Bombardier setting up second production line in Kingston in latest attempt to ramp up streetcar production

Bombardier is setting up a second production line at a plant in Kingston amid its continuing struggle to meet production deadlines for the TTC’s new fleet of streetcars.

The Quebec-based manufacturer has repeatedly missed delivery deadlines on the $1 billion order but has maintained that it remains on track to deliver the entire fleet of 204 streetcars by the original contract deadline of 2019.

The company was supposed to have delivered a total of 147 streetcars by the end of 2017 but only delivered 65, which was short of both the initial target and a revised target of 70.

A new delivery schedule provided to CP24 on Wednesday calls for the delivery of 65 vehicles in 2018 and an additional 77 in 2019. If Bombardier is successful in meeting the target for 2018 it would mean that they were able to deliver the same number of vehicles in one year as they did in the previous four combined.

“Bombardier understands how the new streetcars are highly appreciated and is doing everything possible to deliver as quickly as possible,” Bombardier spokesperson Eric Prud‘Homme told CP24 in a statement. “Overall, since launching our turnaround plan, we have doubled the rate of deliveries and we have seen in December 2017 our highest monthly shipment of streetcars. At the end of the year, we experienced supplier’s issues and we addressed them and continue to follow-up on them.”

Prud‘Homme said that Bombardier has “established dual sourcing on key components” and moved to set up the second production line in Kingston in order to deliver the entire fleet by 2019.

The schedule for 2018 calls for the number of streetcars being delivered to slowly increase throughout the year with 11 scheduled for delivery in the first quarter and 21 scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter. The Kingston plant is expected to begin producing streetcars sometime in the third quarter.

“Bombardier remains on track to deliver the entire fleet of 204 streetcars by the original contract deadline of 2019,” Prud‘Homme said.

News that Bombardier will establish a second production line to complement its line in Thunder Bay comes exactly one month after Acting TTC CEO Rick Leary told the Toronto Star that the 2019 delivery deadline was “in jeopardy.”

The TTC is currently pursuing a $50 million legal claim against Bombardier and has also said that it is actively looking into using other suppliers for a future order of up to 100 additional streetcars.

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