Melbourne to buy trains from French firm amid diplomatic spat
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Paris (AFP) –
French firm Alstom signed a contract on Monday to provide commuter trains to Melbourne, even as a diplomatic spat between France and Australia over a cancelled submarine deal rages.
Alstom said in a statement that it will supply 25 six-car X'trapolis trains to Australia's second most populous city in a 300-million-euro (US$351 million, Aus$486 million) deal.
The trains will be built in the state of Victoria with at least 60 percent local content, the company said. Alstom has a manufacturing plant in Ballarat, near Melbourne.
"Alstom is delighted to continue its long-term partnership with the Victorian Government and the local supply chain that will ensure we continue to build trains for Victoria, in Victoria," said the company's managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Mark Coxon.
The announcement comes as France has lashed out at Australia for backing out of a multi-billion-dollar deal for French conventional submarines in favour of a US nuclear-powered vessels as part of a new defence alliance that also includes Britain.
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