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The MBTA is supposed to be getting four new subway cars a month from that plant in Springfield, but it hasn't gotten any since September
By adamg on Sun, 01/15/2023 - 5:38pm
The Globe talks to former workers at the CRRC plant in Springfield about why they're former workers, notes that the T has not gotten a single new Orange or Red Line car from there since September.
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I am shocked… SHOCKED!!!
Keeping my expectations regarding anything MBTA low…
That article is about the most damning thing the Globe has written about the T in years. It's amazing the T let it get to this point. And it hardly sounds like a CRRC cares at all.
Plenty of blame to go around but the past doesn't really matter. What does the T do from here? If they cancel the contract, it's going to be 10 years before new trains arrive. And these new cars will forever be lemons.
Credit where credit is due, Cybar was right.
Just don't remind him who was
Just don't remind him who was the MBTA Gneral Manager when the Orange/Red request for bids were issued and the contract was awarded. Here's a clue: it wasn't her first rodeo. And the transportation secretary who was in charge of awarding the contract to CRRC: Rich Davey
The issue here is that the
The issue here is that the state put in an absurd clause wrt a local factory being built. That wasn't the MBTA that was the politicians making sausage to get a deal done. As a result of that requirement, literally no established companies in this country applied (since they all have working factories already!)
The MBTA was told to choose between a giant douche and a turd sandwich and are now being told they're responsible for the failure.
No offense to Cybah but being
No offense to Cybah but being right the MBTA is going to f up a procurement is like being right the sun is going to rise in the east.
Patrick made a bad decision,
Patrick made a bad decision, but Baker made it worse. Clearly he never had the people in place at MBTA who could monitor this project, which would be in keeping with his general strategy of understaffing.
I can't imagine federal policy regarding China is making this any better either.
It's even worse
According to the (unofficial, but generally considered to have reliable info sourced from T employees) TransitHistory roster, the MBTA hasn't gotten any new cars delivered since June.
And the T is supposed to be getting eight new cars a month—four for the Orange Line and four for the Red Line. (In theory, the Orange Line order was supposed to be done in January 2022, so by now they'd be getting eight Red Line cars a month.)
There are currently 78 new Orange Line cars delivered, of which 74 are in service. (Two are still in testing, which does not bode well given that nothing's been delivered since June, and another two are awaiting warranty repair after the March 2021 derailment.) Even if CRRC miraculously gets their act together and starts cranking them out at a rate of four a month right now, we're still looking at late 2024 before the order is done.
And that doesn't even get to the Red Line fiasco. There are only 12 cars delivered out of 252, and as of a September update to the MBTA board (the most recent such update) only 32 of the car shells had been fabricated. That update says CRRC projects that the Red Line order will be complete in "Summer 2025" (nearly two years late) but I'm highly skeptical of that schedule.
At this point I have to wonder if the T can amend the contract to allow some of the cars to be fully assembled at CRRC's facilities in China (as the "pilot" cars for each of the lines were) in order to speed up production (and hopefully improve quality). Per that September update, all the Orange Line car shells have been sent to Springfield so the ship has literally sailed on those, but it could be an option for the Red Line. The orders are being fully funded by the Commonwealth so they could impose the ill-advised "Made in Massachusetts" requirement, which means that federal "Buy America" rules don't apply. That's probably a political nonstarter as it's definitely a bad look for the state to move work from Springfield to China—but the T desperately needs these cars.
Realistically, this is going
Realistically, this is going to end up in court for years and then CRRC will dissolve their USA based company and good luck going after them in the Chinese courts. We have gotten 78 trains and that's probably all we're going to get. 100 million dollar per broken train. Nice.
June was the last time any cars were delivered (that fact was reported to the Board in September, and there has been no change since that report).
The MBTA has a money problem
They just need more money.
Do you understand
The reason why the T is in such bad shape today is because governors of both parties tried to find ways to save money on the T for the past 30 years or so.
The T today is the result of decades of deferred maintenance in a foolish attempt to save money in the short term.
Even this CCRC debacle is because they went with the lowest bidder. And just think how angry people like you would be if they spent $200 million more to go with another vendor.
gets a bad rap. The bids are to meet specific specifications. If two companies promise you the same product, which you custom designed, why would you pay the company that says they can do it but for more money? If you wanted a higher quality product or a better set of features, you should have included those specifications.
Of course, the contract needs to have teeth for oversight to protect you from the lowest bidder delivering substandard and out of spec product. And then action needs to be taken when there is a problem, including termination of the contract if there is legal cause to do so.
But construction quality and specifications are not synonymous. And bickering about fixing construction deficiencies is much more time consuming and expensive then it being done correctly initially, irrespective of whatever is in the contract.
There was nothing inherently wrong with the CCRC bid provided the state had the ability to carefully monitor the project, something the state is notoriously horrible at doing.
as an old carpenter once said to me
"The quality will linger once the memory of the price is forgotten."
Bombardier cars are still running. Why trust a newly-created entity for such a critical function?
Because ‘Built in MA’
If two companies promise you
Because your designer and/or whoever you have reviewing bids would have industry experts who would have done a general cost estimate as part of the design process. They'd flag unrealistically low bids as potential problems. If the bidder couldn't document to your satisfaction why their bid wasn't BS, you'd be free (and probably wise) to go with a higher bid.
I bet I’d be less angry when they’re hitting schedule
And budget milestones and not pumping out garbage and way behind schedule.
Who’s supposed to be overlooking this project at the T? Why are they not fired right now? Sure the T has had a money issue for the last couple of decades, but the management there can’t get out of their own way too. At some point it’s not a money issue, it’s a management issue.
You're not wrong
But the Governor and legislature are as much to blame. It wasn't the T's idea to require the new Red/Orange cars to be built in Massachusetts, a state without any preexisting heavy rail building industries. And it was the management team that Baker appointed that was asleep while CCRC didn't even get ISO certification. I'm sure plenty of T managers are prohibited from doing things that would actually improve the system but would run afoul of existing contracts or laws they are helpless to change.
Everything is horrible. The management sucks, the state government tacks on unrelated stipulations to contracts, and the T is lacking the money to take on huge maintenance projects that are desperately needed.
But that's all in the past. The question is what will Beacon Hill do to resolve this quagmire. It won't be cheap.
They are getting a new GM. We'll see....................
The power to fix things is
The power to fix things is with Beacon Hill, not whatever new fall guy is hired as GM.
Like Putin replacing his generals every week
Because that's been such an effective fix in the past.
Who’s supposed to be
Probably retired to Hawaii like Grabauskas did.
They've been starved for
They've been starved for money since the 1990s, but that really doesn't mean they need more.
Back after the 2015 winter debacle, it was revealed they have, literally, more money than they know what to do with. Money was being put into their capital budget and simply not spent. Projects weren't being planned, RFPs weren't going out, bids weren't coming in, and so on. The MBTA's internal processes are so broken and uncoordinated that they can't even figure out how to effectively spend the money they get—not even to waste or embezzle it! The MBTA is that bad at their jobs.
What's the solution? Give them more money and it's not even going to get pissed down a hole—it's probably just going to sit there. Put the whole "authority" into administration? Fire them all and start over?
Yet another government good
Yet another government good deal gone bad.
So if I'm not mistaken, they
So if I'm not mistaken, they have $800 million that used to be ours, and we have just a few low-quality railcars in exchange.
Where's the rest of that money today?