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After contractor sues MBTA for tens of millions of dollars over commuter-rail safety program, MBTA sues contractor back for tens of millions of dollars

The MBTA this week sued Hitachi Rail, hired to install systems to keep commuter-rail trains from slamming into each other for $50 million for delays in finishing the system on routes in and out of North Station.

The MBTA's demand comes as a counter-claim to the the suit Hitachi filed against the T last month for $138 million in alleged cost overruns and delays on the project that the company blames on T bungling - down to failing to provide flaggers to protect Hitachi workers installing trackside sensors on active train lines.

The T, though, charges that Hitachi can't just wave a magic wand and assign its own shortcomings to the T, that, in fact, the T was forced to provide extra scrutiny to the work because of company problems, and that Hitachi's contract calls for penalties of up to $70,000 a day for delays, and the T wants to be made whole on a project now nearly nine years underway.

The T alleges problems started at the top of the Hitachi side of what became a nearly $500-million project across the entire MBTA commuter-rail system to install federally required systems on trains and along tracks that monitor train movements and can slow or even stop errant trains - with the problems concentrated on work along North Station routes.

Hitachi Rail had unusually high staff turnover during the project, including an entire change of the project team in 2020. Hitachi Rail has had at least 5 program managers, 4 project managers, 6 construction managers, 8 testing and commissioning managers and 6 design leads. During one 18-month stretch it had no project manager at all.

But also, the T charges:

Hitachi Rail Design Errors. Many, if not most, of Hitachi Rail's design submissions included material errors requiring multiple revisions to ensure that the ATC [automatic train control] system would function properly and safety.

The project experienced two shutdowns due to serious safety issues caused by Hitachi Rail or its subcontractors.

Hitachi Rail's Uncoordinated and Inefficient Use of Limited Support Services. Hitachi Rail repeatedly had to use limited support resources for rework and otherwise avoidable work, such as happened when Hitachi Rail failed to record critical data during installation and had to send personnel back into the field to develop federally- required as-in-service documents. The MBTA has provided and continues to provide extraordinarily high levels of support for the project, which has negatively impacted many other critical projects.

As a direct result of Hitachi Rail's mismanagement and failures to comply with contractual requirements, the MBTA has incurred millions of dollars in excess support costs and other costs and it has been delayed in its prosecution of other time-sensitive projects. The MBTA is continuing to incur damages attributable to Hitachi Rail.

PDF icon Complete MBTA answer and counterclaim245.5 KB


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The T, though, charges that Hitachi can't just wave a magic wand...

I see what you did there. Well done.

Voting closed 37

Magoo and Mrs magoo luvs said wand. Magoo

Voting closed 21

so hitachi is to blame for the crossing barriers either not coming down when fitchburg line trains go by my house, or alternatively, coming down when trains don't come through and then stay down for 20 minutes at a time? cool.

fix that stuff now before someone gets killed.

Voting closed 28

Sounds like you're gonna be dismissive of anyone elses problem so long as you can find one local to you.

Stop being part of the problem. We're either in this together, or you're in it alone and the rest of us will work together, around you.

Pick a lane. Or, in this case, a track.

Voting closed 20

Federal Railway Administration requires emergency contact information be posted at each rail crossing. This includes the official number of the crossing and the complaint phone number to call if something is broken. Have you looked for this sign and called it?

Alternatively, if it is a life-or-death matter, ex: a crossing not indicating a train is coming, you can always call 911.

Call it in! Every time!

Voting closed 21