Montreal’s metro system, “STM”, is Canada’s busiest underground transportation system. In 2006, the Canadian provincial government of Quebec decided, as a measure to reduce the number of private cars on the roads, to extend local public transport facilities by 16%. Montreal undertook this project in the metropolitan area, which soon led to a 22% increase in the use of local public transportation.
To transport the additional passengers quickly and comfortably, modern trains were ordered from a consortium made up of the two leading train manufacturers, Bombardier and Alstom. In total, an order was placed for approximately 468 MPM-10 trains, each consisting of nine coupled carriages.
These trains run on quiet, low-vibration rubber tires rather than on steel wheels. Since safety is exceptionally important where railways are concerned, the bogies (wheel sets) have to be serviced and replaced at regular intervals. To accomplish this, a system capable of lifting the entire train with all nine carriages in sync (+/- 3mm) would be required. This system would be installed at the Youville depot, which is where trains used for the STM system are serviced.
Choosing a lifting system
As far back as 2008, a team of external consultants began researching and examining lifting equipment to determine what would be most suitable for this massive undertaking. The team visited reference installations of the world’s leading lifting system manufacturers to find the best option. During a trip to Europe, Pfaff-Silberblau invited this team to Austria, where they were particularly impressed by the underfloor lifting system used by the Wiener Linen (Vienna Lines). This lifting system had been supplied a few years prior by Pfaff-silberblau. Some of the most important parameters and features of this lifting system, which up to that point was the longest of its kind, were later incorporated into the specifications for the system required at the STM Youville depot in Montreal.
It took until 2011 for the project team to put out an official bid for an underfloor lifting system and two turntables. Many of the original competing companies had to drop out, either on account of technical and financial deficiencies or due to the lack of references for similar systems. For these reasons, Pfaff-silberblau Rail Technology in Kissing was awarded the contract later that year.
Designing the lifting system
After winning the bid, Pfaff-silberblau went through a variety of steps before their system could be put into place. This included: technical and commercial consultations, the design and manufacturing of the system, a factory acceptance test by STM and construction of a prototype.
Project at a Glance
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The system had to be designed in accordance with the European standard for vehicle lifting platforms EN1493, while at the same time observing North-American welding and electrical standards. The STM planning team also used key data from Pfaff’s lifting system used by the Wiener Linen to develop specifications for the Youville depot.
To build the system, Pfaff had to work closely with Canadian suppliers. This entire process proved to be challenging given the multi-lingual global project team. Pfaff-silberblau was able to complete the project to the customer’s detailed specifications and within the predefined time schedule and plan.
Installing the system
Once constructional pre-conditions had been met at the Youville depot and the foundations were built, the installation commenced in late 2013. At this time, Pfaff shipped the lifting system to the customer, which included 18 containers measuring 40 feet long with a combined weight of 280 tons.
The lifting system was installed under the strict scrutiny of the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Throughout the entire duration of the installation, there was neither an accident nor a negative report issued by health and safety officials. The delivery of the new trains began in May 2014.