New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Dec 15, 2016 2:22 pm

Head-end View wrote:I can't believe the 1800's are going to be replaced. To me they are still the "new cars" on the Red Line. But considering that they've been in-service since around 1994, I guess they will be close to 30 years old by 2023 when the new cars will finally arrive.

I wonder if buying from a company with no U.S. history is wise. (sound familiar?) I hope the Chinese build better cars than Hyundai-Rotem did or MBTA will get screwed yet again with another garbage product and wish they'd gone with Kawasaki or Bombardier. You'd think they would have learned this lesson the first time around.........


It's first-generation early-90's AC propulsion vs. whatever perfected nth generation we're in now. Just enough evolution has taken place since '94 that they can't guarantee a life extension of >10 years for the 18's before declining parts supply starts to pinch off the upper-bound estimates for how long they could go. So while they're pretty much the template for most metro stock that came after them, the economics proved better going for full 30-year life tacked onto the end of the CRRC order when unit price is at its lowest, and having a complete Red fleet (first time ever?) that can trainline with all other cars. It's not that they couldn't rebuild and get perfectly good life extension...it's that cost-over-lifetime was hands down better this way. Every procurement cycle is different on how the planets align on rebuild vs. buying new. Sometimes it favors rebuild. Sometimes it even favors multiple rebuilds. And sometimes it favors one-and-done. Technical feasibility doesn't play into it, nor is there the kind of aftermarket for subway stock fueling any "retire no car before its time" golden rule like...say...a freight locomotive that can get passed down umpteen times from the largest Class I to the smallest shortline backstopping a favorable depreciation rate and near-immortal parts supply. This is just one of those times where numbers got crunched, and the numbers pointed convincingly in favor of one-and-done.


They're not bound to it since these are options. If the CRRC's stink they're not going to go through with replacing the 18's and they will about-face to RFP for a rebuild of them before the 15/16/17 replacements are totally at the back end of their options. It's just if the new cars are (hopefully) par or better quality there's no economic justification for nostalgia. (Besides, stainless steel is worth a whole lot more in scrap than aluminum right now.)
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby Head-end View » Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:05 pm

Thanks F-line; a very good analysis of the issue. Actually sounds very similar to NY/NJ's PATH system replacing 1987 built (PA-4) cars along with much older ones, around 2010 to create an entirely uniform new fleet. I was shocked back then too at seeing those only 23 year old cars (that I liked a lot) being retired. Actually some of them were bumped down to work trains. But at least they bought from Kawasaki if I remember right. :-D
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby BandA » Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:12 am

Would some of the relatively new old cars make a good fleet for a start-up service somewhere?
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby jwhite07 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:40 am

If you have been following the NETransit/Transit History/Roll Sign MBTA vehicle inventory over the years, you'll notice that for much of the career of the 01800s, there's been at least one pair of cars out of service long term awaiting parts. Presently that pair is 01816-01817. Seems like availability of some critical part or other (I don't know specifically which one/s) has long been an issue. Also, while the AC propulsion system on the 01800s was one of the first ever in the US rapid transit industry, it's 1990s technology and by now several generations into obsolescence.

I suppose if there's an existing rapid transit system out there somewhere which by happy and utter coincidence has the same or close to the same clearance profile, floor height, operating voltage, and track gauge and really needs some cars bad enough, there might be a market for them. But in this industry of rampant lack of standardization that might be a hard fit, pardon the pun. And anyone who is investing the stratospheric amount of money necessary to build a new-from-scratch rapid transit line or system isn't going to equip it with 20+ year old cars - while they're literally pouring billions of dollars into holes in the ground, what's a hundred million or so more for brand shiny new cars?

Scrap 'em all. Keep a few 01700s for work train duty.

IMHO it's an unusually smart move by the T to just wipe the slate clean and start over with a standardized fleet for the Red Line. That would be the first time since the 01400s solely ruled the Cambridge-Dorchester Line between 1963 and 1969.

Now, of course, we all just have to hope the CRRC cars aren't junk. That's a very big deal, because if these things don't work, it will be a generation or more until we again have a reliable rapid transit system in Boston.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:45 pm

jwhite07 wrote:Now, of course, we all just have to hope the CRRC cars aren't junk. That's a very big deal, because if these things don't work, it will be a generation or more until we again have a reliable rapid transit system in Boston.


