“The Réseau express métropolitain (REM; English: Metropolitan Express Network; previously known as Réseau électrique métropolitain) is a rapid transit system under construction in the Greater Montreal area around Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The system will link several suburbs with Downtown Montreal via Central Station. It involves the conversion of the existing Deux-Montagnes commuter rail line to rapid transit standards. A station at Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport will serve as the terminus of one of the four branches. The 67 km (42 mi) light metro system is projected to cost CA$6.3 billion. It will be independent of—but connected to—the existing Montreal Metro, operated by STM. Trains on the network are expected to be fully automated and driverless, and it would become the third longest automated transportation system in the world, after the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit, Vancouver Skytrain and Dubai Metro.” (Wikipedia)
Why the R?
That one’s simple: R is the first letter of the REM’s full name, Réseau express métropolitain. The R also refers to the French words rapide, responsable, rassembleur, Rive-Sud and Rive-Nord (fast, responsible, unifying, South Shore and North Shore), among others—all of which are intrinsic to the REM identity and what sets it apart. Lastly, in French, the letter R is pronounced the same as the word air, evoking the new transit line’s light and aerial qualities, as well as the aerial sections of the route which will set it apart from the Montréal metro.
What does the line signify?
The notion of the line is integral to the REM identity. In the logo, the line is visibly integrated with the R, going above, below and through the letter. This movement illustrates the overhead and underground parts of the REM’s route.
Images (opinion after)
On its own the logo isn’t very exciting and the accompanying wordmark to the monogram isn’t very pretty to look at (with the smooshed accents and unfortunate leading where there are no descenders and ascenders between the first and second line but then all hell breaks loose with the “p” and the “é” and the “t” between the second and third lines) but when the monogram serves as a station identifier it works perfectly. It’s still not inspiring or amazing in any way but it will be clearly visible, easily recognizable, and effectively consistent, which is what (as a user) you want from a city-wide transportation service. Despite the functional praise, there is something weird about the line and how it crosses the “R” but, to be honest, I’m not sure what it is. Overall, it’s fine and perhaps the applications — when the system is live — will make it more interesting.
Thanks to David Roger for the tip.