The Montreal Transit Corp. (Société de transport de Montréal, or STM) recently began revenue service of its next-generation métro cars. Dubbed “Azur”, the STM’s MPM-10 rolling stock is being built by a Bombardier-Alstom consortium. The order is for 468 cars, assembled in nine-car train-sets.
As the newer-model trains are gradually delivered, they will replace vintage MR-63 rolling stock, in service since the Montreal métro opened in 1966.
I only got a brief glimpse of the new Azur train at the Mont-Royal métro station on my last trip to Montreal, on its second day of revenue service. Perhaps I’ll be lucky enough to ride one upon my next visit.
When Montreal was planning its métro system some half a century ago, it decided to go with Parisian-style trains fitted with tires in addition to steel wheels.
Consequently, experts from the RATP, the Parisian public transportation authority, acted as consultants throughout the planning and construction stages.
That cross-Atlantic connection is symbolized in one of the entrances to Square Victoria station, which has authentic Art Nouveau signage as you’d find in the French capital, a gift from the RATP first installed in 1967.
This is a sight you haven’t seen in Budapest-Keleti since September: A Euronight train waiting for passengers to board.
Indeed, my visit there coincided with a brief period when international rail services were running as normal despite the migrant/refugee crisis.
There continue to be some disruptions because of temporary border controls relating to the flow of migrants; do check with your operator — and alternatively, see this list of service disruptions from Eurail — if you had planned to use rail services in this region.
If you are in Budapest and need help, the international ticket office on the ground floor (near the taxi stand entrance) is the better option. The domestic ticket office on the lower floor doesn’t always have staff on duty who are able to speak English.
Although the Eurail link above refers to a business lounge at Budapest-Keleti doubling as an aid office for Eurail ticket/pass-holders, that part of the station was under renovation, with the lounge out of service as of September. Perhaps the situation has changed since then but do be aware of this possibility anyway.
Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Berlin’s main train station, is an elegant and efficient public space.
Its mainly glass train-shed allows lots of natural light into the building.
Organization of train services (regional S-Bahn trains top floor; regional, national and international services in the basement; local U-Bahn adjacent) makes transfers simple.
The large shopping and dining plaza on the two floors between train platforms encourages foot traffic.
Abundant public spaces and public art in, on and near the property add to the attractiveness of the building.
Every modern rail hub should aspire to be as welcoming.