That, or the T had better have a bulletproof exit clause (and someone like Bombardier or Kawasaki had better not have burned their bid designs, and had better be desperate enough for business to make the order happen quickly). I'm not holding my breath though.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby ns3010 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 11:49 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:They're not bound to it since these are options. If the CRRC's stink they're not going to go through with replacing the 18's and they will about-face to RFP for a rebuild of them before the 15/16/17 replacements are totally at the back end of their options. It's just if the new cars are (hopefully) par or better quality there's no economic justification for nostalgia. (Besides, stainless steel is worth a whole lot more in scrap than aluminum right now.)


This is a new contract, so they are bound in this case. The only options with the original order were the #2 replacements, which were sealed a while ago. This is a newly negotiated contract that reused the specs and similar pricing to the options so that they could lock in the order in case another agency places an order after the T. Unfortunately, in the even that the cars turn out to be crap, the T would only be able to rely on the contract clauses and/or lawsuits to do what has to be done.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby RailBus63 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:28 am

Bramdeisroberts wrote:
jwhite07 wrote:Now, of course, we all just have to hope the CRRC cars aren't junk. That's a very big deal, because if these things don't work, it will be a generation or more until we again have a reliable rapid transit system in Boston.


That, or the T had better have a bulletproof exit clause (and someone like Bombardier or Kawasaki had better not have burned their bid designs, and had better be desperate enough for business to make the order happen quickly). I'm not holding my breath though.


There will be no lawsuits or exiting the contract unless this deal goes very, very wrong. By insisting on locating the plant in-state, the commonwealth is very invested in the success of this project - they will give CNR lots of opportunity to get through the inevitable issues that will arise and show that the contract was an overall win. This is a very different dynamic than we saw with Breda or Rotem.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby BandA » Mon Dec 26, 2016 12:52 pm

Is the assembly plant being built? Are workers being trained? Vendors lined up? What is CRRC's track record with overseas plants? Are they bringing in good executives from US & China?
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby BostonUrbEx » Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:39 pm

SPRINGFIELD -- CRRC MA has a deal to manufacture new subway cars for Los Angeles, and the Chinese-owned company plans to do final assembly on those cars at its Springfield plant.


http://www.masslive.com/business-news/i ... geles.html
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby dieciduej » Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:21 pm

Something under wraps!
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:34 pm

jwhite07 wrote:If you have been following the NETransit/Transit History/Roll Sign MBTA vehicle inventory over the years, you'll notice that for much of the career of the 01800s, there's been at least one pair of cars out of service long term awaiting parts. Presently that pair is 01816-01817. Seems like availability of some critical part or other (I don't know specifically which one/s) has long been an issue. Also, while the AC propulsion system on the 01800s was one of the first ever in the US rapid transit industry, it's 1990s technology and by now several generations into obsolescence.
Scrap 'em all. Keep a few 01700s for work train duty.

Now, of course, we all just have to hope the CRRC cars aren't junk. That's a very big deal, because if these things don't work, it will be a generation or more until we again have a reliable rapid transit system in Boston.

I could sense CRRC might be the next Rotem.

Should have stuck to BBD all along, since by analogy, the 01800s are R110B based, the next gen could be a R179-based fleet. As for the 01800s, they have the same GE AC traction as the R110Bs (a GTO system). GE no longer offers new AC equipment or support and has been moving out of the rail transit market in recent decades, focusing on Class I diesels and rail control equipment.

Head-end View wrote:a very good analysis of the issue. Actually sounds very similar to NY/NJ's PATH system replacing 1987 built (PA-4) cars along with much older ones, around 2010 to create an entirely uniform new fleet. I was shocked back then too at seeing those only 23 year old cars (that I liked a lot) being retired. Actually some of them were bumped down to work trains.
A large majority of the PA4s are now work motors, replaced remaining K-cars and PA3s in work service.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby orange1234 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:29 pm

R36 Combine Coach wrote:I could sense CRRC might be the next Rotem.


How do you sense that CRRC could be the next Rotem? All current evidence points to the contrary: the project is currently on schedule, the COO made positive statements about the company, and the T negotiated a sole-source procurement with them for 132 additional Red Line cars to replace the #3 fleet.

R36 Combine Coach wrote:Should have stuck to BBD all along, since by analogy, the 01800s are R110B based, the next gen could be a R179-based fleet. As for the 01800s, they have the same GE AC traction as the R110Bs (a GTO system). GE no longer offers new AC equipment or support and has been moving out of the rail transit market in recent decades, focusing on Class I diesels and rail control equipment.


