There are more delays along the much-travelled Vaudreuil-Hudson commuter train line in 2014 than there were at this time last year — in large part, because the freight trains from Canadian Pacific that they share the tracks with are often in the way.
A report Tuesday suggests there were 67 separate delays reported so far this year along the Vaudreuil-Hudson line, compared with 56 during the same period last year.
The two other lines which share CP's tracks — the Candiac and St-Jerome lines — are also experiencing delays.
A spokesperson for the AMT, Montreal's commuter train authority, says the agency has a deal with CP which gives its commuter trains priority during rush hours — but that it's not always respected.
Meanwhile, Clifford Lincoln, the former provincial and federal cabinet minister who's spent the last several years pushing for a new Train de l'Ouest on the West Island, says the problem is there aren't enough tracks to accomodate the longer freight trains and commuter trains.
He sees the Train de l'Ouest, which would run on separate tracks, as a solution. For now, freight trains are forced to share the tracks with the commuter trains for the entirety of its run through the West Island.
"This is really what our project is," Lincoln says of the Train de l'Ouest. "All we are waiting for now is the go-ahead from Quebec City."
Another line, the Mont St. Hilaire line, is operated by Canadian National, and reports far fewer delays caused by freight trains sharing its tracks.