Alstom has been named preferred bidder to design, build and maintain the fleet of low-floor trams for the new CAD3.965m (EUR2.76bn) tramway project in Québec City (Canada). The company was the only bidder to progress to the final stage of the rolling stock procurement, following the withdrawal of Siemens last year. 
Detailed negotiations have reportedly been underway for five months and a formal award is expected shortly, including confirmation of the base order value and final terms. 
The procurement phase for the 29-stop east-west tramline between D’Estimauville and Cap-Rouge was paused in June 2021 after only one bidder submitted an offer for the proposed turnkey contract to design, build and equip the 19.3km (12-mile) line. A decision was subsequently taken to divide the project into two contracts: one covering rolling stock and rail systems, with another for infrastructure design and construction. 
The rolling stock specification calls for 43m double-ended trams, powered by a traditional overhead line for the majority of the route due to the technology’s robustness and reliability. The climate in Québec City regularly sees months of sustained sub-zero temperatures. 
An Alstom spokesperson said the final vehicle design would be undertaken at the company’s North American head office in St-Bruno-de-Montarville, for assembly at the La Pocatière plant it inherited as part of its takeover of Bombardier Transportation in 2021. The agreement includes maintenance of the trams for a 30-year period, under the supervision of the Réseau de transport de la Capitale (RTC). 
As the city evaluates submissions for the infrastructure contract, the final phase of preparatory works at the site of the depot and operations centre on rue Mendel, near the western Le Gendre terminus, began in early February. Approximately 35 000m2 of woodland will be redeveloped; these works will continue until mid-March ahead of an expected ground-breaking in the summer. 
Over 75% of the route will be segregated, with traffic priority at junctions and a 1.8km (1.1-mile) subway under the city centre. Tramway construction is scheduled to take five years, with the city aiming for an opening in 2028. 
Québec City’s first-generation tramway closed in 1948. 
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