Edmonton Alberta - Bombardier officials on a stop in Edmonton are promising the new Valley Line LRT rail cars will be a "showcase" project that leave supply chain troubles in the distant past.
"You're getting the best of Bombardier," said Benoit Brossoit, the company's president for the Americas Region.
"For us, Edmonton is going to be a showcase of what we really can do," he said while sitting down with the Edmonton Journal after touring construction already underway, the new line will run between downtown and Mill Woods, and meeting with city officials.
Years of delay and defects for Toronto's new streetcars, a similar model to Edmonton's, have left Bombardier's reputation bruised.
The company was two years late on delivery of its first cars and had to revise the schedule multiple times, leaving citizens of Toronto stranded as the old fleet kept breaking down.
But Brossoit is now selling a message that those issues are fixed.
The company invested $11 million into a new Kingston, Ontario, facility in part to accommodate production of Edmonton's new rail cars.
Manufacturing, he said, is on schedule.
Even for Toronto, said Brossoit, "since about this time last year, we haven't missed one commitment. We're pretty proud of that."
The Toronto Transit Commission and Edmonton's TransEd both ordered versions of Bombardier's Flexity low-floor train system, which is wheelchair accessible from the curb.
When Toronto placed its order in 2013, the company had already produced thousands of similar trains globally.
But this was a first for Canada.
It meant changing production in its Thunder Bay plant, a re-training for the welding factory in Mexico, and sourcing new local partners for all the air conditioning, doors, windows, and other parts that make up the new high-tech trains.
It didn't go well, said Brossoit.
"The whole European supply chain did not follow," he said, adding the company also underestimated the scale of changes needed to the trains to meet very different North American standards.
"We feel today we have closed those gaps. We have a plan going forward. This product has huge potential in North America."
Edmonton's first 10 cars are due in late 2018.
Bombardier is scheduled to deliver 13 more in 2019 and the last three in 2020.
The trains are scheduled to start running in December 2020.
After Toronto's order, Bombardier secured a contract for trains in Kitchener-Waterloo which are nearly identical to those ordered by Edmonton.
Although they were delayed six months, their first train arrived in February.
The first of Edmonton's train cabs are currently being manufactured in Austria, and the first roofs are being assembled at the new facility in Kingston.
That's what holds all of the wiring and intelligence for the train.
Brossoit said parts coming from other suppliers mean about 50 to 60 percent of the trains will be Canadian content.
Bombardier staff will be running the trains in Edmonton, similar to its GO Trains in the Toronto area.
Mayor Don Iveson said he is "very pleased senior executives from Bombardier took time to come, tour the sites where their team is working, and meet with our officials to be crystal clear on our expectations.
"They're literally assembling pieces for our train cars today, which is good."
Iveson said the city is keeping in close contact with all of the partners of TransEd, the consortium of companies building and running the Valley Line under a public-private partnership.
The way the contract is structured, each of those partners have a vested interest in monitoring each other, as well.
"They all experience penalties if any one vendor can't deliver," he said.