More a ride than a means of transport, ” said a report

News 11 December, 2017
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    Two quebec groups are promoting a monorail
    suspended high-speed line between Montreal and Québec: Coop MGV and TrensQuébec. But this kind of technology does not exist anywhere in the world, according to a report we have received a copy.

    Jean-Louis Fortin

    Monday, December 11, 2017 01:00

    Monday, December 11, 2017 01:00

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    A suspended monorail that would travel at 250 km/h at the center of the highway between Montreal and Quebec was unrealistic and not believable, according to an unusual study technique produced on the subject, including our Bureau of investigation has obtained a copy.

    Such a means of transportation will move so fast that he would be unable to keep safely the curves sometimes tight highway 20 or highway 40. And it may also be uncomfortable for the passengers.

    In fact, its characteristics resemble “those of a ride [to] those of a means of transport in common,” notes a report produced by the company Loctrans engineer Alain Audette, a specialist in transportation planning.

    The report has been produced on behalf of the aluminum Association of Canada.

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    It is up to the author of this report that the ministry of Transport has entrusted the mandate to assess the traffic studies for a light rail in the corridor of the Champlain bridge.

    It is also him who advised the MTQ concerning the tolls on the autoroutes 30 and 25. In 2012, the expert focused on the concept of a suspended monorail motor-wheel such that it is promoted by the organization TrensQuébec.

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    In both countries

    According to him, the monorails suspended only exist in two countries, namely, Japan and Germany.

    These networks have not more than 15 km long. And in both cases, says the engineer, the speed that these monorails can reach is only 50 to 65 km/h, which is much slower than the 250 km/h promised by the concept of quebec.

    “We emphasize that no system of transportation by monorail, existing is operated to the wide long-distance and/or high speed “, he says.

    “Not realistic “

    Based on complex calculations, the engineer also noted that at 250 km/h, a vehicle can’t perform a tight turn as safely at 100 or 120 km/h, the speed for which are designed the paths of the motorway.

    “The claim that the route of the monorail intercity high-speed could align with the motorway is not realistic. At most, some of the straight sections are very long between the two curves could be superimposed, ” reads the report.

    The acceleration promised by the monorail is likely to be very uncomfortable for the passengers, which would be subject to significant pressure.

    If, as estimated by TrensQuébec, the monorail goes from 0 to 250 km/h in 10 seconds “, this pressure (gravitational acceleration, in the jargon) would be seven times higher than in a conventional rail travel, for example.

    “One of the keys to the success of a mode of transit is the level of comfort experienced by passengers in a moving vehicle “, one can read in the report.

    Binding ” futuristic “

    Remember that at the end of November, the prime minister Philippe Couillard raised the idea of the monorail at the congress of the liberal Party of Quebec.

    He had said that, if his government retained the power in the fall of 2018, he would like to receive proposals for “a binding is modern, sustainable, futuristic” between the two largest cities of the province.

    A study of 3 to 5 M$ would be necessary

    It must first be a study which will cost between 3 and $ 5 million before you know if a monorail to high speed of $ 3 billion is realistic, according to one of the most ardent supporters of the project.

    The physicist Pierre Langlois, who was the first to reveal publicly the concept of such a monorail in 2008, is far from sharing the pessimistic view of the report produced for the aluminum Association of Canada.

    Certainly, ” there are three or four turning points on highway 20 that are too tight to go up to 250 km/h “, he acknowledges. But ” it would be overflowing from the highway to these few places there “, or “they slow down to 100 or 150 km/h in places,” suggests Pierre Langlois, joined by telephone.

    Consultant in sustainable mobility also recognizes that a suspended monorail to high speed, does not exist anywhere else in the world. But this is because the motor-wheels high-performance are only available “for the past 10 or 12 years,” according to him.

    He also believes that the project faces at the lobby of the great builders of the trains. “All the railway companies, what they want is to sell high-speed trains,” says the expert.

    These firms will be more warm to the idea once the feasibility study has been conducted, and that a ” bench trial of$ 250 Million “, along five kilometres, have been built in Quebec.

    Read in the report

    “The technology of the monorail is not new, and it is used with success in several urban environments. However, none of these applications does not go more than 65 km/h. “

    “We have carried out calculations of the basic results we suggest that some fundamental constraints are not properly taken into account by the concept of monorail high-speed. “

    “We believe that the technical viability of this concept is far from being demonstrated. “

    “The methodology of evaluation of costs (and, incidentally, of the reach of the beams of the guide) of the monorail system, used by the sponsor is simplistic and rudimentary, to such a point that we do not grant any credibility to the results. “

    Four technologies considered


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    • Means of transportation off the ground, which can be inserted between two-lane highway and avoid many of the expropriation ;
    • Attractive price 9 to $ 12 million per mile, $ 3 billion for Montreal-Quebec. Mr. Bourbonnais disputed those figures, because, according to the existing examples, the price would be around $ 25 million per km ;
    • Modular system that can adapt to the needs.


    • There is no example of a suspended monorail travelling more than 65 km/h in the world. The monorail high-speed Pierre Couture travelling at 250 km/h has never been tested ;
    • Referrals possible, but slower than with the train ;
    • Uncertainty on its reliability in case of strong wind.


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    • Means of transportation established, and standardized production ;
    • Speed around 350 km/h, but that may change ;
    • Price from 30 to $ 35 million per km ;
    • Ease of installation due to the low terrain between Québec city and Montréal ;
    • Possibility for the TGV routes rail already existing in the urban centres.


    • Need to purchase many lots to do to pass the rails ;
    • Obligation to construct overpasses at the intersections, as the level crossings are not possible when the train is at full speed.


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    • Great comfort, because the train does not touch the ground : it is magnetic levitation ;
    • Maximum speed of nearly 450 km/h ;
    • Acceleration from 0 to 350 km/h in 2 minutes.


    • Very high cost of nearly $ 300 million per km ;
    • Technology quite low : three open lines, China, South Korea and Japan.


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    • Train vacuum that can theoretically travel at over 1000 km/h. The trip between Montreal and Quebec city would be 21 minutes.


    • Technology still in the trial phase in the United States, and, therefore, not proved ;
    • Price unknown, but likely astronomical.