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Chinese rail partnership wins Boston subway deal

China Daily, October 24, 2014 Adjust font size:

A Chinese joint venture has won a $567 million contract to supply 284 rail cars for the city of Boston's subway system.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation said China's CNR MA Corp was the lowest of six bidders for the contract.

CNR MA is a joint venture between China Changchun Railway Vehicles Co and China CNR Corp Ltd, a Chinese State-owned enterprise that is considered the world's largest rail car maker. The project would be its first in North America.

The new cars are needed to replace the city authority's 32-year-old Orange Line trains and the 44-year-old Red Line cars that serve the Greater Boston area. The first CNR-built cars are expected to be delivered in 2018, and should help increase the subway system's capacity and decrease passenger waiting times, said officials.

The contract also requires the CNR unit to build the cars at a $60 million facility it will construct and operate in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The 14,000-square meter facility is being proposed on a 16-hectare former Westinghouse Electric plant site, and Lu Xiwei, president of CNR MA, said the project was committed to creating over 250 new manufacturing and construction jobs for the western Massachusetts region.

Officials said most of the building work will be done in the United States with 60 percent of the parts coming from America.

According to the Boston Globe newspaper, three of CNR MA's rival bidders have criticized its inexperience in handling such a large order.

However the MassDOT board praised the procurement process when they took the vote at their monthly meeting. "This is a win for our riders. This is a win for our financial bottom line. And it's a win for this authority," said board member Janice Loux.

CNR is also believed to be in the running to supply rolling stock for California's proposed $68 billion high-speed railway project.

A spokesman for the California High-Speed Rail Authority said on Wednesday it had received five expressions of interest for a contract to supply up to 95 trains for the system but did not identify who had submitted them.

The authority spokesman said the agency may release more information on the expressions of interest on Friday.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that CNR, its unit Tangshan Railway and US-based SunGroup USA, would be among those submitting an expression of interest for the California project. The system is expected to be completed by 2029, and will run from San Francisco to Los Angeles, making the trip between the cities in under three hours.

It will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, covering a total 1,280 kilometers with up to 24 stations.

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