Montreal – 1

In the subways of Montreal there are many marvelous and horrible sounds. The trains have rubber wheels, and from my memory of the Toronto subways which have metal wheels, these are much quieter. They do squeak and squeal now and then, but there is not the banshee scream of the Torontonian subway. The majority of the train noise is from the engine and the wind as the trains pass and change the pressure in the stations. When the trains are gone there are almost always rumblings from above or below as the other trains or cars on the street are making the ground vibrate. Loose panels in the light fixtures, walls and ceilings clatter constantly with a similar effect as those I heard on the ferry to Newfoundland.

(All dB readings are with the ‘A weighting’ which closely mirrors the frequency response of the human ear)
Notes: The empty subway station seems very quiet (average of 60.0 – 62.9 dB) with only peoples’ echoing voices and footsteps and faint low rumbles. It is almost cathedral-like. When the intercom pipes up with a message about a delayed train (not included in the track), the sound level rises to 71.5. The announcement is preceded by a pleasant bell tone of a descending major 3rd. As a train approaches and slows, the maximum decibel (dB) level rises to 88.6. As it speeds up and whoooshshshes out of the station, the maximum dB is 93.4. The train itself I estimate only gives about 90, but the wind noise boosts the overall level. I used a windscreen and the force of the wind could very likely have been strong enough to still cause wind noise.

The track below is atrain entering and exiting the station, while another does the same almost simultaneously from the opposite direction. I am on the orange line that runs from Côte-Vertu to Montmorency, and I’m in the Berri-UQAM Station. The orange line trains have a sound signal that plays just as the train begins to depart; it is an ascending perfect fifth then perfect fourth (scale degree 1-5-1).

In the track below I wait on the platform as a train approaches. I enter the train and ride to the next stop which is Sherbrooke Station, and take off from there again. On the train itself while waiting to depart, the sound level is approx. 71 dB. As the train picks up speed, the level climbs steadily to 81, and peaks at 84.9 when we pass another train at speed.

The photo is of me beneath some rather suspect concrete in the subway.