- By Daniel Desjardins, Chairman, Bombardier Transportation
Bombardier’s DNA historically lies with providing our customers with the most innovative mobility solutions, be it by rail, air or, in the very first instance, snowmobile invented by our Canadian founder Joseph-Armand Bombardier in Valcourt, Québec. Bombardier Transportion is soon to continue its heritage as part of Alstom. It will be a new chapter of our ever-evolving story, built with the collective strength of our employees around the world. The timing could not be more appropriate to reflect on what we have become since the early ’70s, when we entered the railway business.
The 1973 oil crisis forced Bombardier to halve its snowmobile production. Our President at the time, Laurent Beaudoin, and his management team responded by redeploying the company’s excess manufacturing capacity. They acquired mass transit technologies and applied Bombardier’s manufacturing know-how to build rolling stock. In 1974, Bombardier won its first mass transit contract to manufacture 423 cars for the city of Montréal’s subway system, in time for the 1976 Olympic games.
What started as a humble one project business, became through organic growth and a series of acquisitions, one of the leading multinational rail businesses, bringing together a unique diversity of talent. Thanks to our acquisition of the Midland Railway Workshop, our proud legacy stretches right back to 1839 when the Midland Railway Workshop was established in Derby, UK. In 2001, our headquarters moved to Berlin, following the acquisition of Adtranz. This was an important milestone that allowed Bombardier Transportation to become a “full-fledged integrated player” able to compete globally. Nowadays, Bombardier Transportation employs around 35,000 people with 61 engineering and production sites in 27 countries, and a worldwide network of service centres in the vicinity of our broad customer base.
With partnerships in 200 cities across 60 countries, and over 100,000 of our trains operating daily, we are well positioned to anticipate and meet the mobility solution needs of the future. Our rail and signalling technology enables mass transportation in many urban metropolis, including New York, London, New Delhi, Singapore Melbourne, San Francisco, Berlin, Zurich, Stockholm, and Montréal while we support Paris and Toronto with a substantial fleet of regional trains – to name just a few.
We have the largest regional train, locomotive and tram fleets in Europe and in China we are a proud supplier for many of the high-speed train fleets via our successful joint ventures. In America, Bombardier Transportation has several maintenance and operation contracts for the servicing of commuter trains from coast to coast. Finally, over 30 of Bombardier’s APM systems have been delivered around the world and are in operation at nine of the world’s busiest airports. Combining technology and performance with empathy, Bombardier Transportation has served as a trusted and strong local partner all over the world for decades.
While it was not always a straightforward ride, we can take pride in our long-term development, driven passion for innovation and diverse corporate culture. And most importantly for the difference we have been making in the places where we work and live. Together, our teams continuously broke new ground in sustainable mobility by providing integrated solutions that created substantial benefits for operators, passengers and the environment.
We estimate that daily, pre-pandemic, we enable the safe and sustainable transportation of some 500 million people around the planet. With rail being the safest and most sustainable form of transportation, this is a contribution we take pride in. Overall, this is a very exciting time for our industry, as sustainability objectives and urban growth are increasing the demand for rail. Current advances in digitalization and zero emission propulsion technologies are enabling us to put more trains on existing tracks and offer cost-efficient solutions to diesel power trains for tracks that are not electrified.
The great story of Bombardier Transportation is not over - it will continue as part of an established global mobility leader. In the same way that our corporate DNA reflects the heritage of other companies that have been consolidated over the years, Bombardier Transportation will now merge its heritage with that of Alstom. By combining our unique legacy, expertise and people, we will continue to focus on delivering, together, new innovative mobility solutions around the globe. Our complementary geographical presence and product portfolio will strengthen our position in the thriving mobility market with a combined backlog of over €75 bn to execute on.
Looking at what we have achieved as Bombardier Transportation over the last decades should make our current and past employees, as well as customers and partners, very proud. Thank you! Still, when the talents and the leadership of our organizations will be aligned, just imagine how much further we can propel our common rail heritage. The new Alstom can build on our passion, our accomplishments, and our successes. We look forward to becoming part of a company that is just as passionate about driving the future of sustainable mobility. Together we move further.