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CRRC’s US contract cancelled

17 April 2024
Reading time ~ 2 min
A CRRC train for the USA
A CRRC train for the USA. Source: SEPTA
Belov Sergey, Editor-in-Chief, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency
Reading time ~ 2 min
Savenkova Ekaterina, Editorial Contributor to International Projects of ROLLINGSTOCK Agency

USA: The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has taken the decision to terminate a contract for 45 double-deck coaches.

The USD 185 mln contract was awarded in 2017, but deliveries have been disrupted for four years. SEPTA states that it is “assessing its options for recouping funds” implying more than USD 50 mln that has been spent on the project.

In 2022, SEPTA’s CEO Leslie Richards highlighted a number of concerns regarding the rolling stock assembled in Springfield. These included insufficient water-tightness, low-quality wiring, non-compliance of emergency exits with safety standards, repeated failures of brake tests, etc.

The company’s competitive pricing strategy enabled it to actively pursue rail contracts in the US. For instance, in the SEPTA tender, CRRC’s bid was USD 34 mln less than that of its competitor, Canadian Bombardier Transportation, which is now part of Alstom. However, in 2020, the US Congress passed a law that prohibits government purchases of rolling stock from the Chinese manufacturer, citing cybersecurity concerns.

Another US operator, the MBTA, has decided to continue honouring a large-scale contract with CRRC for 404 metro cars signed in 2014. The rolling stock is being delivered, however the pace of shipments from the Springfield plant is also significantly behind schedule, and the MBTA has regular concerns regarding the quality of trains. In a recent development, the MBTA and CRRC have entered into a supplemental agreement to accelerate the fulfilment of the contract. The operator believes that a change in supplier would further delay the delivery.

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