The dispute between Bombardier and provincial transit agency Metrolinx took another turn Friday, as the province announced a deal to buy 61 light rail vehicles from a French manufacturer if Bombardier is unable to deliver on its commitments.

The move comes following last month’s ruling that Metrolinx is unable to cancel its $770-million contract with Bombardier. The vehicles are to be used to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line in Toronto.

“Over the past many months, Metrolinx has had extremely serious concerns regarding Bombardier’s ability to deliver quality vehicles according to the contract schedule,” Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca told reporters Friday.

Under the terms of the deal, French firm Alstom will provide Ontario with 61 vehicles for $528 million, if a court-ordered dispute resolution process between Bombardier and the province ends with the province not receiving any vehicles from Bombardier.

In a statement, Bombardier said that it is “ready, able and willing” to deliver the vehicles on-time, pointing to its current production of identical vehicles for Waterloo Region’s Ion light rail transit system.

“All 14 of those vehicles will be delivered to Waterloo by the end of the year,” the company said.

Delays with Bombardier have pushed the projected start of Ion service back from late 2017 to early 2018.

The first vehicle, originally expected to be in the region last August, arrived in February.

Regional councillor Tom Galloway toured the Bombardier production facility in Kingston a few weeks ago. At that point, he said, the second train was “all put together and going to testing,” while work was underway on the third, fourth and fifth vehicles.

The second vehicle is expected to arrive in Waterloo Region by late June, with the remaining 12 showing up one at a time, every two weeks or so.

Galloway said that Del Duca’s announcement “really doesn’t have any significance” for Waterloo Region, because switching manufacturers at this point would delay the system’s launch by several years, and require replacement of much of the already-installed infrastructure.

With files from The Canadian Press