The Globe and Mail reports that Metrolinx has entered into a deal with Alstom, who are already building the LRV fleet for Ottawa, to produce cars for at least some of the Metrolinx projects in the GTHA. In effect, Metrolinx is looking to cut its ties to Bombardier whose car deliveries are long overdue, although the actual mechanics of this will depend on contract negotiations and whether Bombardier actually does manage to produce cars in time for the Eglinton Crosstown line’s opening.
The Alstom cars will go to Eglinton, unless Bombardier comes through, in which case they will be repurposed for the Finch and Hurontario lines. Given the opening dates planned for those lines, a decision to extend the Alstom order would come well before opening day unless the current target dates for Finch and Hurontario were changed.
Metrolinx and Bombardier still must go through a dispute resolution process, but is it clear that Metrolinx feels that they are on solid enough ground to make this move.
Metrolinx press release (May 12, 2017):
METROLINX STATEMENT ON ALSTOM / BOMBARDIER
TORONTO: May 12, 2017 – Metrolinx is taking a major step forward to ensure that the Eglinton Crosstown LRT opens on time, and that our other LRT projects are on track.
We are making great progress on the Eglinton Crosstown and are well on our way to launching this outstanding new service as scheduled in 2021.
Now, we are pleased to be able to say we have certainty that there will be trains to run on this line. That is because we are entering into an agreement with Alstom as an alternative supplier of light rail vehicles. Alstom will build 17 vehicles for the Finch West LRT project and, if necessary, 44 for Eglinton Crosstown. If Alstom vehicles are not needed for Eglinton Crosstown, they will be reassigned to the Hurontario LRT project.
We know for sure that Alstom’s light rail vehicles work. They are currently producing quality vehicles on-time for Ottawa’s Confederation Line LRT project.
We are going through a dispute resolution process with Bombardier, but that could take 8-12 months, and we can’t wait that long to determine whether Bombardier will be able to deliver.
We are hopeful that Bombardier can get its program on track. However, the steps we are taking give us a safety net if it turns out Bombardier is unable to fulfil its contract.
Our end goal remains opening our LRT projects on time with high-quality vehicles that will provide excellent service to the people of this region. This new contract with Alstom provides flexibility to ensure that happens.
President & CEO, Metrolinx
Bombardier Statement (May 12, 2017)
From Marc-André Lefebvre, Head of Communications and Public Relations, Canada
Bombardier is ready, able, and willing to deliver these vehicles to the people of Toronto on time. As the Minister and Metrolinx are well aware, these vehicles can be ready ahead of schedule and well before a single track has even been laid on the Eglinton Crosstown.
In fact, the Metrolinx pilot vehicle is ready, undergoing qualification testing, and Bombardier is right now producing vehicles for the Region of Waterloo that are identical to those that will be used on the Eglinton Crosstown. All 14 of those vehicles will be delivered to Waterloo by the end of this year.
We believe what’s best for the people of Toronto and Ontario is that we work together to ensure taxpayers are not on the hook for another cancelled contract. We’ve met each and every major LRV delivery milestone in the last eight months and the proof will be in the performance of these vehicles in Waterloo and on Eglinton. We have addressed the issues raised in the past and we are confident this will be upheld in the dispute resolution process.
We are committed to working with Metrolinx to find a clear path forward; one that ensures the transit riding public has the most efficient, comfortable and reliable transit system in the world.
I will update this article as more information becomes available.
Minister of Transportation’s statement (May 12, 2017)
Youtube video of Alstom Citadis cars for Ottawa
Alstom product page for Citadis Spirit
Alstom press release (May 12, 2017)
Toronto Star article
Just think, this could have been Scarborough. While Toronto has utterly cocked up its transit planning, with substantial help from Queen’s Park, Ottawa has built and is about to open the first phase of their line.