China Northern wins Boston metro car order

23 Oct 2014

USA: Massachusetts Department of Transportation board voted to award the CNR MA joint venture of China CNR Corp and CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles a $430·2m contract to supply 284 metro cars for Boston’s Red and Orange lines on October 22. An option for 58 cars would take the value to $566·6m.

CNR said the order means it now has global coverage, having contracts in Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America and Australasia.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority had received proposals from Bombardier, CAF, CNR MA, CSR Qingdao Sifang, Hyundai Rotem and Kawasaki Rail Car, which were rated for technical and manufacturing experience, past performance, quality assurance and price. CAF did not meet performance guarantee requirements, while CSR was rejected on technical and manufacturing grounds.

CNR MA submitted the lowest bid. Because it is CNR’s first contract to supply heavy metro cars to the North American market, MBTA has negotiated a number of contract provisions designed to mitigate risk. Two manufacturing lines in Changchun will be dedicated to the project, a letter of credit will provide an additional $100m in security beyond what was required, and there will be a project office and regular meetings with MBTA.

CNR MA intends to invest $60m of its own resources building a final assembly plant and test track at a former Westinghouse site at 655 Page Boulevard in Springfield, which would serve as CNR MA’s US headquarters. CNR MA estimates the facility would create more than 150 manufacturing and 100 construction jobs. The contract requires 60% domestic content, minority and women owned business enterprise participation, and final assembly in Massachusetts.

The 152 Orange Line cars will replace the existing rolling stock and also increase the fleet by 32 cars to enable peak headways to be reduced from 6 min to 4 min. The Red Line order covers 132 cars to replace the ‘No 1’ series vehicles, and an option for 58 cars which if exercised would enable replacement of No 2 cars.

The new 100 km/h trainsets will provide capacity for an average of 15 more passengers per car, additional seating, wider and electrically-operated doors, four accessible areas per car to allow for ADA-compliant access even when one door is out of use, LED lighting, modern HVAC, automated passenger information, data recorders and CCTV with ‘live look in’ capability. The contract also includes spare parts, CCTV operator displays, gap mitigation Devices, LCD monitors, automatic passenger counting systems, and two training simulators.

The design process will take three years for the Orange Line cars based on China’s Type B and an additional 15 months for the Red Line cars based on the Type A. CNR will build an initial 12 cars in China. The pilot vehicles for the Orange Line are to be delivered in early 2018, with the Red Line pilot cars following about a year later. Production cars would be delivered at a rate of approximately four vehicles per month between winter 2018 and winter 2021 for the Orange Line and between autumn 2019 and spring 2021 for the Red Line.

The budget for the procurement of the Orange and Red Line vehicles is $801·3m, within a total project budget of $1·3bn, including depot expansion. This is to be funded entirely by state bonds.

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