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Canada’s state railway set to give order to Siemens over Bombardier

Canada’s state railway set to give order to Siemens over Bombardier
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Canada’s state-owned Via Rail has picked Germany’s Siemens AG for a new order of locomotives and passenger cars, dealing Bombardier Inc. a second high-profile setback on its home turf this year, said people familiar with the matter.

An announcement about the company’s fleet replacement plans is scheduled to be made by Via Rail chief executive officer Yves Desjardins-Siciliano at 12 p.m. Wednesday in Montreal. The order could be valued at about $1 billion, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Montreal’s La Presse reported the same value for the deal last month.

Via Rail announced a request for bids in April. It said at the time it was looking for 32 bidirectional train sets with 9,100 passenger seats, as well as an unspecified number of fuel-efficient diesel engines — with the option to operate on electrified rail infrastructure. Via Rail said it worked with an independent supervisor to ensure the bidding process was equitable.

In February, Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, Canada’s second-largest public-pension manager, awarded Alstom SA of France a contract to make trains for a $6.3 billion automated light-rail system it’s building in and around Montreal.

A Via Rail spokesperson in Montreal didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message Wednesday. Representatives for Siemens and Bombardier declined to comment.

Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said last month the federal government, which has ultimate control over Via Rail, wouldn’t force the company to pick Bombardier over Siemens for its fleet-replacement order. He cited Canada’s commitments to global free-trade agreements.
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