Tuesday, September 08, 2015

CRRC breaks ground for Boston contract

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CRRC Vice President Weiping Yu CRRC Vice President Weiping Yu CRRC

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker joined Springfield, Mass., Mayor Domenic Sarno, CRRC (China Railway Rolling Stock Corp Ltd.) Vice President Weiping Yu, CRRC USA Rail Corp. Chairman and President Chuanhe Zhou and state and local officials at the Sept. 3, 2015 groundbreaking of a $95 million, 220,000-square-foot railcar manufacturing facility where 152 new Orange Line and 132 new Red Line vehicles will be built for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) under a $566.6 million contract awarded earlier this year.

The new facility will also support additional anticipated North American contracts for CRRC USA Rail Corp., the U.S. subsidiary of China’s largest railway rolling stock manufacturer and the first Chinese railcar builder to land a U.S. contract.

More than 100 construction jobs will be created to restore an historic former Westinghouse plant in Springfield that will house the new facility, CRRC said. Staffing for CRRC USA Rail Corp. will draw upon the greater Springfield region, with an initial estimate of 150 employees. Construction of the facility will begin in spring 2016 with completion slated for fall 2017. Full production at the new plant is expected to begin in spring 2018 with the first railcars completed in January 2019. The new railcars will replace vehicles that have been in service since 1978.

Weiping Yu told Railway Age that CRRC’s immediate goal is to ensure that the MBTA project is completed before the company moves on to other contracts, but that CRRC “is interested in providing its expertise to any and all cities in the United States that have the same needs [as Boston].” He added that CRRC has already been in communication with Los Angeles and Chicago. Additionally, New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has invited CRRC for talks “but nothing has come out of that yet,” Yu said.

“It’s important to become a good partner—to create jobs and become a part of the local economy,” said Yu. “We have an exciting road ahead as we embrace this unique opportunity with Massachusetts on our first transportation project in the United States. We look forward to the success of this project and enhancing our vision of building further partnerships in the transportation sector.”

“These new railcars will replace Orange Line and Red Line cars that are more than 30 years old, and create needed manufacturing jobs,” said MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola. “It’s a major investment in the future of public transportation in Greater Boston, as well as a sizable investment in the Western Massachusetts regional economy.”

“We are honored to have this opportunity to design and build railcars in Massachusetts,” said Chuanhe Zhou. “With the strong, unwavering support of our partners in Boston and Springfield, who welcomed us and embraced our vision, we are able to be here today.”

“The MBTA is an integral part of the economy and quality of life for the greater Boston area, and the manufacturing and delivery of new railcars will go a long way toward enhancing the service that the MBTA provides to the traveling public,” said Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary Stephanie Pollack. “And while residents of Springfield may not be daily T riders, construction of this manufacturing facility will bring economic benefits and link the futures of Springfield and the T for the next generation and beyond.”

“From supporting the local economy in Springfield and creating new manufacturing jobs to improving public transportation for Massachusetts commuters and visitors, this project brings with it extensive benefits across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Baker. “As our efforts to deliver the world class transit system taxpayers pay for and deserve continue, new subway cars built right here in the Commonwealth will deliver more reliability and new opportunities for employment and economic development for the people of Massachusetts.” Governor Baker noted that the project will reduce MBTA’s $7 billion backlog of needed capital investments by over half a billion dollars.

“Springfield is moving full-steam ahead and we are honored that CRRC USA Rail is along for the ride,” said Mayor Sarno. “The return of manufacturing to this site, the spin-off effects to vendors this project will have throughout Western Massachusetts and, most important, the jobs that will be coming to town is a huge success for Springfield.”

“Today is a great day for Springfield,” said Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “The investment in manufacturing and jobs showcases the importance of public-private partnerships to continue to propel the economic success of this region and the Commonwealth.”

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