(adds deal value from Alstom)
By Allison Lampert
MONTREAL May 12 Ontario transit agency
Metrolinx said on Friday it is entering into an agreement to buy
61 light rail vehicles from French train maker Alstom,
largely as a possible alternative to a contested deal with the
company's Canadian rival Bombardier Inc.
Metrolinx, which is in a dispute with Bombardier over
delivery delays on an existing contract, said in a statement
that the steps taken with Alstom give the agency a "safety net
if it turns out Bombardier is unable" to fulfill its contract.
Alstom said in a statement the contract is worth over 355
million euros ($387.55 million) and includes an option for
Metrolinx, which manages public transportation in the
metropolitan Toronto area, said 44 of the 61 Alstom cars would
serve as alternatives on the agency's Eglinton Crosstown line,
in the case of future delays or execution problems by
Bombardier. If Bombardier's order is completed on time, the 44
Alstom cars would be reassigned to a different line.
The remaining 17 vehicles made by Alstom would be used on a
separate light rail project.
Metrolinx, which tried to cancel a C$770 million ($561.35
million) light rail contract with Bombardier because of delays
and execution concerns, was ordered by an Ontario court judge in
April to continue dispute resolution talks with the Quebec-based
maker of trains and planes.
"We are going through a dispute resolution process with
Bombardier, but that could take eight to 12 months, and we can't
wait that long to determine whether Bombardier will be able to
deliver," the agency said.
Bombardier said in a statement that it is "ready, able, and
willing to deliver these vehicles to the people of Toronto on
When asked for comment on the order, Canadian Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau told reporters just north of Toronto on Friday
that his government tends "to respect the opportunity and the
responsibility of municipalities and provinces to make decisions
($1 = 1.3717 Canadian dollars)
($1 = 0.9160 euros)
(Reporting By Allison Lampert in Montreal; Additional reporting
by Leah Schnurr in Ottawa; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)