'No refunds are forecast' RTM says after two days of commuter train delays

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The RTM network has been plagued with technical problems for more than a week. John Mahoney / Montreal Gazette

Problems with switches and mechanical glitches caused delays on Montreal’s suburban train lines again Tuesday, but commuters shouldn’t expect any refunds or discounts on their train passes, as has been done in the past.

“For the moment, no refunds are forecast,” said Élaine Aresenault, spokesperson for the Réseau de transport métropolitain. The agency that oversees commuter rail service for the Montreal metropolitan region will be putting more resources instead into extra crews and increased maintenance on trains and train lines.

For the second time in as many days, a track switching problem at the Lucien L’Allier station led to more problems for commuter train passengers on Tuesday morning. Heated switches that are the property of CP malfunctioned near the station, stranding trains before they could arrive.

The Réseau de transport métropolitain tweeted at 8:30 a.m. that trains on the Vaudreuil, St-Jérôme and Candiac lines were ending their routes at the Vendome métro, where commuters were told their train tickets would allow access to the subway. Those who chose to stay on the trains saw delays of roughly 20 minutes, Aresenault said.

The detour comes a day after track switching problems at the same station created delays on the RTM network, which has been plagued with technical problems for more than a week. This winter has been worse than most because of a series of extreme temperature swings that have brought rapid thaws and quick freezes that interfered with equipment, including broken electrical lines and frozen valves that impede braking systems, Arsenault said.

In 2010, commuters filed a class-action lawsuit against the regional train authority over repeated delays, overcrowding and service disruptions that plagued the Deux-Montagnes and Dorion-Rigaud lines in January and February 2009. Riders spoke about doors frozen shut, repeated problems with switches, broken down locomotives and run-down cars.

The Agence métropolitaine de transport settled with users in October 2014, a month before the case was scheduled to be heard in court. The settlement was reported to be worth between $27 and $49 per user, depending on the number of claimants. The AMT had already offered users a discount on monthly passes, but Pincourt resident Yves Boyer, who launched the lawsuit, argued only 63 per cent of affected users were able to apply for it because it was offered for a limited time and only at a few stations.

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