MBTA boss cites new ‘spirit of partnership” with Chinese train maker

There’s still no final delivery date, but after a long stretch of upheaval afflicting promised MBTA Red and Orange Line vehicles, the agency’s top boss on Tuesday praised a “spirit of partnership” from the company building the trains.

MBTA General Manager Phil Eng said the T has now received 94 out of 152 promised Orange Line cars and 14 out of 252 expected Red Line cars under its contract with Chinese firm CRRC. Dozens more Red and Orange Line cars are either currently under production in Springfield, where CRRC operates a manufacturing facility, or sitting on site waiting for final assembly.

While officials work to “reset this contract” following a series of delays and malfunctions, Eng said recently completed vehicles “continue to exceed the contract requirements” for safety and quality.

“They have committed to delivering this, and I believe that what we’re seeing is a spirit of partnership,” Eng told the MBTA’s Board of Directors.

CRRC added “senior management from China” to its assembly facility in Springfield, Eng said, calling it “a key part” of recent improvements.

The nearly $900 million contracts, part of an effort that began under Gov. Deval Patrick to improve capacity and frequency on the pair of subway lines, have repeatedly run into problems, including manufacturing issues and pandemic-fueled supply chain hiccups.

CRRC was originally expected to deliver all Orange Line cars by January 2022 and all Red Line cars by September 2023. The most recent update punted those dates to December 2023 for the Orange Line and September 2026 for the Red Line, though T officials have said even those dates are subject to delay.

Jeff Gonneville, the T’s deputy general manager whom Eng tapped to serve as “lead negotiator” with CRRC, previously said the contracts include a clause incurring damages of $500 per car per day late.

Without elaborating, Eng said Tuesday that “there are liquidated damages that are being accrued as a result of the schedule.”

— Chris Lisinski / State House News Service

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post The Impact of Driver Fatigue on Truck Accidents
Next post Beginner’s Guide to Progress Notes in Disability & Aged Care