T officials say they have ‘reset expectations’ with rail car manufacturer — Commonwealth Magazine (July 2023)

The Healey administration is hustling to speed production of new subway cars, but the transit system is still years away from getting its full order filled. After a series of revelations about the Springfield plant where Chinese company CRRC is producing new Orange and Red Line cars, including a pause in delivery of new cars for seven months, transportation leaders say production is moving . . . at a crawl. The Boston Herald first reported that CRRC was sending cars to the MBTA in “unacceptable” condition as recently as June 7.

The state has a $870.5 million agreement for 152 new Orange Line cars and 252 Red Line cars. The Orange Line order is expected to be completed by December [2023], compared with the contractual completion date of January 2022, and the Red Line cars should be delivered by September 2026 rather than this September as contracted. (Read more)

Chinese contractor submitted unfinished Orange Line cars to MBTA Boston Herald (June 2023)

Problems have continued to plague the production of new Orange and Red Line trains, the latest of which involved the Chinese contractor submitting unfinished cars to the MBTA for final inspection and delivery. The condition of these cars was described as “unacceptable” by one MBTA manager in a June 7 email to CRRC MA representatives, obtained by the Herald. A separate email goes into more detail, stating that paint repairs had not been completed. Cars were submitted for inspection with “parts sanded down to bare metal.” Multiple connectors were also seen hanging on the underframes. (Read more)

Report: The MBTA’s subway manufacturer turned in unfinished carsBoston.com (June 2023)

The manufacturer charged with building hundreds of new Red and Orange Line trains reportedly submitted unfinished cars to the MBTA for final inspection, the latest hiccup in a yearslong project plagued with delays and quality concerns.  “It’s been 4.5 years and over 90 cars since CRRC started producing MBTA vehicles out of Springfield,” MBTA technical project manager said in a letter to CRRC MA. “It is clear that the condition of these cars is unacceptable for inspection request, yet CRRC requested the inspection,” the letter reportedly read. “Why does this type of process failure continue to happen?” (Read more)

US DOT to audit SEPTA rail car contract with China-based supplier for Buy America compliance. — Smart Cities Dive (March 2023)

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s contract for new passenger rail cars with CRRC MA Corp. has come under the glare of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General. The OIG launched an audit on Feb. 24 of the Federal Transit Administration’s oversight of the applicable Buy America requirements for this federally-funded procurement. CRRC MA is an affiliate of CRRC Corp. Ltd., a Chinese state-owned enterprise. (Read more)

Philadelphia Inquirer (March 2023): SEPTA’s new rail cars plagued by faulty wiring, repeated delays — and a federal investigation — Philadelphia Inquirer (Feb. 2023)

New double-decker Regional Rail passenger cars are three years behind schedule and SEPTA officials have expressed concern about the quality of work performed by China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) , the rail car manufacturer owned by China’s government. Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority says CRRC has only delivered 90 of the 404 new cars it ordered in 2014 for $800 million. Many of those have been sidelined by problems that include a battery explosion, a derailment, loose brake bolts and faulty wiring that caused an electrical current to arc and strike a nearby train. Separately, SEPTA’s $138 million contract with the Chinese firm is the subject of an audit by the inspector general of the federal Department of Transportation to make sure the transit authority is complying with a federal law requiring 70% of components in rail cars to be made in the United States. (Read more)

Federal DOT inspector general launches audit of CRRC contract with Philadelphia — The Boston Globe (Feb. 2023)

The Department of Transportation’s Inspector General’s office announced Friday that it is launching an audit of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s contract with CRRC, the Chinese rail car manufacturer with a factory in Springfield. The federal audit will assess how well the Federal Transit Administration is overseeing SEPTA and CRRC’s adherence to so-called Buy America requirements and SEPTA’s calculation of the value of its train components, the inspector general office announcement said. Buy America rules require that U.S. parts for rail cars make up more than 70 percent of the total cost of all components for these kinds of projects. In a letter to the DOT’s inspector general last year, three federal Republican lawmakers on the transportation committee called for a thorough review of SEPTA’s contract with CRRC citing a Philadelphia Inquirer article featuring photos of the cars being made in China. Buy America rules also require that “final assembly” of railcars happen in the U.S. (Read more)

Herald exclusive: Stunning amount of problems with China train deal exposed Herald obtains closed-door meeting minutes — Boston Herald (Feb. 2023)

Minutes from closed-door meetings held last year reveal an escalating number of defects with the new Orange and Red Line cars and repeated criticism by the MBTA that its Chinese contractor was taking a lackadaisical approach to resolving them. These documents, obtained by the Herald through a public records request, show that CRRC reused safety-critical hardware on trains and submitted “approval to proceed” forms to bypass inspections where cars were missing materials. Similarly, the minutes showed, the Chinese company “force-closed” quality item reports issued by the MBTA without actually resolving identified defects and making the necessary repairs at its Springfield facility, which the T described in a May 31 document as “extremely concerning and unacceptable.” “MBTA stated that CRRC was trying to avoid real solutions to problems despite MBTA’s efforts to work cooperatively with CRRC.” (Read more)

CRRC MBTA Railcar Delivery Delayed Again — Railway Age (Jan. 2023)

 Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) officials were recently notified that CRRC (China Railway Rolling Stock Corp.) will not be able to deliver the remaining Orange and Red Line railcars by December 2023 and September 2026, respectively, and could face “daily fines of $500 for each late car,” according to a Boston Herald report. The current timeline, according to the Boston Herald report, “already puts CRRC nearly two years behind schedule for the Orange Line and three years behind schedule for the Red Line, based on the respective dates set in the initial contract: January 2022 and September 2023.”

