Alstom Transport Canada is delivering 50 remanufactured SD40-2 diesel locos (top right), to First Union Rail Corp, which will lease them to CSX Transportation under a multi-year agreement. The locos are being rebuilt at Alstom’s Montréal plant, a former Canadian National workshop which has been extensively remodelled since Alstom took it over in 1996.

Next month should see the completion of a new locomotive stripping facility, with full environmental protection from oils and other parts. The main assembly hall has been remodelled from transverse workstations to two longitudinal five-station assembly lines with semi-autonomous work teams, mirroring modern production techniques. At full capacity the unit can outshop a loco every working day.

Alstom now buys second-hand diesel locos speculatively as a source of parts for future orders. Most components are refurbished or replaced by sub-contractors, but Alstom has retained and updated its diesel engine refurbishment line, adding a purpose-build test house and other machine tools.

The Montréal plant is also refurbishing second-hand commuter coaches for local operator Agence Metropolitaine de Transport. The Québec government acquired 80 single-deck cars from GO Transit several years ago, and these are stored at the plant to be refurbished and put into service as traffic develops.

Alstom has also moved into freight wagon construction, with a new assembly line able to turn out 12 vehicles a day. The plant has a five-year contract to supply 3100 wagons to First Union of up to six designs, and has just completed 200 covered steel coil carriers (lower right). Mirroring its Optionic Design strategy for the passenger market, Alstom has brought in advanced computer-aided design software from the French aerospace industry. This allows it to develop specialised wagon designs for construction in batches of 100, compared to a minimum of 500 from some other wagon builders.