Thunder Bay

Bombardier Thunder Bay sets new production record

The plant built a total of 168 vehicles last year, 105 of which were rail cars for Metrolinx and 63 of which were streetcars for the Toronto Transit Commission. None of the cars came back defective, according to a spokesperson for the company.

The plant built a total of 168 vehicles last year. The previous record was 100.

Bombardier's Thunder Bay plant built 63 of these streetcars for the Toronto Transit Commission last year as part of a record-breaking year on the production line. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

The Bombardier plant in Thunder Bay, Ont., set a new record for rail and streetcar production last year, building a total of 168 vehicles.

A hundred and five of those were rail cars for Metrolinx, while 63 were streetcars for the Toronto Transit Commission.  

None of the cars came back defective, according to a spokesperson for the company.

The president of Unifor Local 1075, the employee' union local, said it's frustrating that their accomplishments have been overshadowed by negative publicity about the company. 

"Reading the papers you would think that we had not had a successful year because there's been issues at other plants," Dominique Pasqualino told CBC, "but it seems like they don't focus on our plant and the great success that we've had in the last year."

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Last year's numbers were due in part to a much more reliable supply of parts for the vehicles, Pasqualino said. 

"I've said that many times before. If we get all of our parts, we will be able to meet our deadlines,"  he said. "I wouldn't say that last year was a perfect year for that because we did have some temporary layoffs because we did have some parts shortages, but they weren't significant enough to hamper our production. ...  We could've even had a better year than what we did have."

Bombardier Transport's director of public affairs and communications for the Americas, Eric Prud'homme, said last year's output could also partly be attributed to the maturity of the vehicle designs and improved efficiency on the production line.

"It's like a fine tuned machine," Pasqualino said.  "As you build the cars, you get better at building them, and you start realizing where you can make some improvements."

The stable work over the past two years has given employees a chance to get good at specific tasks, he added. 

"We've got people installing doors, and they've been installing doors for a couple of years, and they know the knacks of getting it done, and we're showing the benefits of that," he said.

Now, Pasqualino said, the plant needs more contracts to keep the employees working.
 

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