Korean train company: American women more petite than expected, Americans are slobs

The Globe reports that Hyundai-Rotem, the company that delivered new commuter-rail coaches that the T isn't happy with, plans to bid on the $1-billion project to replace superannuated Orange and Red Line trains.

A company official said the commuter-rail coaches proved harder than expected to deliver in part because the American workers they had to hire kinda sucked, even after company officials learned to stop slapping them and to provide break-room air conditioning in the summer. But also:

The first woman Hyundai Rotem recruited to test the window had no difficulty opening it, they said. But the T wanted to make sure that a more petite woman could also open the window - and that second woman could not get the window open, the company said. ...

Another point of conflict has been the bathrooms on the coaches. Choi said passengers could be at fault for malfunctions, not Hyundai Rotem.

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    Hell. No.

    That 2019 deadline will probably end up late, and we'll probably have a Ansaldo-Breda type of fiasco on our hands. We need quality Red/Orange trains, and we need them in a timely manner.

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    This requirement to build the

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    This requirement to build the cars in Massachusetts is beyond stupid.

    Maybe if we had a local railcar manufacturer already, they could get some preference in the bidding process. But making a foreign manufacturer build a factory from the ground up for a one-time project...really, who thinks of this stuff? And why does nobody else have the courage to call out stupidity when they see it?

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    It's Too Bad The Presidents Of All Rapid Transit Agencies ...

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    ... didn't get together at a conference sometime, and form a committee to design a universal rapid transit car that would have all the features everyone needed, and also be compatible with all of the systems.

    After this so-called "Presidents Conference Committee" determined the best design, the trains could be quickly mass produced, at a much lower cost than bidding on every individual city differently.

    There must be some reason nobody ever tried that.

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    They tried

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    Remember the Boeing-Vertrol Green Line cars?

    That was our government trying to do just that. And yeah it didn't work out well, as the cars were riddled with problems. The MBTA quickly tried to replace those cars by the early-1980s because they were so badly designed and made. (to be replaced with Kinky-Sharyo in 1987/1993, and then again in 2001 by the Breda cars)

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    Railfan Sarcasm…

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    Presidents Conference Committee = PCC = the antiques still running daily on the Mattapan High Speed Line, San Francisco, and until very recently, NJ Transit.

    The Boeing LRV, the next attempt at this you cite, was a disaster however. Mostly because they (like everything during that era) decided to throw out decades of learned knowledge and start over from scratch, because obviously that's the best way *eyeroll*.

    SIEMENS, PLEASE BID ON THIS ORDER! PLEASE!

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    Glazed over

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    Yeah I glazed over "Presidents Conference Committee" and didn't realize it meant PCC (yeah.. bad rail fan, bad *spank*)

    The Boeing LRV's were disastrous tho.

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    The Feds shouldn't try to

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    The Feds shouldn't try to prop up struggling defense contractors by having them reinvent the wheel for a product they have no experience with.

    But that's not the same as managers of transit agencies working together.

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    PCC

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    That was probably one of the exceptional times when such a "committee" actually produced something worthy and reliable.

    It also helped that there was still enough institutional knowledge remaining at the time (1930s) that it wasn't completely doomed from the start. Nowadays, Americans are good at producing locomotives (GE, EMD) but they have no fucking clue how to build a passenger train.

    So "Buy America" tends to make everything more expensive and more broken. A committee of the clueless is not going to help anything.

    We'd be best off getting a good, experienced company from a foreign nation where they still know how to build trains, and let them use their normal facilities for the job. That would save so much money and headache that we can then spend those resources on economic development locally, not to mention, the economic benefits of having much better T service.

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    Build, or assemble?

