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Bombardier confirms $2.1-billion U.K. rail deal

File photo of a train carriage being worked on at Bombardier’s Derby, England, plant.

Rui Vieira/AP Photo

Bombardier Inc. says it has signed a previously announced train supply contract for London's massive Crossrail project that is now valued at about $2.1-billion (U.S.).

Montreal-based Bombardier's rail unit said on Wednesday the project to supply 65 nine-car trains and construct a new rail depot at Old Oak common will get underway April 17.

British authorities said two weeks ago it was their intention to award the contract to Bombardier. The value of the deal at the time was estimated to be about $1.6-billion.

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The new trains will be built at Bombardier's Derby site in northern England and will support 840 British manufacturing jobs including 80 apprenticeships, Bombardier said.

Another 260 jobs are expected to be created for construction of the depot and about 80 jobs for ongoing maintenance of the trains.

Bombardier's Aventra trains will be over 200 metres in length and able to transport up to 1,500 passengers.

Crossrail is a £15-billion project which will connect Heathrow airport in the west of London to the county of Essex in the east through 42 kilometres of tunnels. Trains on the Crossrail line – scheduled to open in 2018 – will run through the centre of London, increasing rail capacity by 10 per cent.

The future of the historic train works in Derby – which Bombardier acquired in a transaction 13 years ago – was thrown into doubt in 2011 when the company lost out to German rival Siemens on a contract to build rolling stock for the upgrade to London's Thameslink network.

The incident turned into a political controversy and the British government promised to place homegrown manufacturers on an equal footing with rivals from overseas even though European Union rules are strict about protectionism.

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About the Author
Quebec Business Correspondent

Bertrand has been covering Quebec business and finance since 2000. Before joining The Globe and Mail in 2000, he was the Toronto-based national business correspondent for Southam News. He has a B.A. from McGill University and a Bachelor of Applied Arts from Ryerson. More

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