LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Could tramway pause be beneficial?

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Could tramway pause be beneficial?

Dear Editor: 

I would hope that the mandate given to the Caisse de dépôt et placement [regarding the tramway project] will take a close look at decisions taken at the beginning of the project and respond to the issues raised by citizens who have not received a response from the project office.

At the start, many decisions were made in a hurry without knowing the costs and consequences. For example, the tunnel was chosen at the beginning of 2018, while a firm specializing in tunnels was only hired in September 2019. This led to a change in the route and a substantial increase in the expected costs. The underground layout represents a “nightmare” for a contractor that needs to dig – there are three right-angle turns close together, which implies dynamiting. Daniel Genest, the director of the project office, has indicated that it represents one of the most costly aspects of the project.

The choice of the tunnel and of a rail-based tramway that cannot climb the Côte D’Abraham because the slope is slightly more pronounced than the cars can handle can be the object of many scenarios:

  • The choice of an articulated trolley on rubber tires that could reach the top of the Côte would eliminate the need for a tunnel (one could possibly envisage outfitting the vehicles with batteries, in order not to be dependent on the overhead wires –  and thus being able to cross the Quebec Bridge to reach Lévis).
  • Maintaining a rail-based tramway but using at-ground and above-ground paths. It would be possible to explore an alignment that would be slightly longer, which would bring the slope down to the maximum the railcars can reach.
  • The choice of a stronger motor and increased traction in order to allow the railcars to climb Côte D’Abraham, as they did in the last century.  


Paul Mackey

Quebec City 

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Could tramway pause be beneficial? was last modified: November 21st, 2023 by QCT Editor

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