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MTA New York City Transit has withdrawn 298 Bombardier R179 rail cars from service as a result of reported door problems that could indicate a systemic problem with the cars.
On Dec. 24, 2019, a train operating on the C Line reported door trouble and lost propulsion, as it is designed to do so. Crews resolved the issue by isolating and shutting down the door, then removing the train from service, NYCT President Andy Byford said, according to a published transcript from a press conference held on the fleet withdrawal.
Bombardier conducted an internal review of the incident. On Jan. 2, the company notified the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) that the door's locking mechanism was not secure and that the door became ajar en route. Bombardier initially noted this was a “one off” incident. The locking mechanism was replaced.
However, a second incident occurred Jan. 3, when another train on the C line reported door trouble. Train crews locked the door panel and later removed the train from service.
On Jan. 7, Bombardier notified MTA that the incidents could be representative of a systemic problem. Shortly after, MTA grounded the entire fleet of R179 rail cars and replaced them with older, spare rail cars. There was no impact to service.
Now, a team of inspectors from Bombardier, subcontractor Kangni, LTK Engineering Services and NYCT are inspecting the cars.
“We will not rush any cars back into service until we are wholly satisfied that it is safe to do so,” Byford said. “So it will take as long as it safely takes because we want to ensure this process is completed as quickly and safely as possible.”
NYCT is elevating legal options against Bombardier, including the best way to recover costs incurred as a result of the incidents, Byford said.
Bombardier’s "latest and repeated failures with these cars to be wholly unacceptable,” Byford said. “We intend to hold Bombardier fully accountable for this issue, and for the other issues we have experienced over the course of this contract.”