considering how many photos i've taken of montreal over the past number of years, i have surprisingly few of the metro. i'm down there riding the blue subway trains everyday but, because the system is entirely underground and the lighting is generally quite poor, taking photos can be a frustrating experience.
still, i'll share what i've got with a bit of exposition along the way.
montreal's metro opened in 1966, just in time for the 1967 world's fair. ambitious expansion projects in the 1970s and 80s left it with four lines spanning 64 kilometres and 65 stations. unfortunately, 1988 marked the last time a new metro station opened: the 1990s were a time of recession and stagnating public infrastructure. the system was virtually falling apart by the end of the decade.
luckily, increased maintenance has enabled the trains --- on one of the lines, we're still using the originals from 1966 -- to perform well. an ill-advised, 5.2-kilometre extension to the off-island suburb of laval will add another three stations to the network. the fare system will be overhauled by 2008 with smart cards. in 2011, montreal's oldest subway cars will finally be replaced.
so that's that. let's take a brief tour, shall we?
many of montreal's metro entrances were built as stand-alone kiosks, often with an integrated bus loop. (downtown and in a handful of other cases, they are integrated into larger buildings.) this annoys me to no end because these kiosks seem quite pointless --- storefront entrances or a simple hole in the ground would have worked better and been less disruptive to the streetscape.
you pass through the turnstile with one of these...
and then down you go.
while heading down one of the metro's interminable series of escalators, or one of its interminable corridors, you might pass a busker. my favourites include an old chinese guy who plays the accordion with gusto, a sitar-player and this guy, the triflutist.
bring your own chair if you want a seat while you wait for a train. frequencies range from 2 minutes at rush hour to 10 minutes in the late evening.
sooner or later, the train will come...
time to pack on.
sometimes the metro just makes you so depressed.
other times, not so much.
inevitably, you will reach your destination, alight and head for the exit.
before leaving you must push through one of these heavy butterfly doors. when two metro trains leave a station at the same time, it creates so much suction that opening a regular door requires 75 pounds of force.
merci d'avoir voyagé avec la STM.