In the past year, REM construction has taken over many well-known parts of the West Island. If you have travelled on the West Island stretch of highway 40, you are sure to have noticed the 2 bright orange launching gantries in place for the construction of the REM (Réseau express métropolitain) rail line. These gantries have been named Anne and Marie and are a first of their kind in Quebec.

The work of the launching gantries had to be paused due to cold temperatures not allowing the use of epoxy. As of June 8, the work has now resumed.

What are launching gantries?

The REM has explained that launching gantries are large beams that are installed between two columns to assist the rail’s construction. ” These super-powerful beams raise the prefabricated segments (made of concrete, weighing about 50 tons each) and slide them up against one another to form the deck on when the REM’s rail cars will run.” Each launching gantry is 105 metres long and can support up to 550 tons.

REM, Réseau express métropolitain
Image source: Réseau express métropolitain

There are currently two launching gantries operating in Montreal. They are expected to speed up the REM construction process by building 14.5km of rail lines, 366 spans and 4,102 voussoirs.

REM launching gantries Anne Marie
Image source: REM

According to the REM, it will take approximately “three years to build the entire 14.5-km section of elevated structure.”

The REM construction on the West Island will consist of:

  • 2 launching gantries: LG-1 Anne and LG-2 Marie
  • 4 stations
  • 14.5 km of elevated structure
  • 9.30 m wide (deck)
  • 366 spans
  • 4,102 voussoirs (prefabricated segments)
  • Commissioning in 2023

Watch launching gantries, Anne & Marie, in action here:

Source: Réseau express métropolitain

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