Bombardier Inc. Doesn’t Give a Damn

This is a major problem for Metro Vancouver, Bombardier Inc. doesn’t give a damn about its rail products and this should make Metro Vancouver mayors and TransLink very worried.

Why?

Bombardier is the sole suppliers of the Innovia metro car used on the Expo and Millennium/Evergreen lines and if Bombardier were to stop production, new cars must be sourced elsewhere, driving up the cost of an already expensive vehicle. As the Innovia LIM powered metro car is a proprietary product, any new car would have to be designed, tested and safety cased before entering in revenue operation and this is very expensive.

This is the genius of a proprietary railway, you are stuck with only one supplier.

Bombardier just does not care about its rail product, late and defective deliveries to Toronto is a good indication that Bombardier Inc. just does not give a damn about its customer’s, as long as federal money keeps pouring into the company. For TransLink, Bombardier Inc. could cease Innovia production with little notice, leaving TransLink without a supplier and that would prove extremely costly for the BC taxpayer.

Most new TTC streetcars to be recalled to fix welding defect, Bombardier says

By Ben SpurrTransportation Reporter
Tues., July 3, 2018

In a stunning setback for the TTC’s problem-plagued streetcar order, Bombardier now says most of the vehicles it has already delivered to the transit agency will have to be taken out of service and shipped to Quebec to correct a serious welding defect.

The Star has learned that after a lengthy investigation into long-standing welding problems with the vehicles, Bombardier has concluded the first 67 of the 89 cars it has supplied need to be fixed, or they could fail prematurely.

A TTC streetcar along Queens Quay. The Star has learned that after a long investigation, Bombardier has decided the first 67 streetcars it shipped to the city need to be fixed.
A TTC streetcar along Queens Quay. The Star has learned that after a long investigation, Bombardier has decided the first 67 streetcars it shipped to the city need to be fixed.  (Randy Risling / Toronto Star)

The cars will be sent to Bombardier’s plant in La Pocatière, Que., and according to the company will each take 19 weeks to fix. The repairs to all 67 cars are expected to take until at least 2022 to complete.

The recall is only the latest problem to affect the TTC’s repeatedly delayed vehicle purchase, and appears to undermine the claim made by both the transit agency and the rail manufacturer that while the cars have been delivered late, they are extremely reliable.Opinion | Christopher Hume: 10 disappointing things we now know about the TTC’s new streetcars

A spokesperson for the company stressed the welding problem, which originated at Bombardier’s plant in Sahagun, Mexico, poses no safety risk to the public. Eric Prud’Homme described the work as “preventative maintenance” and said Bombardier made the decision to take the vehicles out of service for repairs because without the work they may not last their contractual 30-year service life.

Prud’Homme said such problems are “not uncommon in the industry.”

“The question you have to ask is how is it handled. The way Bombardier is handling it is fair, is transparent, and of course we’re assuming responsibility,” he said.

Prud’Homme couldn’t say how much the repairs will cost, but Bombardier has agreed to pick up the bill.

In an emailed statement Tuesday, Mayor John Tory expressed “extreme frustration” with the streetcar deal, which he noted “was signed by a previous city council back in 2009,” and criticized “Bombardier’s slow progress in actually delivering the vehicles bought and paid for by Toronto taxpayers.”

Tory added that he had asked acting TTC CEO Rick Leary to ensure Bombardier would compensate the transit agency if the repairs inconvenience transit riders.

Bombardier has repeatedly failed to meet delivery targets on the $1-billion order for 204 low-floor, accessible streetcars. By the end of 2017 it was supposed to have delivered nearly 150 of the vehicles, but managed only 59.

Although the company says it has been meeting a revised schedule in the first half of this year, the TTC says the delivery delays have caused a shortage that has forced it to keep older streetcars in service past their intended lifespan, and replace some of its streetcar service with buses.

TTC spokesperson Brad Ross called the latest problem “incredibly disappointing.”

“We need these cars in service,” he said.

Ross vowed the agency “will ensure that there is little to any impact on our customers” by sending only a few cars for repairs at a time. He said the first car to be taken out of service would likely be sent to La Pocatière sometime in the fall.

According to Bombardier, the company first discovered the welding problem in 2015, but it took an 18-month investigation to discover the extent and the cause.

Company representatives said the problem is a “lack of fusion” in some of the welds on the car’s skeleton, particularly around bogie structures and the articulated portals where different sections of the articulated vehicle are joined. The company says it brought the issue “under control” last June and it won’t be repeated in future deliveries.

Ross said the TTC became aware last October the repairs would be required, but decided to accept the vehicles anyway on the assurance that Bombardier would perform the necessary maintenance.

“It was more important to us to have those cars available for service for our customers” than refuse cars with defects, Ross said.

He said the transit agency hadn’t made the issue public before now because it was working with Bombardier on a repair plan and “we needed to have as many details as possible before advising the public.”

Both the TTC and Bombardier said the problem shouldn’t affect the company’s ability to deliver the entire fleet of 204 cars by the end of 2019, as originally scheduled. In order to do so, the company will have to ramp up production to far exceed the rate it has accomplished to date. The company is opening a second production facility in Kingston, Ont. later this year to complement the factory in Thunder Bay, where the cars are currently assembled.

Even though the weld repairs will continue for years past the delivery deadline, the TTC believes there will be “no contractual impacts” to Bombardier as long as the company supplies the full fleet by the end of next year.

 

Comments

One Response to “Bombardier Inc. Doesn’t Give a Damn”
  1. Haveacow says:

    This is why Metrolinx in Ontario is now ordering Alstom Citadis Spirit Light Rail Vehicles for the majority of it’s new LRT lines cutting Bombardier order by more than half! Due to the choice of LRT as an operating technology, other companies other than Bombardier are able to be easily sourced for vehicles.

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