Bombardier wins one, but loses a bigger one
MONTREAL Bombardier Inc. got a split decision in its accelerated push for rail contracts, scoring a victory in New Jersey and a home-turf loss the company called “astonishing.”
The Montreal-based manufacturer, with a factory in La Pocatière, won a $894-million deal Wednesday to supply rail cars for New Jersey Transit, a project with the potential to balloon to $4.8 billion based on options for additional equipment.
That took some of the sting out of losing a $989-million pact to provide locomotives and passenger cars to Via Rail, which awarded the business to Siemens AG.
Bombardier is trying to overcome recent stumbles on highprofile rail projects as chief executive Alain Bellemare bets its future on train equipment and private jets, while stepping back from commercial aircraft.
Bombardier has been plagued by missed deadlines replacing Toronto’s old streetcars and was blocked last year from bidding on a New York subway-car contract because of past delays.
The New Jersey Transit deal must still be finalized, it said.
Via Rail said on-time delivery was a key reason for its decision to pick Siemens for the $989-million supply contract and a 15-year maintenance pact valued at $356 million. The trains will be made at a Siemens plant in Sacramento, Calif.
The new train sets “will substantially improve the customer experience for our millions of passengers currently and those to come, offering more comfort, bike storage” and greater accessibility, VIA CEO Yves Desjardins- Siciliano told reporters Wednesday.
Deliveries for testing will begin in 2021, with passenger service scheduled to begin in 2022, Via Rail and Siemens said.
Via Rail’s passenger traffic has increased by more than 30 per cent since 2014, the CEO said.
Bombardier said it was “extremely disappointed”. “It is astonishing that a call for tenders for trains which will pass through Canada’s national capital and Quebec’s provincial capital has not been subject to measures which would ensure maximum local benefits and the use of Canadian high technology, in accordance with Canada’s international obligations,” it said in a statement.
It said Via Rail twice refused to consider a revised proposal.