Last updated July 2024

STM page on Blue Line extension progress

Promises of money in spring 2018 for the extension of the metro’s blue line to Anjou inspired Steve Faguy to tweet a series of earlier promises, and he’s given me permission to work his items into this timeline. I’m adding various pieces from other sources; the question of transit along Pie‑IX plays into this, as well as the REM and the proposed Pink Line.

Here’s a summary from Infoman.

October 1966: Initial metro system opens in Montreal.

June 1986: Blue line opens, but only from St-Michel to De Castelnau.

June 1987: Parc station opens, extending the line one station westward.

January 1988: Snowdon station opens and blue line runs from Snowdon to St‑Michel, which as of 2024 has remained the status quo for more than 30 years. Acadie station doesn’t open till March 1988, making it the most recent metro station opened on the island of Montreal. While Acadie was one of the least busy for a long time, it has become busier because of the nearby Université de Montréal satellite campus.

February 1990: Montreal Urban Community approves $1-billion loan to fund metro extensions: orange line to Laval, blue line to Anjou and proposed new line along Pie‑IX Blvd.

October 1998: Transport minister Jacques Brassard says “the money is there” after Quebec sets aside $63.5 million to extend the blue line east one stop to Pie-IX.

May 2001: Quebec announces $140 million toward transit projects, including extending the orange line to Laval and the blue line to Pie-IX.

April 2002: AMT publishes $3-million study on extending blue line to Anjou, which puts total cost at $700 million.

April 2007: Orange line’s Laval extension opens: three stations costing $700 million.

November 2010: AMT compiles a “wish list” saying it needs $91 million for studies and preliminary engineering work on extending the blue line.

September 2013: PQ transport minister Sylvain Gaudreault says his government wants to extend the blue line but not before 2020.

January 2015: A study is announced into extending the blue line with surface rail. Anjou mayor Luis Miranda is not pleased.

February 2015: There’s a brief flurry of interest in extending the blue line with an elevated train, a Robert Poëti idea.

June 2015: An AMT study shoots down a proposal to extend the line with a surface tram between St‑Michel and Anjou.

February 2016: The price tag for the blue line extension as a conventional subway tunnel is put at $3 billion. By this point $60 million has been spent on studies about the blue line extension.

April 2018: Federal and provincial unite to announce money for the extension of the blue line to Anjou by 2026, including five new stations: Pie-IX, Viau, Lacordaire, Langelier and Galeries d’Anjou. (Since Pie-IX, Viau and Langelier are already station names on the green line, will new names be chosen or will they just be “Pie-IX Nord” or “Viau Bleu”?)

May 2018: Government will be paying out more than $300 million for land expropriations needed to extend the blue line to Anjou.

Also in May, St-Laurent mayor Alan DeSousa revives a previously mentioned but shelved idea to extend the orange line past the Côte‑Vertu terminus to Bois‑Franc. A vast underground garage is being excavated near the terminus and DeSousa suggests it would save money to extend the tunnel at the same time.

June 2018: Quebec says it will pay for the $394-million cost of the express bus lane on Pie-IX, largely meant to ferry people to and from Laval. It’s supposed to be completed by 2022.

August 2018: STM sets money aside for more studies on the blue line extension, specifically concerning acquiring the needed land. There’s also talk in the linked article about platform doors for the orange line.

October 2018: The CAQ wins a majority in the Quebec election, throwing PLQ transit promises into doubt. François Legault is against Projet’s Pink Line but no news has come out about the Blue.

December 2018: The STM has had an office of 15 internal people in its Bureau de projet de la ligne bleue working on the line extension, but external engineers will be joining the office after the 2018 holidays are over.

Later in December, the entire extant blue line was finally connected to the cellular network.

January 2019: The city announced plans to borrow $40 million to start work on the blue line extension. A timeline in which work starts in winter 2021 to be completed in 2026 is also mentioned.

May 2019: It’s alleged that the cost of extending the line has been underestimated because taxes and expropriation will add to the bill, which is now $600M more than originally stated. Quebec says it will forge ahead anyway.

It seems likely that an extension of the orange line to Bois-Franc may be on the boards before any work is done on the blue line.

June 2019: Plans are afoot to run a “pink line” tram from downtown to Lachine.

