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An old remnant of public transit is on its way to make a significant comeback, in different parts of Québec.

It was in the first half of the 19th century that the tramway came about. In New York City, in 1832, to be precise.

In those days, public transportation meant getting pulled by animals (mostly horses), before it all gradually became electrical.

Many Québec cities plan on resuscitating this means of transportation, but with a much more modern style and twist.

It will be, in a way, somewhat of a trip back to memory lane, for cities such as Montréal, Québec City, and Longueuil.




Many cities around the world have tramway services of various shapes, styles, and colors. They are very prized by tourists, particularly.

The ‘cable car’ of San Francisco, in the U.S., ‘Tram 28’ in Lisbonne, Portugal, and ‘Tramway du Mont-Blanc’, in France, are only some examples of public transportation that tickle the curiosity of tourists in those countries.


Cable Car (San Francisco)

For the residents of those cities, the efficiency of their public- transit network (some of which that have existed since the 19th century) is actually paramount to the international notoriety of rail locomotion.

That very service, in yesteryears, was available to the citizens of many cities in Québec.



After modest debuts, in 1861, Montréal’s tramway network boomed into 510 kilometers of railways, in 1933, which even reached suburban cities, such as (now the borough of) Montréal-Nord.

But the modernization of means of transportation ultimately led to the extinction of the Montréal tramway, whose last ride turned out to be on August 30, 1959, down Boulevard Rosemont…

In Québec, horse-pulled tramways had started in 1865. Competition then was fierce between those newcomers and the traditional and famous calèches (horse-drawn carts). While a calèche ride would cost one between 25 and 50 cents, tram fare was only one nickel (five cents)!

The inception and rapid growth of buses would then coincide with the tramway’s last gasp. Its swansong ride would take place in the Saint-Sauveur area, in 1948.

In 1910, tramway service had been implemented in Longueuil. Service was covering all the way to Montréal, through Victoria Bridge, and some 75 kilometers towards Granby.

The inauguration of Jacques-Cartier Bridge will spell the end for this means of transportation in Longueuil, in 1931. Tramway service would still however remain in the neighboring municipalities of Saint-Lambert and Greenfield Park, until 1956.



If tramway transportation ended up dying a slow death, due to the growth of the motor-vehicle industry, it is the increasingly-growing popularity of public transportation that is making it trendy again, in this beginning of 21st century, in many projects within the province.

Protection of the environment sure is no stranger to that decision by the municipal elect.

Not only has the coronavirus pandemic not managed to slow down those construction projects, the decision-makers even believe the wheels of the projects should be spinning that much faster, in order to give a much-needed boost to the economy, which has been hit so hard…

Last May 1st, the “Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain” (ARTM) presented the provincial government with a 9.2-billion-dollar investment plan for public transportation.

Two major tramway projects are then among the ARTM recommendations.


In its initial phase of construction, the first one would cover the East-end of Montréal, via Notre-Dame Street, all the way to the city of Repentigny.

It is by Phase III that a tramway system linking Longueuil to La Prairie would get built, mainly through (the ever-so busy) Boulevard Taschereau.

That project is estimated at 2.5 billion dollars. The tramway would be in service for the public as of 2025.



The idea of bringing the tramway back into our public-transit landscape is genuinely coherent with the world movement for protection of the environment.

In Québec, a lot of catching up needs to be done in that regard.

We are lightyears behind a city like Hong-Kong, for example, where a wide array of low-cost and highly-reliable means of transportation are available to the public. That is why the necessity to possess a motor vehicle, in that independent state, is strongly being called into question.

The will to change things and the power to invest now being alive and well, in Québec, provide for exciting perspectives, as far as those tramway projects go. Solid framework, however, can’t be done without…

Socanin has all the required expertise to oversee such projects, from conception to execution, all the way to their commissioning!

It is one thing to possess the financial resources and will to succeed for projects of that magnitude. But it is another to ensure that proper planning will allow for budgets and deadlines to be respected and met.

To learn more about our services or to discuss with Mr. Pieter ‘s Heeren about your project, contact us!