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    I agree that the Massachusetts built (or assembled) requirement will be tough, but foreign companies have been assembling light rail cars in the U.S. between Plattsburg and Sacramento (or would it be Long Beach) for decades. So far it has worked out, and its quite common. I would imagine that if a European or Asian company is looking at moving into the U.S. market, getting this contract would be good. Finding a location wouldn't be too bad. I would imagine Springfield, maybe Pittsfield. There are a lot of industrial areas in the state that would love to get the business. Heck, reading the article, it would appear that Rotem might want to decamp from Philly. Also from the article, the T probably wants to save on the costs of going to the plant and breathing down the neck of the supplier.

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    They need to be disqualified from the start

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    No way should this company be given another shot at building anything for the MBTA so soon after the colossal f-up of the commuter rail coaches. There has to be some mechanism in the bidding and review to take into account past performance and DQ a firm even if they come in with the low bid...right? If not, we need to lobby for one ASAP. I don't want to be waiting until 2024 for new red/orange line trains and then have them arrive broken and over budget.

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    In a perfect world

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    this is exactly the type of thing that the prequalification system would address even before the bids are submitted. Unfortunately, the MBTA is obsessed with the idea of low bid, and equally paranoid that a prospective contractor would file a lawsuit should they be disqualified from bidding. Textbook example of the old saying "penny wise and pound foolish".

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    Yeah because of us, the tax payers.

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    Uh. They are obsessed with the idea of a low bid because the taxpayers and politicians mandate it.

    No one wants to hear how a lower bid was offered, but a more expensive one was used instead. Taxpayers only see dollar signs, and not quality And the MBTA and its management would be strung up and crucified for this. When the MBTA operates at a profit, then they don't have to go with the lowest bidder, but until then. Low bid rules.

    (not saying I agree with it, I'll take quality any day. But you know, as well as I do, you're dammed if you do, and dammed if you don't sorta deal?)

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    Speaking as a former civil servant...

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    They are obsessed with the idea of a low bid because the taxpayers and politicians mandate it.

    There is a phrase used in RFPs for "qualified" bidders. That basically means that the bidder is able to prove that they can actually perform the work that is required to the standards mandated. Or, to quote Black's Law Dictionary:

    A bidder who meets the requirements that enables them to bid for items. There is a minimum set of requirements or qualifications that must have been reached. It may include financial ability, reputation, work ability and any management skills that may be required.

    Therefore, so long as the RFP wasn't written by a complete hack or kickback recipient, this sort of thing should already be addressed.

    (By the way, I was a civil servant in a non-MA city, but the procedures are pretty much the same.)

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    Window?

    Windows that open? That would be nice!
    Or just boring emergency windows that open?

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    Why are the T and the

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    Why are the T and the manufacturer arguing over which particular woman should be able to open the window? What kind of engineering specification is this?

    There should be a standard set by the federal government -- X newtons of force applied at Y angle to a handle Z inches above the ground.

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    We need to use whoever is

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    We need to use whoever is building the new MTA trains. They are pretty nice.

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    I'd suggest they just buy

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    I'd suggest they just buy more of the 1990s-era Bombardier Red Line cars. Those are the best cars the T owns.

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    There is a rumor

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    that Siemens (who built the BL cars) isn't interested in the bid. I don't know if its because they are too busy replacing all of Amtraks engines (electric now, looks very likely they will get the diesel contract as well) or because the order is comparativly small. It would be excellent if the T just said that since they just bought the BL cars from them they will get this contract for parts interchangeability. Ahh well

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    Bathrooms?

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    Am I reading this right? There are going to be bathrooms on Orange and Red line cars? Or is my reading comp just completely diminished?

    It's a little early for April Fools Day, but that has to be a joke right?

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    Bathrooms At Wonderland

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    FYI - There are separate rest rooms for both men and women at Wonderland Station. They are located on far side of the Inbound platform (fare paid area), just opposite the old Blue Line train in my picture above. For bathing, there's a beautiful beach nearby.

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    Many eastern culture calls

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    Many eastern culture calls restrooms as bathroom. It can be just a restroom; not a bathroom for taking shower.

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