Newspiece: USA: SEPTA cancels $185 million Chinese contract for double-decker Regional Rail cars

Salient points:

  • Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has cancelled a USD185m (~ RM880m) order with the US arm of CRRC (CRRC MA) for 45 bi-level (double decker) passenger coaches meant for Regional Rail
  • Project is delayed by four (4) years
  • CRRC had reportedly performed shoddy work and repeatedly failed to meet production deadlines, according to SEPTA officials familiar with the project.
  • CRRC underbid the closest competitor, Canada’s Bombardier (which has since been amalgamated into France’s Alstom) by USD34m
  • American officials — and rival companies — complain that CRRC’s government ownership enables it to underbid competitors for public contracts by setting artificially low prices (This is true -in the case of Malaysia, the supply of nine six-car Intercity EMU ETS Class 93/2 for KTMB was direct negotiated in 2016 by the government at RM472m with CRRC Zhuzhou, but in the subsequent open tender in 2020 for ten units of what became Class 94, they submitted a lower price tag of RM456m. The next lowest competitor submitted a price tag of RM550m. The specs of Class 94 is even higher than 93/2 – Ed.)
  • Cars are partially built in China then shipped to a Springfield, Mass., factory of CRRC MA for final work. (The same case for Malaysian orders of CRRC Zhuzhou rail cars – partially built in China and then shipped to Batu Gajah Malaysia where their Malaysian arm, CRRC Rolling Stock Centre Malaysia – CRM – has an assembly facility – Ed.).
  • CRRC MA has delivered only 130 of the 400 new subway cars it ordered in 2014. Many have been sidelined by problems that include a battery explosion, a derailment, loose brake bolts, and faulty wiring that caused an electrical current to strike a nearby train.(Link:
  • As early as January 2022, SEPTA chief executive Leslie S. Richards said CRRC cars under construction for the agency had problems, including failures of watertightness tests, faulty interior panels, wiring issues, repeated brake test failures, and unsafe emergency exit windows. No vehicles have been delivered.

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