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Supply Side: Wabtec, FourKites

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Wabtec has landed a “multi-million-dollar” order from Kawasaki Rail Car for brakes and couplers that will be used on MTA New York City Transit’s 640 new R211 rapid transit cars. The 640 cars were ordered in 2022 as an option to a 2018 base order for 535 cars (pictured).

Wabtec has landed a “multi-million-dollar” order from Kawasaki Rail Car for brakes and couplers that will be used on MTA New York City Transit’s 640 new R211 rapid transit cars. The 640 cars were ordered in 2022 as an option to a 2018 base order for 535 cars (pictured).

Wabtec Corporation is supplying brakes and couplers for 640 MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) R211s on order with Kawasaki Rail Car Inc. Also, supply chain visibility provider FourKites updates its AI-enabled Slot Manager system.


Wabtec on Oct. 23 reported landing a “multi-million-dollar” order from Kawasaki Rail Car for brakes and couplers that will be used on NYCT’s 640 new R211 rapid transit cars.

The MTA Board’s NYCT Committee in October 2022 approved exercising an option with Kawasaki for the new cars, whose delivery is scheduled to begin in 2025 and run through 2026. This is an option to a base order of 535 R211s, part of a contract dating back to 2018 to replace R42 cars from 1969 and 1970 and some R32 cars, which are also more than 50 years old; delivery of the base-order cars began in July 2021, and NYCT in February 2023 showcased two cars undergoing testing at the Coney Island Yard in Brooklyn.

Kawasaki’s $1.44 billion base order contract for the 535 cars included 440 standard closed-end cars and 20 open-gangway cars for the B Division (lettered lines) and 75 closed-end cars for Staten Island Railway (SIR). The initial 640-car option and a second 437-car option are valued at $1.3 billion and $913.57 million respectively. Total price tag: $3.69 billion.

Wabtec was also awarded a contract for brakes and couplers for the 535-car base order. The “commonality of brake control components across the fleets benefits the transit authority with maintainability and inventory advantages,” Wabtec reported.

Manufacturing of the R211s is taking place at Kawasaki’s Lincoln, Neb., and Yonkers, N.Y., plants. The Lincoln facility is producing the car body structure and installing interior equipment, while final assembly and function testing is being performed at both the Lincoln and Yonkers facilities. Wabtec said its equipment will “mostly be produced” in Duncan, S.C. “This proximity reinforces an already close client-supplier relationship, allowing for greater responsiveness and a more supportive partnership,” Wabtec said.

“We are delighted that Kawasaki has once again chosen to draw on our strong and longstanding relationship for this exciting project,” said Wabtec Transit President Pascal Schweitzer, who in 2022 was selected by Railway Age readers’ as an influential leader. “We are proud to help boost reliability and improve subway service on the New York City Transit system, one of the largest and busiest in the world.”

In a related development, MTA on Oct. 18 rolled out a five-car set of standard closed end (non-open-gangway) Kawasaki R211S rapid transit cars for service on SIR beginning in early 2024. The carset is part of the 535-car base order. All R211S cars are expected to be delivered by late 2024.


(FourKites Photograph)

FourKites on Oct. 19 announced several new capabilities within its AI-enabled Slot Manager system that will “further automate distribution center, warehouse, plant and cross-dock pickup, as well as delivery calendar management, while simplifying communication between shippers, haulers and drivers.”

According to the company, nearly 20% of slots are rescheduled each year, resulting in costly and time-consuming delays, additional tasks and interruptions to daily workflows. By consolidating delivery schedules and hauler communication into one streamlined platform, FourKites said its latest Slot Manager improvements “provide supply chain partners with a more seamless slot management process.”

The latest updates to FourKites Slot Manager include:

  • Automated Rescheduling: “Leveraging FourKites’ AI-powered Dynamic ETAs®, Slot Manager will automatically reschedule early or late slots as potential exceptions are encountered,” the company reported. “This relieves frontline workers from tedious administrative tasks and allows them to focus on managing their daily activities. For haulers, automated rescheduling is said to eliminate the need to “continuously and manually monitor freight for exceptions.” According to FourKites, leveraging its AI-powered Dynamic ETAs® and hauler-provided ETAs, as needed, calendars are automatically updated and kept in sync, “eliminating time-consuming calls and emails between shippers, haulers and drivers.”
  • Communication Hub: Shippers and haulers “can easily communicate within the Slot Manager tool itself for more efficient operations and faster auditing,” FourKites said. “Haulers can invite drivers to manage and collaborate on each slot with a unique URL so that each party can add their own notes and updates, consolidating all communication in a single portal.”
  • Improved Hauler Access: “Through deeper integration with each hauler’s TMS, shippers can now provide haulers access to detailed reporting, such as reschedule recommendations, hauler slot compliance, facility metrics and more,” FourKites reported. “This enables a self-service environment for haulers, streamlines communication, and drives continuous improvement with shared metrics and shipper-hauler relationships.”

“Slot Manager breaks down the silos between systems and teams to significantly reduce slot bottlenecks,” FourKites Chief Products Officer Priya Rajagopalan said. “Now, shippers, haulers and drivers can all collaborate and communicate within one, integrated, AI-powered slot system that enables greater productivity, agility and efficiency—and, ultimately, better decision-making in real time when exceptions arise.”

In a related development, FourKites in August expanded its leadership team with the addition of three new Senior Vice Presidents.

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