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.


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