Montreal Light Rail System Noise Issues Getting Out of Hand

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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REM Light Rail Train

MONTREAL – Noise levels on Montreal's light rail system, REM, are grinding on the nerves of people living and working near and around the system.

REM officials announced this week that measures are being taken to mitigate the noise issues on the system, of which only five of 26 stations are currently operating.

According to the Montreal Gazette, acoustics engineers have discovered that the noise is caused primarily by vibrations, caused by car wheels rolling on the track, that move to the elevated structure supporting the line running through Nuns’ Island, Pointe-St-Charles, and Griffintown

The REM website reports the noise issues have been evaluated as follows, and will implement two solutions to reduce the noise:

  • In the spring, a rigorous analysis process was carried out in partnership with international experts to gain a better understanding of the sources of noise.
  • The resulting diagnosis confirmed an unsatisfactory noise impact in certain areas between Île-des-Sœurs and Central Station.
  • Two proven solutions will be rolled out: carrying out acoustic grinding along the entire segment and installing dynamic dampers on major sections of the route near residential areas.
  • A significant reduction in total noise intensity of 5 to 10 dB at the source is anticipated. In general, such a reduction is equivalent to a 3 to 10-fold decrease in the level of noise emitted compared to the current situation

Jean-Marc Arbaud, President and Chief Executive Officer of CDPQ Infra, the organization building the system, said “As we have said before, we are not happy about the noise caused by REM operations in certain areas. Over the last few months, we have adopted a strategic approach, with the support of international experts, to establish a diagnosis that will now enable us to implement proven solutions. These will be closely monitored to ensure that our noise reduction targets are met.”

For those interested in a technical presentation (powerpoint) providing more details about the problems, follow this link – Technical Presentation to the Media – Noise From the REM

REM Network Map. Note solid green line represents completed portion of system. Image courtesy of Réseau express métropolitain (REM)