| FACT BOX|
Length: 4,25 km|
Travel time: 5m 30s
Rolling stock: MR-73, 9 cars (rush hour) or 6 cars (off-peak hours and summer)
Profile: West-east radial shuttle
Vieux-Longueuil (city of Longueuil)
(Green and orange lines)
This line is a shuttle between Longueuil and Montreal. It is one of only 7 fixed links between Montreal and the south shore. A huge number of bus lines from the Réseau de transport de Longueuil and other south-shore carriers end at the bus terminus at Longueuil–Université-de-Sherbrooke metro station, the fourth-busiest station of the network. The yellow line runs nine-car trains at rush hour to accommodate all the commuters. (Outside of rush hour, and in the summer, it runs six-car trains.)
In addition to the south shore, it also serves the Parc Jean-Drapeau, site of the Expo '67 fairground Man and His World, on îles Sainte-Hélène and Notre-Dame in the Saint Lawrence.
Due to the shortness of the line, it is the only one that still uses two operators per train, one in front and one at the rear. It proved more cost-effective to keep one driver waiting in the rear cockpit than to take the time for a new driver to board at each terminus.
This line includes the deepest point in the network: under rue Bonsecours, just before leaving Montreal Island, the line is 55 metres underground.
Uniquely, every station on this line has changed name since its opening: Berri-de Montigny to Berri-UQAM in 1988, Île-Sainte-Hélène to Jean-Drapeau in 2001, and Longueuil to Longueuil–Université-de-Sherbrooke in 2003.
A tunnel across the Saint Lawrence at this point, either for rail or road, is a project with a long history. An early metro plan called for the line under Saint-Denis to cross to the South Shore, with the tube serving Old Montreal going as far as Berri; but this plan was abandoned for fear of hampering downtown development.
The first plan for the modern system did not include this line. It did call for a Line 3, a surface line on the CN tracks under Mount Royal and out to Cartierville and Montréal-Nord. However, this was cast into doubt for several reasons: the difficulty of negotiations with the different municipalities and the necessity of steel-wheeled rolling stock different from the rubber-tired trains in the rest of the network among others.
The last nail in the coffin for Line 3, and the genesis of Line 4, was the decision to hold Expo '67 in Montreal on île Sainte-Hélène. The decision was made to resurrect the plan for the tunnel under the Saint Lawrence.
Initial network construction
The tunnel ran through bedrock several metres below the riverbed to the Saint Lawrence to the islands. (The islands themselves were artificially built, partially using dirt from the metro; île Sainte-Hélène from several smaller islands, île Notre-Dame from scratch.)
To build the tunnel under the channel between the islands and under the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the channels were dammed and the tunnels built in open cut. The work had to be done quickly to avoid ice damage during the winter.
A planned second intermediate station on île Notre-Dame would have experienced unsurmountable technical problems, so it was cancelled.
Line 4 entered service on 1 April 1967, but only for Expo employees; it was not opened to the public until 28 April 1967, just before Expo began. Huge numbers of people poured through Île-Sainte-Hélène metro (today Jean-Drapeau) to visit the exposition; the station was built specially to accommodate huge swarms of visitors at once.
This line has never been extended.
Plans to extend this line into Longueuil are of long standing. The most recent, to bring it as far as cégep Édouard-Montpetit or to boul. Roland-Therrien, has not come to anything despite being classed as a "priority initiative" by the MTQ.
Neither has another idea to extend the Montreal end of the line to McGill metro to ease congestion on the corresponding section of the green line, nor the idea of building an infill station on this line in the Old Port.