Steven Del Duca, Minister of Economic Development and Growth, was in Brampton today to announce the future home of Alstom’s new LRT assembly facility, to be built in Brampton.
“This is where the vehicles will be assembled, that will help to carry our regional transit system into a new era,” said Del Duca. “The state-of-the-art light rail vehicles that will be built here, will be deployed on new LRT lines like Finch West and the Hurontario in Mississauga.”
“They are part of our government’s absolute, and unwavering, commitment to regional rail, and to helping people move more effectively, more efficiently and more safely across this region.”
Linda Jeffrey, the Mayor of Brampton, was at the announcement and thanked Del Duca for his work on building transit in the city. “I want to thank you for your advocacy in making sure that so much Provincial money comes to Brampton,” Jeffrey said. “You are like my special advocate at the Province.”
In May 2017, Ontario announced a contract with Alstom to provide 61 vehicles for light rail transit (LRT) projects in the GTHA, with an option to acquire an additional 44 vehicles.
The contract, which is worth $528 million, will create between 100 and 120 full-time jobs in the new Alstom facility in Brampton, and support an additional 400 to 500 spinoff jobs. It will ensure that Metrolinx has the high-quality vehicles needed to open its LRT projects in the GTHA on time.
Alstom is a French multinational company that provides rail transport vehicles, signaling systems and infrastructure. They manufacture high speed rail vehicles for the TGV, France’s intercity high-speed rail service, in addition to suburban, regional and metro trains and trams in systems around the world.
The Alstom Citadis Spirit light rail vehicles are to be configured to carry 120 seated and 216 standing passengers, with a length of up to 157 feet, with a white and silver colour theme for the exterior.
The Citadis Spirit is designed to operate reliably, even in cold environments. “Ontarians can be assured that the Alstom Citadis Spirit will be here and ready for them to commute back and forth to work, to school and to their appointments regardless of the weather conditions,” explained an Alstom representative who was present at the announcement.
Alstom is the supplier of light rail vehicles for Ottawa’s Confederation Line, a light rail system costing over $5.1 billion, with costs for the project being funded in part by the federal government and the province, while the City of Ottawa is funding a third, or $1.7 billion.
Metrolinx had originally planned to work with Bombardier who has a light rail division located in Thunder Bay, Ontario. However, Bombaridier has experienced challenges with delivery times for other projects like the Crosstown LRT which is being built in Toronto. As a result, Alstom was selected as a new supplier.
Since 2003, Ontario has invested about $16 billion in priority rapid transit projects in the GTHA, including $1.4 billion for the Hurontario LRT and $8.4 billion for rapid transit projects in the City of Toronto such as the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and the Finch West LRT.
In 2015, six Brampton Councillors voted not to allow the Hurontario LRT along Main Street to connect with the GO Transit station in Downtown Brampton, instead deciding to spend $4.4 million on new environmental assessments to study alternative routes along McLaughlin Road and Kennedy Road to reach the same destination.
Those alternative routes have already been studied and dismissed by experts. The new studies that will require at least four years to complete.
There is no plan currently in place to fund the route that is eventually selected. Metrolinx has pulled its funding commitment to the City of Brampton and has allocated those monies to other projects across Ontario.
The Hurontario LRT project is scheduled to begin construction next year, with completion in 2022.