The MBTA awarded CRRC a contract for new Red and Orange Line car production in 2014. The initial contract was for $565.18 million; the MBTA ordered an additional 120 new Red Line cars in January 2017, bringing the current value, along with a change order, to an approximate $870.5 million, according to the Boston Herald report. Since that time, the Boston Herald reported, “there has been a myriad of issues with production, and new cars put into service have been pulled several times due to a battery explosion, braking problems, and most recently, ill-fitting materials that led to a power cable failure in nine new Orange Line cars.” (Read more)

MBTA opens up about crippling subway car delivery delays; Gonneville paints dire picture  — Commonwealth Magazine (Jan. 2023)

The MBTA pulled back the curtain a bit on Thursday about what’s causing crippling delays in the production of new Red and Orange Line trains by a Chinese manufacturer and its assembly plant in Springfield. Jeffrey Gonneville, the T’s interim general manager, said the Chinese company, CRRC, was supposed to deliver all 152 new Orange Line cars by December 2022, but so far has delivered only 78.

Gonneville didn’t draw any conclusions in his presentation to the MBTA board, but he painted a picture of a politicized procurement in 2014 that has come back to bite the MBTA in 2023 and could cripple the transit authority going forward if the new Red and Orange Line vehicles fail to work properly. Gonneville said all new train car deliveries have been suspended since July 2022 to give CRRC time to address its manufacturing challenges. He said deliveries may resume next month, but probably at half the pace (four cars per month instead of eight) required under the contract. Gonneville said the Chinese company had difficulty producing train shells in China during the coronavirus pandemic and subsequently because of labor and supply chain difficulties. He also said CRRC’s assembly plant in Springfield has been plagued by manufacturing challenges, staff turnover, supply chain challenges, and “sudden and unexpected” technical and engineering issues. (Read more)

Faulty design of new Orange Line trains may have caused electrical failure — Boston Herald (Jan. 2023)

The MBTA is looking into whether certain parts of the new Orange Line trains were “appropriately designed,” after discovering that the mechanical failure found in nine new cars may have been caused by ill-fitting materials. Erik Stoothoff, chief engineer and acting chief operating officer, said the “end connector,” or the connection point to the frame body, is potentially undersized for the cable that is being used to provide grounding in the new train cars. He said the issue does not lie with assembly of the vehicles, but rather in how the new cars were designed. It’s the latest setback for the nearly $1 billion CRRC project, which has been riddled with delays and a number of issues, including a braking problem and battery failure, that led T to pull the new Orange Line trains out of service on several occasions. (Read more)

Workers building the new Orange and Red Line cars in Springfield describe a toxic, error-prone factory — The Boston Globe (Jan. 2023)

Starting nearly a decade ago, Massachusetts leaders made a promise that now appears to have been too good to be true: In exchange for more than $800 million, a Chinese company would build 404 new Red and Orange Line cars for the MBTA by 2023 in a brand-new Springfield factory, resurrecting the long-dormant railcar manufacturing industry in Western Massachusetts and creating hundreds of stable local jobs. But nearly five years after the factory got up and running, only 90 of around 340 cars that were supposed to have been delivered by now are in the hands of the MBTA, and even fewer are carrying passengers. A battery explosion, derailment, loose brake bolts, and electrical arcing have forced the T to repeatedly pull the new cars out of service and rely on faulty old cars that were supposed to be retired decades ago. (Read more)

News report describes ‘toxic environment’ at CRRC factory manufacturing MBTA cars — Trains (Jan. 2023)

The Massachusetts factory where China’s CRRC is building rapid-transit cars for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is a “toxic environment” where equipment is advanced on the assembly line despite missing parts and workers often wait months for parts to arrive because suppliers have not been paid, according to a Boston Globe report. A CRRC spokeswoman did not dispute the workers’ description of conditions. (Read more)

MBTA letter blasts CRRC for manufacturing issues — Trains (Jan. 2023)

Days before the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority removed some of its newest rapid transit cars from service for the latest in a series of mechanical issues, the agency claimed in a letter that the manufacturer of those cars, CRRC, “has completely abandoned its core responsibilities and commitment to lead, monitor, and support quality management,” the Boston Globe reports. (Read more)

MBTA finds more problems with CRRC Orange Line cars, pulls nine from service — Mass Live (Dec. 2022)

