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Report: Gov. Healey expedites MBTA rail-car contract with CRRC

China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. has delivered just 90 trainsets of the total 404 ordered in 2014. The governor's team will now have a physical presence at the company's Springfield facility to ensure delivery.
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Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey has put together a team to expedite delivery of trainsets ordered under the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's $870.5 million contract with China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. (CRRC), which has failed to deliver more than 300 cars since production stopped entirely in July 2022 due to manufacturing defects, according to a Boston Herald report.

CRRC is nearly two years behind schedule on the contract signed in 2014. Delivery of remaining cars was expected in December 2023 and September 2026, but the company will miss those deadlines, the Herald reported. CRRC could face daily fines of $500 per day per late car. But Healey said she won't focus on enforcing those fines and instead will pressure the Chinese state-owned enterprise to deliver the cars.

The governor's team of independent experts and engineers will expedite delivery of the remaining 314 cars and have a physical presence at CRRC's manufacturing facility in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Herald reported. So far, 78 of 152 Orange Line cars and 12 of 252 Red Line cars have been delivered.

"There are operational issues that need to be addressed and problems are being corrected as they occur. The team will have a constant presence at the facility," Healey said.

The cars are manufactured in China and shipped to the United States for final fabrication, but the company "didn't actually have the capability to fabricate as quickly or in the way it needed to," Healey added.

Healey has engaged three companies to form the independent working group: engineering firm Hatch and law firms WilmerHale and Holland and Knight. The cost will be deducted from the project's existing budget, the Herald reported.

Delivery is set to resume this month after it stopped entirely in July 2022 due to manufacturing defects, the Herald reported. CRRC only delivered nine of the 34 two-car Orange Line trainsets it was contracted to deliver last month.

The company reused safety-critical hardware on the cars and asked for approval to bypass inspections when cars were missing materials, the Herald reported. Additionally, CRRC "force-closed" quality assurance reports issued by MBTA without making the necessary repairs, according to a May 31, 2022, document.

The team will "figure out how to retool things at the facility and how to operationalize that so we can expedite the production and the delivery of these cars as quickly as possible," Healey said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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