Bombardier adds second production line in Kingston to meet streetcar delivery deadline

Bombardier has confirmed it has added a second production line in Kingston in order to deliver new streetcars to the Toronto Transit Commission "as quickly as possible."

If production stays on track, the company will meet 2019 target of 204 vehicles

Despite repeated setbacks, Bombardier has promised to deliver all 204 of the new streetcars to the TTC by end of 2019. (Doug Ives/Canadian Press)

Bombardier has confirmed it has added a second production line in Kingston in order to deliver new streetcars to the Toronto Transit Commission "as quickly as possible."

The Montreal-based manufacturer told CBC Toronto it plans to deliver 65 vehicles by the end of 2018 and 77 more in 2019. If those projections prove accurate, the company will be able to hit the 2019 deadline for 204 streetcars.

"No revision, no excuses, this year we deliver for the people of Toronto," spokesperson Eric Prud'Homme said in a statement.

"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," Prud'Homme said, referring to a "Get Well" plan implemented in April 2016 after deadlines were repeatedly missed.

Company plagued by delays

Bombardier has struggled to satisfy the conditions of its contract to provide the TTC with new streetcars. 

The city of Toronto awarded Bombardier the $1-billion contract in 2009, but since then, the company has missed multiple deadlines for deliveries.

In October of 2015, the TTC board voted to sue the company over the production delays.

In the past, Bombardier has blamed the problems on faulty parts from its supplier in Mexico, labour trouble, the intricate nature of the new streetcars and staff changes.

Prud'Homme said that in 2017 Bombardier Transports Americas' President, Benoit Brossoit "met with the leaders of all of our key suppliers to demand corrective measures to improve performance and accelerate deliveries, and we are following-up with them on a regular basis."

He said the new production line has added more than 100 new positions, which will be filled mainly by new employees, and that no jobs were affected at the plant in Thunder Bay.

Streetcars needed 'more now than ever'

In a statement to CBC Toronto, TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said the second production line is "the right thing to do."

"Bombardier have a lot of work to do to regain the confidence of the TTC and its customers," he said. "We need these new streetcars more now than ever. We will wait and see if they hit their targets — it's down to them to get this right."

When asked if the TTC was considering an alternative plan if the company doesn't meet its target, Ross said they will review options such as continuing to supplement buses on streetcar routes.