24 new AMT trains to be built by Chinese firm — not Bombardier

Another blow for Bombardier — this one happening in its own backyard.

Montreal's commuter train authority, the Agence Métropolitaine de Transport (AMT), has reportedly opted to have a Chinese company build a new set of 24 commuter train vehicles instead of the Montreal-based transportation giant.

The contract to build the new vehicles for the Vaudreuil-Dorion, St. Jerome and Candiac lines would have been worth $103 million to the company. A couple of reports, however, indicate that they will instead be built by the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) — for $69 million.

AMT spokesperson Fanie St. Pierre suggests they expect to close the deal shortly.

A spokesperson for the AMT says Bombardier's bid was rejected for several reasons — among them, the Chinese promised to deliver the new rolling stock six months before Bombardier.

The new trains are expected to be in operation by the spring of 2019.

The state-run Chinese firm is making a push into the North American market. It's already signed on to build rolling stock for transit systems in Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago.

"Perhaps the Chinese were lowballing in order to break into the North American market," says McGill professor and CJAD 800 contributor Karl Moore. "So they went with the low price, and they have the advantage of embarrassing Bombardier in its own backyard, and spreading that story around the world," he says.

It's the second major setback in the last few days for Bombardier. Last week, a $528 million contract to build light-rail vehicles for Toronto's Metrolinx network went to Bombardier's rival, French transportation company Alstom — again, delivery delays were a factor.

The company has been taking a beating in the Toronto media of late, over their failure to deliver a fleet of new streetcars on time. In 2010, the Toronto Transit Commission ordered 204 new streetcars to replace its aging fleet. As of last week, 27 of them have been delivered.

According to the original timetable, 70 of them should have been delivered by now.