TRANSPORTATION

MBTA may halt $190M commuter rail car order

PBN FILE PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD
MBTA OFFICIALS are considering cancelling a $190 million contract with South Korean company Hyundai Rotem to build 75 double-decker commuter rail cars.
Posted 1/11/13

BOSTON – Chronic delays and concerns over poor workmanship have prompted Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officials to threaten cancellation of the $190 million double-decker rail car construction contract with Hyundai Rotem, The Boston Globe reported.

Performance by South Korea-based Hyundai Rotem, which is building 75 double-decker coachers for the MBTA’s commuter rail line, has been “chronically unsatisfactory,” MBTA Chief Financial Officer Jonathan R. David wrote in a letter to The Globe.

According to the letter, materials shortages and workmanship at plants in both South Korea and Philadelphia have “degraded at an alarming rate.”

Under the terms of the contract, which was awarded in early 2008, the first four cars were scheduled to arrive in Boston by October 2010. All 75 were supposed to be carrying commuters in and out of the city by the end of 2012. The first four coaches, currently going through extensive testing, did not arrive at the MBTA until two months ago, reported the news source.

The letter from MBTA officials caught the attention of Hyundai Rotem, and company leadership plans to travel to Boston this month to work out solutions, according to The Globe.

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