Bombardier misses deadline to finish LRT test vehicle
Ryan Flanagan, CTV Kitchener
Published Thursday, September 1, 2016 5:17PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 1, 2016 6:27PM EDT
Although the first Bombardier light rail vehicle for Metrolinx – the agency behind a bulk purchase that includes the 14 vehicles used in Waterloo Region’s Ion system – has missed its deadline for production, the company says it will still be able to deliver the rest of the order on-schedule.
“There will be no delays,” Bombardier spokesperson Marc-Andre Lefebvre said in an interview.
“The first car will be delivered to Waterloo in December of this year.”
Metrolinx has ordered a total of 118 light rail vehicles from Bombardier. Most of them will be used on two LRT lines the agency is building in Toronto.
Those lines won’t be up and running for a few years yet, which means the 14 vehicles for Waterloo Region will be some of the first to roll off the products lines at Bombardier.
But the very first vehicle is a test car, which was supposed to be complete before the end of August.
While that deadline has come and gone without the vehicle being delivered to Metrolinx, Lefebvre said Thursday that the vehicle was “days away” from being ready for inspection.
Lefebvre said delays with the test vehicle aren’t causing further harm to the vehicles that will actually be used for the Ion system.
Delivery of the first of those vehicles was originally scheduled for August as well, but has since been pushed back twice.
The timeline now calls for the first vehicle to arrive in Waterloo Region this December, with all 14 being ready by the end of 2017.
“All of these cars will be delivered on time,” Lefebvre said Thursday.
Regional officials have already moved the anticipated start date for the Ion system from late 2017 to early 2018, blaming the delays at Bombardier.
Coun. Tom Galloway, who chairs the regional planning and works committee, says news of the test car delay is concerning – but what he’s really watching for is the deadline to get the first vehicle into the region’s hands.
“We really just want to see our first vehicle by the end of the year,” he said in an interview.
Asked if he was confident that Bombardier would stick to the newest schedule, Galloway replied that “confident isn’t a word that we can use in the same sentence as Bombardier.”
The first two of Waterloo Region’s 14 vehicles are in the process of being assembled in Thunder Bay.
Bombardier recently announced that the rest of the order would be put together at a facility in Kingston instead.
Galloway said the Thunder Bay plant had been experiencing issues around labour relations and quality control, and moving production to Kingston could bring improvements.
“We have some high hope that that’s going to sort out some of their issues – but again, we just want to see the vehicles,” he said.
With reporting by Abigail Bimman