The MBTA has inspected all CRRC-made Orange Line vehicles to determine if this issue appears in other cars. It identified nine cars where some arcing appears to have occurred and has removed all of the impacted cars for repairs including the replacement of the axles. A total of 11 axles across these nine cars have been impacted, the T said. The Springfield CRRC factory is currently 17 months behind schedule making cars for the MBTA. In September, the MBTA reported that 152 car shells have been produced, 78 were on site at Wellington car house, 40 were in the production line in Springfield, 28 are stored in Springfield waiting to enter production and six were in transit from CRRC China. The T has discovered a number of problems with the cars including with the brakes and the undercarriage. (Read more)

Congressmen Demand Sanctions: Global Car Supply Chains Entangled With Abuses in Xinjiang, Report Says — The New York Times (Dec. 2022)

A new report on the auto industry cites extensive links to Xinjiang, where the U.S. government now presumes goods are made with forced labor. CRRC is also on the list of companies, based in Xinjang, where forced labor is prevalent. (Read more)

The mystery of the missing Orange and Red Line cars — The Boston Globe (Oct. 2022)

What’s really happening at the Springfield factory where the Chinese-owned company CRRC MA is under contract to deliver several hundred subway cars to the MBTA? If I were convening a congressional hearing, as Senator Elizabeth Warren is doing, that’s what I would want to find out. CRRC MA first won a $566 million contract in 2014 when Deval Patrick was governor. The contract was expanded to $880 million under Governor Charlie Baker. As reported by CommonWealth Magazine, the CRRC MA was originally slated to deliver 152 Orange Line cars by January 2022 and 252 Red Line cars by September 2023. Two years ago, those target completion dates were changed to April 2023 for the Orange Line and September 2024 for the Red Line. Now, the Orange Line completion date has been pushed to the summer of 2023, and the Red Line cars won’t be ready until the summer of 2025. (Read more)

Congressmen Demand Sanctions for Chinese-Military-Linked Railway Giant — National Review (Oct. 2022)

Lawmakers from both parties are demanding that the Biden administration subject the world’s largest manufacturer of trains to sanctions for its links to the Chinese military, National Review has learned. In a letter sent last week and obtained exclusively by NR, Representatives Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.) and John Garamendi (D., Calif.) asked Treasury secretary Janet Yellen to designate the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) as a Chinese military company. (Read more)

The Commie Train’s A’Comin’ — AM Greatness (Oct. 2022)

Several large American cities have contracted with a Chinese state-owned rail car manufacturer to design and manufacture subway cars for their subway systems, raising serious cybersecurity and human-rights concerns. Over the past eight years, China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) has secured more than $2.6 billion in federal transit contracts to provide passenger railcars in Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Lawmakers from both parties have taken notice, and are now demanding that the Biden Administration take action to prevent a company that has links to the Chinese military from dominating the railcar market in the United States. (Read more)

Senator Warren to hold congressional hearing in Boston about economic cost of T safety failures — Boston Globe (Oct. 2022)

The MBTA’s safety failures have attracted the attention of federal lawmakers. Senator Elizabeth Warren will join Senator Ed Markey, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, Federal Transit Administrator Nuria Fernandez, and Transit Matters Executive Director Jarred Johnson at a congressional subcommittee hearing in Boston on Friday to discuss the economic impact of inadequate maintenance of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, according to Warren’s office. Warren chairs the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs’ Subcommittee on Economic Policy. (Read more)

Lawmakers question SEPTA and Chinese rail-car contract’s compliance with ‘Buy America‘ — Progressive Railroading (Sept. 2022)

Members of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I) in a letter released yesterday called for an investigation into the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s contract with Chinese rail-car supplier China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. (CRRC). “It has come to our attention that the state-owned [CRRC] is fully building passenger rail cars in China and plans to ship them to SEPTA — apparently in contrast with [Federal Transit Administration’s] Buy America requirements for rolling stock procurement,” the letter stated. The FTA requires that projects it funds source American-made steel, iron and manufactured goods, including rolling stock. The requirement also applies to third-party procurements, according to the FTA website. (Read more)

Timeline: Safety incidents on the MBTA — WBUR (Sept. 2022)

The MBTA has had one safety incident after another over the past year. Passengers have experienced agonizing delays, personal traumas, injuries and even deaths while using the system. In the spring of 2022, the Federal Transit Administration stepped in to investigate some of the issues and provide safety recommendations to the agency. In mid-August, the T took the unprecedented step of shutting down the entire Orange Line for 30 days to work through a backlog of maintenance work that the federal regulators identified as a core issue. (Read more)

CRRC MBTA Railcar Delays Mount — Railway Age (Sept. 2022)

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) officials were recently notified that delivery of new Red and Orange Line railcars from CRRC (China Railway Rolling Stock Corp.) will be postponed further because the firm “expects it will need several more months to finish manufacturing” due to “nagging pandemic-related supply and labor issues.” The MBTA officials voiced their concern over the delay at the agency’s Sept. 29 Board of Directors meeting, CommonWealth Magazine and WGBH Boston reported. According to the CommonWealth report, CRRC, which was originally expected to deliver all 152 Orange Line cars by January 2022 and all 252 Red Line cars by September 2023, projects it will deliver the last batch of Orange Line cars to the T in summer 2023 and the final Red Line cars in summer 2025. That would represent 17 months past the contract’s due date for the Orange Line and 21 months late for the Red Line. (Read more)

