Press-Republican

January 8, 2014

Bombardier receives approval for 365 rail cars

DAN HEATH
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — Bombardier Transportation has received an order, valued at $639 million, from Bay Area Rapid Transit for an additional 365 rail cars.

The order is an option on a 2012 contract for 410 rail cars, valued at $896 million. The total contract for the rail cars, to be built in the City of Plattsburgh, is valued at $1.5 billion.

City of Plattsburgh Mayor James Calnon welcomed what he termed terrific news for the region's mass-transportation manufacturing sector.

"Their (Bombardier's) recent expansion is paying dividends already," he said.

TESTS IN 2015

The contract calls for 10 pilot cars to be delivered in spring 2015 for testing on the Bay Area Rapid Transit system.

Successful completion of the tests would be followed by delivery of the remaining 765 rail cars between early 2017 and  2021.

The company also has contracts for 714 rail cars for the Chicago Transit Authority and 300 for New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority.

LOOKING AHEAD

Calnon said the difficulties that companies like Bombardier face with the ebb and flow of contracts get smoothed out when they have so many contracts and can look further into the future.

"We're glad their future is assured," he said.

The rail cars are for Bay Area Rapid Transit's "Fleet of the Future" initiative. BART General Manager Grace Crunican said the authority is pleased to partner with Bombardier to bring a new and improved fleet to the area.

"We look forward to the successful delivery of 775 innovative, reliable, safe and comfortable rail cars," she said in a press release.

NEW DESIGN

Bombardier Transportation Americas Region President Raymond Bachant said the new order is indicative of Bay Area Rapid Transit’s satisfaction with their partnership and progress in the design of a new generation of metro cars. 

"The cars will incorporate state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly technologies and include input from Bay Area citizens who had the opportunity this summer to tour a mockup of the car and learn about proposed improvements to the interior,” he said.

Those include a new interior design to maximize seating and openness, prioritized seating for seniors and people with disabilities and bicycle racks in every rail car.

Other new features include more comfortable seats; interior and exterior digital displays showing passenger information; an improved public-address system; more doors, to make boarding faster and easier, energy-saving lighting; energy-efficient propulsion and regenerative braking.

GOOD TIMING

In operation since 1995, the Plattsburgh facility is Bombardier’s center for rolling-stock production in the United States. It has produced more than 3,300 passenger rail cars and locomotives now in service across the United States.

North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said the good news for the region's transportation equipment companies just keeps coming.

"Exercising this option will keep employment and production at Bombardier on track and is especially welcome as they near completion of the major expansion of their Plattsburgh plant," he said by email.

"Our thanks to Bombardier and its employees for continuing the quality work which merits these additional orders and our Washington partners who always assist when needed, including Congressman (Bill) Owens and Senators (Charles) Schumer and (Kirsten) Gillibrand. The multi-year federal transportation bill they helped obtain in 2012 was essential to the creation of contract opportunities across the country for Bombardier, Nova and Prevost."

Email Dan Heath: dheath@pressrepublican.com