Urban transit began in Montreal in 1861 when a line of horse-drawn cars started to operate on Craig (now St-Antoine) and Notre-Dame streets.
Eventually, as the then Canadian metropolis grew, a comprehensive network of streetcar lines provided service almost everywhere.
Then a year later, the Comptoir Financier Franco-Canadien and the Montreal Tunnel Company proposed tunnels under the city centre and the Saint-Lawrence River to link the emerging South Shore neighbourhoods but faced the opposition of railway companies.
The reluctance of elected city officials to advance funds foiled this first attempt.
The Great Depression, indebting Montreal again and atrophying its streetcars attendance, overcame this new attempt and the next devised by Mayor Camillien Houde in 1939 as a way to provide work for the jobless masses.
World War II and the war effort in Montreal resurrected trams crowding.
On June 11, 1963 the construction costs for tunnels being lower than expected, Line 2 was extended by two stations at each end and the new terminus became the Henri-Bourassa and Bonaventure stations.
The project, which employed more than 5,000 workers at its height, and cost the lives of 12 of them, ended on October 14, 1966.
Having to make a choice, the city decided that a number 4 line linking Montreal to the South Shore suburbs following a plan similar to those of the early century was more necessary.In 1944, the MTC proposed a two-line network, one line running underneath Saint Catherine Street, the other under Saint Denis and Notre-Dame and Saint Jacques Streets.