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Canada is receiving the first CRRC double-deck coaches

20 February 2022
Reading time ~ 4 min
RTM double-decker CRRC train rendering
RTM double-decker CRRC train rendering. Source:
Belov Sergey, Editor-in-Chief, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency
Reading time ~ 4 min
Litvintsova Olga, Editor of International Projects, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency

Canada: 2 double-deck push-pull coaches from the Chinese manufacturer will be delivered to RTM, the Greater Montreal region passenger operator, in the nearest future, writes Railway Age. The level of vehicles localization is 28%.

At the depot in Pointe-Saint-Charles, the coaches will have to undergo static, dynamic and brake tests. In addition, minor finishing of trains should be carried out. According to RTM, 12 Canadian components producers are involved in the train project, and the localization of coaches is at the level of 28%. For example, train seats are made by a local company. In total, under a contract worth about C$196 mln ($154 mln), concluded in 2017, and an option exercised in 2019, the CRRC’s plant in Tangshan is to produce and deliver to Canada 44 double-deck coaches (36 intermediate and 8 lead units).

Competition for that order included two participants: CRRC and Bombardier (now part of Alstom). However, Bombardier’s bid was 33% more expensive than from CRRC. Despite the win of the Chinese manufacturer, RTM demanded that the design of the coaches should be similar to Bombardier BiLevel trains, which are in the fleet of another Canadian operator, GO Transit. Also, according to the requirements, each coach must accommodate 147 passengers.

Bombardier BiLevel double-decker train operated by GO Transit Bombardier BiLevel double-decker train operated by GO Transit. Source: Graham Paine, Metroland

The project is funded by the Government of Quebec, which, during the implementation of the contract, required an increase in the level of localization of trains from the original 15% to 25%. Combined with restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent changes in the technical documentation by the customer this led to the postponement of deliveries from June 2019 to 2022.

By the end of this year, RTM expects to receive other 32 coaches, which should be put into operation in 2023. When the last batch of 10 units will be sent to the country is still unknown. Now the requirements for their interior are being adjusted taking into account the need to provide barrier-free opportunities to the disabled and other groups of citizens with limited mobility. However, it is planned that the modified coaches will go into operation in 2024.

Earlier, in 2017, it also became known about CRRC plans to establish an R&D center in Canada jointly with the local freight car manufacturer ARS Canada Rolling Stock. It should work on the adaptation of Chinese freight railcars to the requirements of North American countries in order to sell it to local operators. In the long term, it is planned to launch the production of cars in the country itself.

It is worth noting that since the beginning of 2020, significant restrictions have been introduced in the neighboring United States for the development of CRRC business in the country. Under a law passed by the US Congress, government funding for the purchase of rolling stock from Chinese manufacturers was prohibited due to threats to cybersecurity.