Metrolinx, Alstom sign agreement of refurbish 94 GO Transit coaches

Dec. 1, 2021
The overhaul of the rail vehicles is being funded by the province as part of ongoing GO rail network expansion efforts.

Metrolinx and Alstom have signed an agreement that will see 94 GO Transit coaches overhauled at Alstom’s Thunder Bay, Ontario facility. The mid-life overhaul of the BiLevel 7 Series cars, which were originally built between 2003-2008, will be performed over a two-year timeframe. The first cars are set for delivery in spring 2023.

Metrolinx explains the refurbished coaches will support expansion of GO service, which aims to bring all-day, two-way service with trains running every 15 minutes.

“Thunder Bay’s Alstom plant employees have tremendous experience with our bi-level GO Transit coaches,” said Phil Verster, Metrolinx president and CEO. “This is an incredible opportunity to use that expertise to extend the life of our fleet, supporting the expansion of GO service in the coming years and improving the customer experience onboard our trains.”

That “tremendous experience” with GO Transit’s coaches stretches back 45 years at the Thunder Bay facility.

Alstom will strip down the cars and overhaul parts to produce newly refurbished BiLevel cars. Updates to the interior will include the installation of updated outlets with USB ports, cosmetic updates to paneling and flooring, a full replacement of customer seating, upgrades to washrooms and service-proven LED lighting.

The C$171-million (US$134.2 million) project is being funded by the government of Ontario. The investment in the refurbishment is in addition to the funding provided to purchase 36 BiLevel cars from what was then Bombardier Transportation’s Thunder Bay facility; the last cars from that order were delivered in August 2021. Alstom completed the acquisition of Bombardier in early 2021.

“As part of our plan to build Ontario, we have reached a deal that is good for transit and good for Thunder Bay workers,” said Caroline Mulroney, Ontario Minister of Transportation. “It simply makes sense to refurbish these made-in-Ontario railcars in the same facility that built them. This is part of our plan to advance Ontario’s transit priorities while supporting good-paying jobs in the province.”

“We are delighted with the opportunity to extend our 45-year partnership with GO Transit with the overhaul of these BiLevel cars and we thank Metrolinx for their renewed trust and confidence and for recognizing the unique industrial expertise of our team in Thunder Bay,” said Michael Keroullé, president, Alstom Americas. “We look forward to continuing to serve transit users of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.