Bombardier crews will improve passenger service, officials say

It won’t necessarily make the trains run on time. But a new deal to put Bombardier crews on GO trains should improve passenger service, GO officials said yesterday.



A five-year contract with Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. means 160 unionized engineers, conductors and newly coined "customer service ambassadors" will replace the Canadian National Railway crews now operating the trains on six of GO’s seven lines.


CN, which owns most of the tracks, switches and signals, will be training the new crews to take over when the CN contract expires next June. Canadian Pacific Railway will continue to operate GO’s Milton line.

"There isn’t a silver bullet here for on-time performance," said GO managing director Gary McNeil, acknowledging its struggles with delays due to weather, aging equipment and deteriorating tracks. "The key thing that Bombardier will bring to us is a much more customer-oriented approach to the business."

The new crews will also be unionized, but Bombardier will suffer financial penalties if they don’t show up. Crew absenteeism led to regular delays on GO trains in the summer of 2006.

Also at today’s meeting, GO is expected to approve a new 10-ride ticket and monthly pass for children. It will relieve lineups at ticket windows, said McNeil.

cutting costs

  • The contract, worth $23.9 million annually, is Bombardier’s first Canadian service agreement. It’s expected to save GO between $1 million and $2 million per year, McNeil said.