Rail

Bombardier files suit against Amtrak

Posted on January 1, 2002

Bombardier Corp. in November filed suit against Amtrak, claiming Amtrak disrupted its ability to produce and deliver the high-speed trainsets and locomotives for the Northeast Corridor in a timely and efficient manner. As of December, the suit was still pending in court, said Gilles Pagé, director of public affairs for Bombardier. “It’s in the hand of the court,” he said. Bombardier seeks to recover at least $200 million in damages, which include “additional and unwarranted costs incurred during the execution of the Acela Express project,” read a release by the company. In a statement, Amtrak rebutted, “After five years of delays, performance failures and self-inflicted financial losses, it is no shock that Bombardier is now attempting to shift the blame for the consortium’s mismanagement of the high-speed trainset contract to Amtrak.” Bombardier’s claim states that Amtrak did not provide track upgrades needed for high-speed service. As a result, the trains had to undergo more than a year and a half of additional testing. “We ask that Amtrak take responsibility for its shortcomings on the Acela project so that we can resolve outstanding issues,” said Jacques Laparé, president of Bombardier Transportation, North America. “Bombardier Transportation has delivered all 15 locomotives and 15 of the 20 trainsets called for in the $710 million contract awarded in 1996, and expanded in 1998, and they are performing well.” The 46-page complaint comes, said Bombardier, after repeated attempts to settle through negotiations. Amtrak has its own list of complaints, totaling more than $250 million, against Bombardier, including: trainset deliveries more than one year late, with continuing delays for the last five trainsets; speed restrictions, because the trainsets do not meet contract specifications; failure to provide on-time and adequate maintenance; and failure to comply with warranty obligations. Delivery of the Acela trainsets was postponed several times by Bombardier. Amtrak claims that it has had to manage the day-to-day maintenance of the trains. “Amtrak expects the consortium to live up to the contract it signed, deliver the five remaining trainsets and accept financial responsibility for the delays and mismanagement for which it has only itself to blame,” Amtrak’s statement said. Bombardier’s consortium partner in the project, Alstom, is a not a participant in the lawsuit.

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