July 2019: $1.3 billion of federal money is promised for the classic blue line extension, underground, five stops to Anjou.

November 2019: City executive committee plans to raise $464 million to proceed with the extension, this money mostly for expropriations and professional fees. Also, contracts have been awarded for designing the first three stations, Pie-IX, Langelier and Anjou.

December 2019: The Metro newspaper visits the downtown headquarters of the blue line extension office which has 200 workers preparing for the beginning of the dig next year.

January 2020: Contracts have now been awarded for the design of the Viau and Lacordaire stations. Toward the end of January it was announced that the STM would be expropriating a chunk of the Galeries d’Anjou parking lot for its new terminus station.

June 2020: Forget the blue line says treasury chairman Christian Dubé, after the CAQ’s Bill 61 fails to pass before the National Assembly’s summer recess.

June 2020: Owners of Galeries d’Anjou launch a lawsuit to block expropriations.

August 2020: It’s reported that the blue line will be delayed because of legal wrangling with Galeries d’Anjou’s owners.

March 2021: various excuses are given why the extension will not open in 2026 as promised.

April 2021: Quebec creates an action group to try to find a way to produce the extension within budget. Later in April, Montreal city hall proposes suggestions allowing cost-cutting while still building the extension.

May 2021: A stronger statement from Quebec on the necessity to reduce costs. Later in May: indications the extension may be axed completely.

June 2021: The Quebec action group makes proposals to save $1.2 billion by changing the location of the planned Anjou terminus. This plan would save all five proposed stations, although an alternative suggestion involves reducing the stations to four. And Taylor C. Noakes sums up the current state of play.

October 2021: News comes that work is proceeding on the Lacordaire station.

January-August 2022: Outremont station is closed completely for refurbishment and the addition of elevators. After it reopens in August, further work will be done till the end of 2023.

March 2022: An open letter published in La Presse and signed by a dozen organizations concerned with urban mobility pushes for completion of the blue line, especially with the SRB Pie‑IX expected to be finished next year.

Shortly afterwards, on March 18, a presser was held with all three levels of government, in which a budget around $6 billion was promised to complete the long‑promised five stations to Anjou, the work to start in 2023 and be completed by 2029.

April 2022: The STM is to begin the process of finding a firm with the chops to build the extension with a tunnel boring machine.

June 2022: The Côte-Vertu metro garage is inaugurated. It includes stubs for extending the orange line to Bois‑Franc.

August 29, 2022: Projet Montréal announces on Facebook the first day of work on the blue line extension.

December 5, 2022: STM puts out a call for tenders for construction of the blue line tunnel extension with a boring machine.

January 23, 2023: A new train control system will be added first to the blue line, then extended to the rest of the network. It won’t be operational till 2028.

January 26: Artists have been chosen to create works for each of the five new extension stations.

February 2023: STM announces it has come to terms with Ivanhoe Cambridge over placing a station at Galeries d’Anjou.

March 2023: Part of the Le Boulevard mall will be demolished to allow tunneling to begin. Also, some of Ottawa’s $2.7 billion intended for Quebec infrastructure work will be put into completing the blue line.

May 2023: The STM puts out a tender reaching nearly $1 billion for the excavation of the blue line extension.

July 2023: It’s announced at the end of July that excavation work will begin at Langelier and Jean‑Talon on Monday, August 7, after the end of the construction holiday.

July 31, 2023: The first segment of the REM opens for real commuters after a chaotic weekend of sightseers. First thing, a technical failure causes a slowdown.

August 2023: Work finally begins at Jean-Talon and Langelier preparatory to starting to dig in 2024.

September 2023: Completion of the extension was initially set for 2026, then pushed to 2029 because of the pandemic. Late September, this was adjusted again to 2030.

November 2023: Horizon Bleu, the only consortium in the running to dig the blue line extension, threatens to pull out if they’re not offered a more favourable contract.

December 2023: The STM makes concessions to Horizon Bleu.

February 2024: Deadlines are being pushed to adapt to the demands of the consortium that will be doing the tunnel excavation.

A deal has been inked for a new metro control system, which will be installed first in the extended blue line then extended to the rest of the system. But it won’t be operating till 2029.

July 2024: Cost of the extension has been adjusted up to $8 billion and the deadline pushed to 2031.