DeFazio joins those questioning SEPTA’s contract with CRRC — Progressive Railroading (Sept. 2022)

U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) is asking the Federal Transit Administration to look into a contract between the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and the China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. (CRRC) after three Republican congressmen penned a letter earlier this week. DeFazio sent a letter Sept. 29 to FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez calling for an investigation into the $138 million contract. DeFazio and other lawmakers are concerned about China’s entry into the U.S. public transportation market and how that could harm the domestic suppliers and manufacturers. In his letter, DeFazio asks Fernandez to “ensure that the playing field is not further tilted against domestic manufacturers.” He claims Chinese state-owned enterprises like CRRC are threatening the U.S. economy by undercutting pricing and forcing American competitors out of business. “One of the greatest threats to a strong U.S. transportation manufacturing sector is the rise of predatory Chinese state-owned and supported enterprises,” DeFazio wrote. (Read more)

MBTA Green, Orange lines up and running after 30-day stoppage — WickedLocal (Sept. 2022)

The MBTA shuttered the CRRC-made Orange Line cars for 30 days to address safety and maintenance. The Green Line service was discontinued from Government Center to the new Union Square Station to install sound walls and complete construction along the Green Line Extension, bringing the trolley into Medford and Tufts University campus. (Read more)

CRRC Orange Line train removed from service after door malfunction — The Boston Globe (Sept. 2022)

A new Orange Line train was removed from service at Downtown Crossing station Tuesday evening after its door malfunctioned, briefly disrupting service, MBTA officials said. “While berthed at the station, one of the train’s doors was not performing as designed so it was removed from service,” said Joe Pesaturo, a T spokesman, in an e-mail. (Read more)

MBTA Orange Line to shut down for 30 days on August 19 — Boston Herald (Aug. 2022)

Gov. Charlie Baker and transportation brass announced Wednesday that the MBTA’s entire Orange Line will be shut down for 30 days, from Aug. 19 to Sept. 18, an “unprecedented” move. T General Manager Steve Poftak said, “We have never shut down an entire line in this way.” Shutting down the Orange Line is another drastic step the T is taking to comply with directives issued by the Federal Transit Administration as part of its safety management inspection. (Read more)

Shutting down the Orange Line may just be the start — The Boston Globe (Aug. 2022)

Even in this stage of the pandemic, some 100,000 daily riders still depend on the Orange Line, the system’s second busiest subway branch. The MBTA has shuttered stations and lines on the weekends or evenings, but never for a month solid. It’s hard to believe this is happening in one of the smartest, richest cities in the world. We can survive a once-in-a-century pandemic thanks to life-saving vaccines that were invented here under the pressure of a public health emergency. Yet when it comes to taking the T, we can’t get from Point A to Point B without worrying something might go wrong. Every day is a public transit crisis. (Read more)

An MBTA Orange Line train is taken out of service 1 day after new Orange Line trains return — Mass Live (July 2022)

An Orange Line car was taken out of service Tuesday morning due to an “earlier mechanical problem,” the MBTA said. The MBTA said that the Orange Line’s regularly scheduled service had resumed after announcing 15 minute delays earlier Tuesday morning. (Read more)

Mayor Wu pushes for lengthy shutdowns to solve MBTA issues – Boston.com (July 2022)

Mayor Michelle Wu is advocating that the MBTA shut down major sections to allow for time to fix the large number of infrastructure problems. She said we are at a point where our only option is to think on a large scale, and she has shared this idea with the MBTA. The authority, which is under increased federal scrutiny, has seen a lot of problems recently — including an Orange Line train that caught fire while carrying passengers across a bridge last week. The topic was brought up by a daily Red Line commuter who called in to voice her concerns about the MBTA. “There have been mechanical issues, a ton of delays, and with things like the fire on the Orange Line, we are often not reassured,” the caller said. (Read more)

CRRC ships trains from China to SEPTA — Beijing Youth Daily (July 2022)

Tianjin CRRC, the manufacturing place of intercity multiple units exported to North America: since this year, four intercity multiple units manufactured by Tianjin CRRC tangche Rail Vehicle Co., Ltd. have been shipped to North America in two batches. SEPTA bought 45 coaches from the American subsidiary of the China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. in 2017, before the coronavirus pandemic slashed Regional Rail travel and created supply chain snarls for shipments from China. The photos show the first two cars of the order on an assembly line in Tangshan — expected to begin arriving in the Philadelphia area early next year. (Read more)

A first glimpse of SEPTA’s new double-decker Regional Rail cars, under construction in China — Philadelphia Inquirer (July 2022)

A Beijing Youth Daily photographer got a factory peek at some of SEPTA’s coming attractions: double-decker passenger cars on order for the Regional Rail fleet, freshly painted in the familiar red-white-and-blue livery. After the newspaper posted photos of the rail cars to its Facebook page over the weekend, they circulated on social media, shared by train enthusiasts and curious SEPTA customers— audiences with some overlap. (Read more)