Stick to BBD at double the cost and a very high chance of delays? There are rumors floating around that BBD is disqualified from future NYC subway car procurements due to their performance with the R179 contract. The TTC also isn't very happy about the delays with their order of LRVs. If CRRC hadn't bid, Kawasaki would have won the contract.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby BandA » Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:48 pm

BBD corporation has had some financial difficulties, which could possibly affect their work on future projects or their ability to cover warranty work. CRRC is setting up a brand new assembly plant with brand new employees. When Rotem set up a brand new US assembly plant they had quality problems and problems with the quality of the Korean supervisory employees, according to what I have read on the internet. What is CRRC's track record at their assembly plants in other countrys? CRRC is based in a communist country where workers have to comply with communist party rules.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:59 am

CRRC has a very solid rep for metro subway cars. That's where their pre-merger predecessors got their start. While this is their first North American order, they have a huge installed base in Asia and the Middle East. Check out their HRT customer list (all 6 pages of 'em): http://www.crrcgc.cc/g6633.aspx. They do pretty much all other types of passenger rolling stock as well: LRV's, push-pull locos, coaches, and HSR trainsets...but heavy rail subways are far and away their bread-and-butter. There shouldn't be any fear about their component manufacturing acumen. Only the usual concerns about the systems integration (and even that isn't nearly as scary for T heavy rail as it is for for T LRV's & commuter rail orders, because our HRT cars are so world-generic mechanically).

As for "Rotem potential" with Springfield, they've been hiring and training employees for a full year now with recurring job fairs...since well before they broke ground on the new plant. New recruits are spending their first year on the job doing intensive classroom training that includes a trip to China to get some hands-on experience with the components they'll be assembling. That's way, way above-and-beyond the level (and cost) of training that typical manufacturers will engage in. And that's mainly because...1) they don't want to @#$% this one up like Rotem did (and Nippon-Sharyo is doing with Amtrak) and drive themselves clear out of the domestic market before they ever get established, and 2) they want Springfield to be a main base of domestic operations and not just some fly-by-night "Buy Local" pop-up factory that idles as soon as the job is done. Heavy recruitment from local colleges and whatnot because they aim to attract a younger and local set of workers who'll want to make a full career out of working for them, rather than hiring term-of-project workers (also can do lower starting salaries that way while still getting a workforce inclined to stay awhile). Hence, the extreme up-front investment in apprenticeship a full year-plus out.

Rotem's main problem--especially with that troubled Philly assembly plant that bungled the T and SEPTA orders--was that they did negligent vetting of their recruits. The operation was written off as a term-of-project afterthought, and they took anybody who had tangential experience on their resume without enough double-checking and without paying enough attention to whether that experience translated to railcar assembly. They got what they paid for: crap-awful integration, spaghetti electrical from incompetent electrician recruits, poor documentation of the work because the project managers weren't up-to-snuff, and too many untraceable faults for warranty service to sort out. The fact that the component fabrication in Korea and second-source component vendor vetting wasn't real high-quality either just worsened all the issues with incompetent assembly. Rotem has pretty much made themselves a case study in how NOT to introduce themselves to the domestic market, so everything CRRC are doing with Springfield (ditto many other foreign builders sizing up first-time pushes into North America) is a direct response to that Rotem debacle case study.



The only thing I'd be a little leery of trusting CRRC with at this early stage is a bid for the next commuter rail coach order. They one thing they haven't done before is FRA-compliant rolling stock. The mainly Asian countries they've done push-pull sets for to-date are countries that have nowhere near the weight class of the North American mainline network. They haven't even cracked the Euro market yet, and mainland Europe is the closest match in heft to North America where designs are somewhat easily adaptable. Asian stock is more or less two orders of magnitude away from FRA-compliants, so they need to get their rep established at least with Euroland-class push-pulls and MU's before it's safe to exhale on a low bid @ Springfield for the next K-car clones or an xMU order. Which sucks for the T when the most experienced domestic-market builders like Kawasaki, etc. are too swamped with ongoing orders to carve out the extra factory bandwidth at any attractive bid price.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby Arlington » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:11 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:CRRC has a very solid rep for metro subway cars.

Thanks for that reassuring overview. I am feeling ever-increasing anticipation and optimism
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Rotem's main problem--especially with that troubled Philly assembly plant that bungled the T and SEPTA orders--was that they did negligent vetting of their recruits. The operation was written off as a term-of-project afterthought, and they took anybody who had tangential experience on their resume without enough double-checking and without paying enough attention to whether that experience translated to railcar assembly. They got what they paid for: crap-awful integration, spaghetti electrical from incompetent electrician recruits,

The most powerfully-sad image from the Rotems (maybe the SEPTA order) was rookie assemblers drilling screws *through* wiring harnesses, shorting them miserably.
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