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I have wondered about this for quite sometime. A recent trip to europe only made me more aware of it.

 

Why do we, in Montreal, have such large suburban trains? This in comparison to paris for example.

 

here the new bimodal locomotives for the AMT

BT-PR-20080818-AMT_Locomotives.jpg

 

as oposed to this:

RER_lineA.jpg

 

Pictured above is a Parisian RER train. They run on their own tracks as well as SNCF tracks. They appear to be between a conventional metro and a regular train in size. Meanwhile our AMT trains seem to be regional trains.

 

I wondered why are OUR suburban trains so large and cumbersome, requiring locomotives and what not, while elsewhere they are light and quick.

It certainly is not a distance issue, as the parisian RERs run MUCH farther distances than our AMT trains.

It does not seem to be a cost issue either.

And while i am aware that not all AMT lines are electrified, they very well should be. the whole point of public transport (as i see it) is to move people in a way that reduces congestion and pollution.

 

I use the paris example, but other cities as copenhaggen or london have similar suburban trains to those in paris.

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Transport Canada and North American laws on rail transport in general restricts the trains that can be used here primarily by their weight. Only very heavy trains are allowed to be used if the track is or might be used by any other kind of train (other passenger trains or, particularly, freight trains).

As an example, Ottawa's O-train are actually ex-Deutsch Bahn Talent trains. In order to be used in Canada, the entire train line had to be shut down to any other type of traffic. Both ends are protected by derails.

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