New video shows MBTA Orange Line battery failure on new CRRC subway car — WCVB (July 2022)

Surveillance video obtained by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority captured the battery failure experienced on one of the new Orange Line subway cars last month. The surveillance video shows a bright flash and sparks coming from the train parked inside the Wellington Yard just before 4 a.m. on Monday, June 20. The trains, which are assembled in Springfield, Massachusetts, by Chinese-owned manufacturer CRRC, were taken out of service for two weeks after transit inspectors discovered the battery failure. (Read more)

A broken supply chain has SEPTA waiting for microchips, paint — and train cars — The Philadelphia Inquirer (July 2022)

Almost five years ago, SEPTA awarded a $138 million contract to CRRC MA, the U.S. subsidiary of China Railway Rolling Stock Corp., one of the largest train makers in the world. The state-backed enterprise has been gaining a foothold in the American train market — it is building 404 cars for metro Boston’s T subway system, for example — and underbid its closest competitor for the Regional Rail job by $34 million. When the pandemic began in 2020, shipping backlogs and the difficulties staffing a CRRC factory in China delayed the delivery date, in part because of the Chinese government’s “zero COVID” strategy of aggressive lockdowns to stop outbreaks. The shells of the railcars are made at a facility in Changchung, a provincial capital in northeastern China. When ready, they will be shipped from the Yellow Sea port of Dalian to the ports of Newark or New York.  (Read more)

New MBTA Trains Yanked From Service After Braking Issue — Boston.com (May 2022)

The new, CRRC Orange Line trains have again been taken out of service, this time due to a disabled brake. “While the MBTA works to determine the exact cause of the failure, a proactive decision has been made to keep all of the new trains out of service while the vehicle engineering and technical teams troubleshoot the problem. This isn’t the first time the trains have been removed from service. In 2021, the trains were pulled from service for about six months after one derailed that March. Two were first put back in service in late August, with the third and fourth planned for a September return. In late 2019 to 2020, the trains were removed for seven weeks after an “unusual noise” was detected. The trains returned to service in January 2020. (Read more)

New MBTA Trains Yanked From Service After Braking Issue — Boston Globe (May 2022)

The MBTA pulled all of its new Orange Line and Red Line trains out of service Thursday after a braking system failure disabled one of the vehicles at Wellington Station. T officials said they decided to take the new trains offline “out of an abundance of caution” while inspectors probe the newest additions to the fleet, which have faced multiple hiccups since they first launched nearly three years ago. “Earlier today at Wellington Station, a new Orange Line train experienced a problem in one of the train’s multiple braking units, and it went disabled.” (Read more)

MBTA train car involved in death of Robinson Lalin in Boston is over 50 years old; few new Red Line cars have been added to system despite nearly decade long deal — Mass Live (April 2022)

The MBTA Red Line train car involved in the death of 39-year-old Robinson Lalin in Boston early on Sunday morning was more than 50 years old, MBTA officials revealed, despite a nearly decade-long pricey deal to upgrade the train cars. The MBTA has been working to replace the aging train cars in its system, but the process of putting new trains on the tracks has been slow. In a deal arranged with Chinese-owned CRRC and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in 2014 — nearly a decade ago — CRRC received a $566 million contract from the MBTA to build 152 Orange Line cars and 252 Red Line cars in Springfield. But production and progress has been hampered. Even the new CRRC cars once running on the tracks have not been without issues, with a derailment occurring on the Orange Line in March last year near Wellington station in Medford — keeping the new Springfield-built cars out of service for about three months. (Read more)

Overheated motor causes smoke on Orange Line train at Chinatown station — The Boston Globe (Feb. 2022)

Service on the MBTA’s Orange Line was disrupted Wednesday when an overheated motor generated smoke that flowed into a train car with passengers on board, according to the MBTA. The incident occurred at Chinatown Station in downtown Boston. At 12:10 p.m., an operator of a northbound train reported the train car was filling with smoke from an overheating motor, said Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the MBTA. He said there was no announcement about what was going on, but everyone could smell it, and “you could see people getting agitated.” (Read more)

Despite delays, frustrations, Springfield-based CRRC promises faster pace on new MBTA subway cars — Mass Live (Feb. 2022)

The MBTA now has 60 Orange Line Springfield was introduced into passenger service at the end of December 2021, said T spokesman Joe subway cars delivered from the CRRC factory in Springfield. That’s progress, but far from where the Chinese-owned CRRC and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority expected to be by this time. (Read more)

5 months after derailment, one new MBTA Orange Line train returns to service — WCVB (Aug. 2021)

One of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s new Orange Line trains returned to service for the first time after a March derailment that sparked a monthslong investigation and repair plan. “One of the new Orange Line trains was returned to service Friday morning,” MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo wrote in an email. According to MBTA officials, one of the new Orange Line trains was going at a slow rate of speed and was crossing over to the southbound track at 11:40 a.m. on March 16, when the third car on the train derailed. About 100 passengers were on board at the time. All of the new trains were taken out of service on both the Red and Orange lines while the derailment was investigated. (Read more)

