July 23, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Passenger train: Exo's first cars are finally on the rails in China

Passenger train: Exo's first cars are finally on the rails in China

After several delays, passengers can finally board six new Exo train cars made in China by the controversial manufacturer.

“It exceeded my expectations, but given the manufacturer's reputation I was expecting something terrible,” comments Pearson Basilieres.

She was one of the train enthusiasts who came to test the new product on Tuesday during the commissioning of the first six “2050 cars” on the Montreal-Saint-Jerome route.

The former Metropolitan Transport Agency (AMT) ordered 44 from China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), which won the tender in 2017 at the cost of Bombardier.

A controversial manufacturer

The Chinese manufacturer has made a lot of ink flow since then. In 2020, News magazine He was specifically found to be in the Pentagon's crosshairs because of his alleged ties to the Chinese military.

NGOs have denied that the company sources its supplies from mines in Madagascar where children as young as five work.



New cars have markings for visually impaired people.

Photo by ANOUK LEBEL

This is not counting the many delivery delays.

The first batch of 24 cars is initially scheduled to be delivered in December 2019. However, Exo won't receive the first two units at its Point-St-Charles maintenance center until winter 2022.

Six cars were finally unveiled on Friday and put into service on Monday. The remaining 44 cars will gradually hit the track by the summer of 2025.

30% Canadian

Although the train was ordered in China, about 30% of the manufacturing was of Canadian origin, Exo spokesman Eric Edstrom argued.

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He specifically mentions that the seats are made in Quebec.

The lead car is also 100% accessible to people with reduced mobility, he explained.

“Unbelievable! On the old train, there wasn't that much space,” enthused Tyler Ryan, who brought his scooter to test drive the new train.



The main car

Passionate about public transportation, Tyler Ryan was satisfied with a 100% accessible car that had enough space for his scooter.

Photo by ANOUK LEBEL

“It's a new smell, but I don't notice any difference,” said Ronald Miglirina, who has been riding the train mornings and evenings for years.

The total purchase budget for new cars is $204 million for the Exo.

This is significantly higher than the $69 million CRRC sought from AMT as part of the 2017 call for tenders.

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