride. The company stated the assembly of the cars would be in Quebec, creating up to 1,000 jobs and meeting the 60% Canadian content requirement. Spanish firm CAF also expressed interest in the contract as they have built rubber-tired trains before. However, the STM quickly announced that they have rejected ZhuZhou's proposal.
The tender was put on hold late September 2010 at the request of the Quebec government to give each side more time to prepare. On October 5, 2010, it was announced that the Quebec government decided to work exclusively with Bombardier-Alstom and forgo the open bidding process. Premier Jean Charest claimed this step will create and save jobs in Quebec with production at the La Pocatière and Saint-Bruno facilities. This decision was not well received by competing manufactures interested in the contract. A representative from ZhuZhou Electric Locomotive stated the decision by the Quebec government violated international trade agreements and Canadian law. CAF said they were considering legal action. Both companies claimed they could build the cars for less than Bombardier-Alstom's estimated $2.6 million cost per car. Finally on October 7, 2010, Bill 116, which allowed the government to give the $1.22-billion contract for 468 new cars to Bombardier-Alstom without the normal bidding process, was adopted.
At the 2007 CUTA Trans-Expo in Quebec City, three renderings were presented as possible designs for the MR-08. The STM selected the design most favoured those surveyed. The MR-08 was presented as a nine car set with open gangways and an interior layout similar to the MR-73, but with the possibility of flip-up seats. Each car would have three large doors per car as opposed to the four narrower ones on the previous stock.
The exteriors of the cars are to be finished in metalic-looking vinyl film with graphics printed on the film. The STM issued a survey regarding the exterior look of the cars in December 2010. Option 1 had the car in blue, fading to silver towards the ends in a gradient pattern. The area around the windows was black with a silver band above and below the window lines. Option 2 had the car in all blue with a silver skirt and black around the windows. The STM chevron logo was on the roof at the ends. Option 3 had a blue roof and blue above the windows and following the curve of the end. The remaining areas were silver. Polls closed January 6, 2011 and on February 18, the STM announced Option 1 was the most favoured and will be the look for the exterior of the trains.
In spring 2011 passengers were asked to give suggestions for names of the new metro trains similar to what was done for the TTC's Toronto Rockets. Out of around 6000 entries, five final choices were put to public vote in March: Azur, Boomerang, Véga, Kronos, and Zéphyr. The STM unveiled the name of the new trains in May 2012 as Azur.
Over four days between April and May 2011, the STM asked for public input on the seat design in the new trains. Different seat designs were shown at Berri-UQAM station for passengers to trial and vote for. The final choice was announced in June 2011.
A full-scale mock up of the MPM-10 was displayed at Berri-UQAM Station from June 8 to July 8, 2012. The cab mock up was displayed at Square Victoria as part of the 2013 Car Free Day. The mock-up was later put on display at Exporail, a railway museum south of Montreal.
Delivery and deployment
The cars are being built at Bombardier's facility in La Pocatière, Québec. The bogies are manufactured and integrated by Alstom at a new facility in Sorel-Tracy. The finished cars are delivered individually by truck to the STM's Youville shops. Bombardier's production rate is one to two trains per month, with delivery of one car per day. Delivery of all of the cars is expected to be complete by the end of September 2018.
The prototype train was to be delivered in June 2013, however this was pushed to December. The prototype train was unveiled at Bombardier's La Pocatière facility on November 25, 2013, and the first two mid-train cars were delivered to the STM at the beginning of 2014 for clearance testing around the system. The first lead car was delivered four months later on April 29, 2014. Once assembled, the complete prototype train underwent testing with the STM for a period of eight months. Bombardier has cited, in particular, the bankruptcy of a supplier as a factor in the delay of the prototype's delivery.
A delay in the supply of the automatic train control (ATC) system from Ansaldo STS, has held up further cars from delivery. According to the company, the delay is due to integration difficulty between the ATC system and the STM's existing subsystems. The set that has been delivered to the STM for testing is not equipped with ATC. By June 2015, Ansaldo STS was on track to delivering a solution. And the following month, the STM took delivery of a second trainset.
Unlike the first trainset which had been undergoing testing since June 2014, the second trainset has a completed interior. Begining in August 2015, it and the first trainset began testing during service hours without passengers. This first phase of testing measured the train's performance on the system. This was followed by simulated in-service testing. The in-service phase with passengers was expected to begin by the end of 2015.
On February 7, 2016, the first MPM-10 train entered service. Operating on the Orange Line, Set 2 departed from Henri-Bourassa at 10:00 bound for Côte-Vertu. On October 24, 2017, the MPM-10 entered passenger service on the Green Line for the first time with two trains. The STM had now taken delivery of a total of 29 trains.
As more MPM-10 trains entered service in 2016, the STM began to retire their MR-63 trains. With enough MPM-10 sets on hand, the STM announced in May 2018 that the final MR-63 sets would be retired with a farewell tour from June 18 to June 21.
In February 2018, the STM announced that they will be receiving two addition trainsets as compensation for delayed initial delivery. These two trains will be used for expansion and were expected to be delivered by the end of 2018.
With the final deliveries of the MPM-10 trains, there were concerns that jobs at Bombardier's La Pocatière facility would be lost without new business. The provincial government made a commitment to preserve jobs and would negotiate withe City of Montreal for the supply of more cars. An extension to the contract for an additional 153 cars (17 sets) was announced by Bombardier in November 2018. These will replace a portion of the STM's MR-73 fleet.
The structure of the MPM-10 is constructed from stainless steel with the exterior skin composed of aluminum. Each MPM-10 set is composed of nine cars with full width cabs at either end. The seven cars in between the two end cars are powered, while the end cars are trailers. The train has open gangways between the cars, allowing passengers to move freely along the length of the train.
Each car has three bi-parting, plug-type passenger doors on each side. Audio and visual signals will alert passengers of closing doors. The door chime, introduced in August 2010 incorporates the recognizable "dou dou dou" sound that is made by the power converter in the MR-73 and which has became synonymous with the Metro. An announcement recorded by Michèle Deslauriers, "Attention, nous fermons les portes." was to be played after the chime, but was eliminated at passenger request.
End cars and intermediate cars have 22 and 28 cantilevered-mounted, rigid fibre reinforced plastic seats, respectively. The end cars feature two flip-up seats and two dedicated areas with ischiatic supports. The intermediate cars have four flip-up seats. Each car has four 19 inch flat screens. Safety features include intercom modules and closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras.
The MPM-10 uses the braking system unique to the Metro and introduced with the MR-63 cars. The brake shoes are manufactured by the STM from yellow birch and dipped in peanut oil to reduce friction with the metal. This reduces noise and eliminates dust produced from steel brake shoes. They also produce less wear on the wheels.
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- Société de transport de Montréal,. 'AZUR : STM Announces The Start Of Day-Time Testing'. N.p., 2015. Web. 10 Oct. 2015.
- Two AZUR trains are now on the green line. Press release. 24 October 2017.
- Corriveau, Jeanne. 06 February 2018. Ajout de deux trains Azur gratuits pour la STM. Le Devoir.
- "Couillard wants Bombardier rail plant to get Montreal's new Azur contract". The Canadian Press, 13 April 2018.
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