Chinese-owned rail company launches new project at Springfield plant, faces new heat — Boston Herald (June 2021)

The launch of a $647 million contract with LA Metro at the giant Chinese Railway Rolling Stock Corp. plant in Springfield comes as critics are warning against doing business with the company. A letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin June 1 tells of “grave concern” among a “wide bipartisan swath of policy leaders” worried that CRRC’s backing by the communist government poses a threat. (Read more)

New subway cars still in limbo — Commonwealth Magazine (June 2021)

MBTA’s Steve Poftak said the new Orange and Red Line cars will remain in limbo for the time being as the T continues to try to reach consensus on what caused a derailment in March and what can be done to remedy the problem or problems. Two weeks ago the deputy general manager, Jeffrey Gonneville, said an Orange Line train derailed near the Wellington train yard in Medford on March 16 due to “a series of contributing factors.” He also disclosed that the T and CRRC Mass., the Chinese train manufacturer, were at odds over the principal cause. (Read more)

MBTA Orange Line Derailment: New Video Shows Small Explosion as Train Derails — NBC 10 (June 2021)

Video obtained by the NBC10 Boston Investigators shows an MBTA Orange Line train derailing in March. The video shows the train in a work zone at Wellington Station in Medford, Massachusetts. The train appears to bump, then some cars are knocked sideways as a small explosion goes off. No one was injured in the derailment, but it led to weeks of repairs and delays on the Orange Line. The train that derailed consisted of new vehicles that entered service in August 2019. Those new subway cars have derailed six times near Wellington Station, the Investigators have reported. (Read more)

Are new rail cars win-win for China and Massachusetts? Not yet. — The Boston Globe (May 2021)

At a 2018 ceremony to celebrate delivery of the first two MBTA trains completed at a Springfield factory that’s operated by a Chinese company, China’s consul general from New York told distinguished guests — including Governor Charlie Baker — that the partnership showcased “China-US win-win cooperation and will benefit everyone’s life.” So far, the benefit ledger favors China. The state-owned Chinese rail manufacturer CRRC has a nearly $1 billion contract with the MBTA to build 404 cars to replace the entire fleet of aging Red and Orange line trains. But the project is behind schedule. Only a fraction of the 404 cars have been produced, and technical problems have forced them out of service. Because the company is owned by the Chinese government, critics suggested devices to track or eavesdrop on riders could be planted, creating “spy trains.” The other objection was that once China starts supplying America’s trains, they’ll have access to America’s infrastructure. Critics also questioned the contract because of China’s troubling record on worker and human rights. (Read more)

Orange Line Out of Service Through Mid-April, May Cause Commute Delays — NBC 10 (March 2021)

Last week, the MBTA pulled all of the new Orange and Red Line trains from service and replaced them with the shuttle buses after it derailed at Wellington Station in Medford. The Orange Line train derailed in a work zone at Wellington Station on March 16, according to officials, when a slow-moving northbound train was crossing to the southbound track to accommodate ongoing maintenance work. The new orange Line train cars, which went into service in August 2019, are more spacious and have wider doors and more safety features. But the subway trains have since derailed six times near Wellington Station. Officials told NBC10 Boston Investigators that their weight might have played a role in some of the accidents. (Read more)

MBTA to conduct safety inspections after CRRC derailment — Associated Press (March 2021)

The MBTA is temporarily pulling some of its newer subway cars out of service so it can conduct safety inspections after a derailment this week. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said it was pulling its next generation Orange Line cars and a six-car Red Line train out of service after Tuesday’s derailment at the Wellington Station in Medford. It is at least the third time the cars will be offline since they were brought into service in August 2019, The Boston Globe reported Wednesday. (Read more)

Long before pandemic, problems mounted for new Red and Orange line cars — The Boston Globe (Oct. 2020)

Long before the pandemic upended nearly every aspect of business life, the Springfield factory building hundreds of new Red and Orange line cars was having a bad year, with issues from the seemingly mundane to the confounding. Supplies for Red Line cars went missing for weeks; parts were mistakenly sent off-site; materials to finish seats were late to arrive; unfinished Orange Line cars stalled on the assembly line. And when the company, the Chinese national rail manufacturer known as CRRC, was able to deliver finished cars, two full train sets had to be taken out of service to diagnose a loud rubbing noise near the carriages. Public records obtained by the Globe reveal the extent of the problems at the Springfield plant, from difficulty managing inventory to longer-than-expected processes to install doors or complete important vehicle tests. (Read more)

Premier ‘concerned’ over Uighur labour links to Sydney’s new trains — Sydney Morning Herald (Oct. 2020)

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she’s concerned over revelations a Chinese-state owned company manufacturing Sydney trains has been linked to Uighur labour and says her government will take action if needed. China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), which was identified by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute as a beneficiary of the labour of potentially exploited minority workers, was also blacklisted by the US this year over national security concerns. (Read more)

