Exo, a public transit network in Montréal, is set to take delivery of the first two units from a total order of 44 new train cars from Chinese state-owned rolling stock manufacturer CRRC.

The new train cars, which can accommodate up to 147 seated passengers, are expected to modernise the rolling stock on Exo network while enhancing the customer experience.

CRRC is due to deliver the new multilevel cars in the coming days to the Pointe-Saint-Charles maintenance centre. They will then undergo minor finishing work and assessment.

At the maintenance centre, the new cars will be subject to complete mechanical safety checks and static tests. Dynamic tests on the network and braking tests are also planned for the new units.

Exo maintenance and rolling stock project management director Michael Émond said: “Throughout the project, we’ve worked very closely with the supplier to design the cars. Our maintenance teams are in place to complete the necessary tests and assessment to put the cars into service.

“The result is very high-quality cars that are specifically designed to meet our needs, giving our customers an exceptional, state-of-the-art travel experience.”

Prior to its commissioning, the new train cars will undergo series of tests, which are scheduled in the coming months.

Exo expects the initial delivery to allow it to set commissioning schedule for the new cars. This would mark the last step in the project, which is worth nearly $196m in total.

These train cars are planned to be delivered during this year and Exo plans to commission them on the network in early 2023.’

The delivery forms part of the contract awarded in 2017. However, the Covid-19 pandemic, the cars’ technical adjustments and increased local content has resulted in delay of the initial delivery originally planned in June 2019 until now.

Exo general director Sylvain Yelle said: “This first delivery gives us the momentum to begin the final steps that will allow us to put the new cars in operation in early 2023.

“Exo trains are an indisputable part of the sustainable mobility equation, which is why we continue to invest in modernising them to build a reliable and efficient transit system.”

The project is backed by funding from the Québec Government, through the Programme d’aide gouvernementale au transport collectif des personnes (PAGTCP).

Exo said that the last ten cars are currently undergoing final adjustments. These cars, which will be accessible to passengers with reduced mobility, are scheduled to be commissioned in 2024.