Monday, February 28, 2011

BREDA, NEOPLAN, SIEMENS and now HYUNDAI-ROTEM - MBTA knows how to pick em

How many more times will the MBTA get burnt when they purchase new buses, trolleys and commuter rail equipment?????

In April of 2008 the MBTA awarded a $170 million contract to Hundai-Rotem for 75 new bi-level coaches for the commuter rail. 

Hyundai Rotem, the world's third-largest urban train car maker, said Sunday it won a $170 million contract to build 75 bi-level subway cars for the Boston metro, the oldest and one of the largest transit systems in the United States.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) awarded the contract to Rotem USA, which is Hyunda-Kia Automotive Group's train maker, to replace the city's old commuter rail coaches to new ones by 2012.

The fourth-largest subway system in the U.S. serves a population of 2.6 million
OK they may an honest mistake saying they would be for the subway, but more importantly they said the cars would arrive in 2012.

The article also says..
The train maker said it will eye more lucrative deals in the U.S. once its Pennsylvania factory is completed by the end of 2008. Rotem started building a plant in Philadelphia last year in compliance with ``Buy America'' laws, which state that roughly 60 percent of car manufacturing and assembly must be done in the U.S.

The global train market is estimated at $35 billion. Rotem is the third-largest seller of urban metro passenger cars, after Canada's Bombardier and France's Alstom.

Well the Philadelphia plant is up and running...but this morning the Philadelphia Inquirer says they have MAJOR production problems at the plant which is currently building commuter rail trains for SEPTA which is the transit system serving Philadelphia.

Problems persist at South Philadelphia railcar plant

Hyundai-Rotem, the world's third-largest manufacturer of urban mass-transit vehicles, also has contracts to build railcars for the Boston and Los Angeles transit systems. The Boston cars are to be assembled at the Philadelphia plant.

 The railcars for Los Angeles are being assembled in Southern California

One thing seems certain, the 2012 date of delivery is just a suggestion as they are already one year behind schedule in Philadelphia.

Now SEPTA at least is lucky that the cars are being assembled in Philadelphia and they can watch production daily. How much is it going to cost the T to have people shipped to Philadelphia to babysit their cars being assembled? But more importantly is why is the MBTA giving a major contract with a company with no track record in the US?

One would think after the BREDA fiasco on the Green Line, a 3 year delay waiting for Siemens to build the new Blue Line cars, and the Neoplan trackless trolley fiasco they would learn.....BUT NO.

I suppose if there is any silver lining to this, Philadelphia will get the lemons and the Boston trains will be much better....whenever they arrive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Greetings from Philadelpia! Please read the Inquirer article to see what you are in for. The company met the minimum requirement for US laborers. It's paying them $12/hour and providing Korean only management, some of whom do not speak English. The factory manager, in addressing concerns over language barriers, was straight up derotatory regarding the US laborers. SEPTA says the problems are between Hyndai-Rotem and it's employees - way to manage the supply chain guys! It's a disgrace. As a Philadelphia rail rider and a supporter of US job creation (who isn't) - I'm outraged. Good luck to you in Boston! If there is anyway to reverse course, you should encourage your public transit (so called) leaders to do so.