New Red, Orange line trains will be at least a year late — Boston Globe (Oct. 2020)

The outdated Red and Orange line fleets won’t be fully replaced until 2024, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officials said Monday, acknowledging the timetable for the high-profile project has slipped by at least a year. The delay may come as little surprise to MBTA riders who have witnessed the new fleet’s slow introduction. Six years after the agency hired the Chinese rail manufacturer CRRC to build a factory in Springfield and assemble more than 400 subway cars, only three new Orange Line trains have entered service, the first more than a year ago. No Red Line trains have come online. (Read more)

China’s CRRC should be sanctioned Reuters (July 2020)

U.S. rail, steel and manufacturing groups are calling on the Trump administration to use its most powerful sanctioning tool against China’s CRRC after the Pentagon announced the world’s largest maker of passenger trains was backed by the Chinese military. In a letter sent on Tuesday, the Rail Security Alliance, the United Steelworkers and others urged U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to invoke the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) against the company, which has clinched key passenger rail contracts in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles by underbidding rivals. (Read more)

New Orange Line MBTA Trains Taken Out Of Service For Third Time — CBS News (March 2020)

The new Orange Line trains have been taken out of service again. The MBTA said Tuesday that two new six-car trains have been temporarily removed. “Inspectors identified a fault with the bolsters which is being corrected to ensure the vehicles are reliable & safe for the duration of their service lives. We expect to return them to service later this week,” the T said in a tweet. A bolster is a steel center beam between the side frames of the bottom truck of each car, an MBTA spokesperson told WBZ-TV. It allows the truck of the car to rotate as it navigates turns in the track. This is the third time the new train cars have been pulled out of service. Last September there were issues with the doors and then in December there were unusual noise issues. (Read more)

‘Uyghurs for sale’: Report exposes forced labour beyond Xinjiang, implicating major brands — The New Daily (March 2020)

The Chinese government has secretly transferred thousands of Uyghurs and other ethnic minority citizens from Xinjiang to factories across the country, according to a new report that implicates brands including Apple, BMW, Google, Nike and Samsung. At least 80,000 Uyghurs have been transferred out of Xinjiang and are working under conditions that “strongly suggest forced labour” at factories across China, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute report said. One factory where Uyghur workers were sent in July 2019 listed CRRC – a Chinese state-owned rail manufacturer currently building trains in Melbourne, Australia – among its customers. (Read more)

Metro’s next-generation rail cars will not be made in China — The Washington Post (Jan. 2020)

Metro is no longer considering China’s state-owned rail-car manufacturer to build its next series of rail cars after Congress, concerned about cybersecurity risks, passed legislation prohibiting transit agencies from making such purchases. “Congress took this issue seriously and took action in the recently passed defense bill, particularly since these rail cars will be used in our nation’s capital,” Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) said in a statement Friday. “There are credible security and foreign espionage issues associated with buying rail cars from a company controlled by the Chinese government — a government that’s tried to undermine U.S. competitiveness and national security.” (Read more)

MBTA Pulls New Orange Line Trains Due To ‘An Uncommon Noise’ From Wear Pad — CBS News (Dec. 2019)

The MBTA has taken its new Orange Line trains out of service again, this time over to an “uncommon noise” determined to be coming from wear pads. The six new cars debuted back in August. A month later, they were temporarily taken out of service because of a door problem. Now, engineers have noticed what they called “an uncommon noise” coming from the underside of the cars. Commuters told WBZ-TV Wednesday they’re disappointed and frustrated. (Read more)

‘Zone Rouge’: An army of children toils in African mines for CRRC railcars — NBC News (Nov. 2019)

Children as young as 4 years old perform long hours of labor-intensive work in often dangerous conditions to collect a mineral whose price will be inflated nearly 500 times by the time it leaves Madagascar’s shores. “Working in mines is considered one of the worst forms of child labor,” Claire van Bekkum, senior project manager at Terre des Hommes, said. “They’re in a hazardous situation health-wise and safety-wise.” The mica stored in CMA containers travels by ship across the Indian Ocean to Shanghai and then by truck to sites controlled by one of two large Chinese import companies. These firms turn the mineral shards into component parts that end up in products sold by such companies as CRRC, a Chinese government-owned rail equipment manufacturer that has signed deals to produce trains for Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston. (Read more)

Don’t Trust China to Make Our Subway Cars, Warns Industry — Bloomberg (Oct. 2019)

CRRC is the world’s largest maker of freight and passenger rail cars. Over the past decade, the state-owned Chinese company has gone from country to country underbidding rivals and taking business from giants such as Alstom, Bombardier, Siemens, and Hyundai’s rail unit, Rotem. The Chinese company effectively wiped out Australia’s homegrown rail car industry in less than a decade. Early in 2018, CRRC declared in a since-deleted tweet, “So far, 83% of all rail products in the world are operated by #CRRC or are CRRC ones. How long will it take for us conquering the remaining 17%?” (Read more)

New Orange Line trains taken out of service due to problem with door component — The Boston Globe (Sept. 2019)

