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)

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)

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, commuters were delighted — 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)

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 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)

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)

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)

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)

‘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)

‘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)

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)

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)