There’s a reason commuters haven’t seen the brand-new Orange Line trains in operation this week: the vehicles have been temporarily taken out of service after there was an issue with a component on one car’s automatic door, a problem that prompted officials to replace the same piece of equipment on all the cars on both new trains. According to Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, a single component, known as a “bump stop,” on one car door leaf did not work properly last week. As a result, both six-car trains have been removed from service so that the component on all 144 doors of the 12 new train cars can be replaced. The problem was first reported by StreetsBlogMass, a transportation advocacy website. (Read more)

Next-generation $5 billion trains running months late as delays set in — The Age (June 2019)

The first of Melbourne’s new $5.2 billion fleet of next-generation trains is more than six months behind schedule as teething problems plague the massive public-private project. In 2016 the government signed a contract with a consortium of local firms and international manufacturers to make the shells of the trains in China and then assemble the vehicles in Victoria. The consortium, led by public-private partnership specialist Plenary, will see train car bodies manufactured by China’s CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles, one of the world’s biggest train manufacturers. Problems identified during assembly of the first train have included issues with its traction motor, electrics, and undercarriage. Seven carriages wrapped in white plastic sit in the yards next to the railway station awaiting assembly after arriving from China. The Opposition attacked Labor over the late delivery of the trains, saying it was likely they would also fall short on the local content promised. “They are going to force more of the work on these trains back to China,” the Opposition’s transport infrastructure spokesman David Davis said. (Read more)

Chuck Schumer is calling for a probe of the Chinese company making the new MTA and MBTA cars — Associated Press (May 2019)

The Senate’s top Democrat is calling on the federal government to step in and investigate whether a plan for new subway cars in New York City designed by a Chinese state-owned company could pose a threat to national security. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said in a statement to The Associated Press on Sunday that he’s asked the Commerce Department to conduct a “top-to-bottom review” after CRRC, one of the world’s largest train makers, won a design contest for new subway cars that would include “modern train control technology.” (Read more)

China to bid on D.C. Metro rail deal amid questions about Chinese SOE — Reuters (May 2019)

The world’s largest maker of passenger trains has roared into the U.S. market in recent years, clinching contracts in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles by underbidding rivals – including Canada’s Bombardier – by hundreds of millions of dollars. CRRC’s quick entry in U.S. markets has fueled a backlash, raising questions about whether China could spy on passengers if CRRC gets the D.C. project. (Read more)

China’s CRRC Corp wins LA metro contract worth up to $647 million — Reuters (March 2017)

Chinese rail car manufacturer CRRC Corp will build 64 subway cars for the Los Angeles metro as part of an order that could be worth as much as $647 million. This win reflects how CRRC has been steadily gaining ground in the United States. The company had won a $567 million Boston contract in 2014, and another bid worth $1.3 billion last year to build rail cars for Chicago. (Read more)

Even China’s own railway operator condemns CSR Sifang — The Independent (July 2016)

At the end of last year, the China Railway Corporation (CRC) held a company’s conference to discuss train safety issues. CRC observed that the trains which they are operating continue to be fault-prone. Fault incidents continue unabated, posing threats to passenger safety. CRC concluded that the decline in quality of the manufactured trains from the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) is the main cause. CRC is the national railway operator of China, under the regulation of the Ministry of Transport and the State Railways Administration. It operates rail commuter and freight transport services via several subsidiaries. CRRC, on the other hand, is China’s state owned rolling stock manufacturer. It has some 190,000 employees and is the largest rolling stock manufacturer in China as well as in the world. (Read more)

China’s CRRC wins $1.3 bln deal to supply Chicago rail cars — Reuters (March 2016)

China’s CRRC Corp has won a $1.31 billion order to build rail cars for Chicago, the city’s transit authority said, marking the train maker’s second major supplier deal in the United States. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) said on Wednesday that it had awarded the order to build 846 railcars to CRRC subsidiary CSR Sifang America, which had submitted the lowest bid. It did not name the other bidders. State-owned CRRC Corp, the world’s biggest train maker by revenue, was not available to comment on Thursday. Egged on by Beijing, China’s railway firms are aggressively bidding for contracts in overseas markets including the United States. (Read more)

China Trainmaker CRRC Plans to Double Its Overseas Sales — Bloomberg (Sept. 2015)

New York’s aging subway system is an irresistible draw for Yu Weiping, vice president of CRRC Corp., China’s biggest maker of railway equipment, who says he rides it every time he visits. CRRC plans to double overseas contracted sales to as much as $15 billion in the next five years, Yu said. He last week attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the company’s planned 150,000-square-foot (13,940-square-meter) plant in Springfield, Mass., that will assemble new cars for Boston’s subway. CSR Corp. and China CNR Corp., the nation’s two state-owned trainmakers, combined in May to form CRRC, which competes with Germany’s Siemens AG and France’s Alstom SA for rail contracts worldwide. The $567 million Boston deal that CNR won before the merger last year was China’s first major rail contract in North America, and was 50 percent cheaper than Bombardier Inc.’s bid. (Read more)