Wheel problem on new CTA rail car leads to 100 layoffs at assembly plant

Bombardier, the manufacturer of the new CTA rail cars, has laid off 100 employees at its Plattsburgh, N.Y.-based plant following a quality issue with a part from an outside supplier.

The CTA pulled the new rail cars from their debut service on the Pink Line. In late November, CTA inspectors working at Bombardier’s Plattsburgh, NY, manufacturing facility noticed a flaw in the quality of a casting used to create wheel bearing housings.  The casting was replaced and no further issues were detected until CTA inspectors noted a second quality issue with a casting at the Plattsburgh facility.  CTA and Bombardier immediately began more inspections and discovered issues with other castings.

“Unfortunately we had to temporarily shut down the production line for railcars we’re building for the CTA,” said Bombardier spokesperson Maryanne Roberts. “We’re doing everything we can to start up production and recall everyone as soon as possible.”

This news does not bode well for the CTA to stay on schedule with production and rollout of the new rail cars.


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  • I'd like to know where these outside castings are coming from.
    Is it China?
    Otherwise, I can't see why there would be such a big delay.
    Of course, maybe there will also be a management change at the CTA & then someone will get their heads on straight & realize that the sideways seating is going to be a huge & expensive failure that will require a change.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    It is one thing if QC found something that's going to make the wheels fall off.

    On the other hand, the seats are intentional. CTA has had several opportunities to use "consumer input" to change them, like they changed in inserts, but it is obvious it isn't going to do anything about it. Scooter, this seems like your version of the Gray Line. Wait a couple of years, and, if these cars show up, see how people that get seats will want to look into the crotches of the pantless folk.

  • In reply to jack:

    I'll disagree that it's my version of the Gray Line.
    The Gray Line will never happen, period.
    But the seat orientation is going to mean that there will be large numbers of unoccupied half a seats all throughout the 5000 cars.
    The damn fools in management are in denial that people are fatter & wider.
    Just last week, the Washington State ferry system cut the number of people allowed on its boats due to that fact.
    The seats wouldn't be such a problem if they were like NYC's & long hard bench seats without the stanchions dividing them into 2 person areas.
    But the problems won't show up until they're running rush hour service on the Red & Blue Lines & those are the lines that may never see them.

    And don't forget the CTA also had wheel problems on the 2400s.
    Those had cast wheels & shrink fitted steel tires, but the tires didn't hold & slipped around on the wheels, so they were replaced with solid wheels.
    Bizarre, since mainline railroads used tires on steam locomotives & they didn't slip around.
    Sounds like bad design, poor quality & rotten workmanship.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Nah, it is not going to happen.

    In fact, if the CTA is going to spend $900K per car to rebuild the 3200s, as indicated in the 2012 Budget Recommendations, I bet they get the 5000 seat configuration, too.

    The main point is that customer comfort does not motivate the CTA, while safety concerns do.

  • In reply to jack:

    It's not comfort that's the problem, it's total capacity.
    The nitwits that run the CTA don't seem to understand that when a quarter of the seats can't be used & those people will
    have to stand, the cars will be far more crowded than now.
    I've also noticed that people aren't putting parcels & backpacks under sideways seats on the articulated buses the way the bosses think they will on the new trains.
    And I think the 3200's current configuration is the best seat layout the CTA has had since the the elimination of blinker doors.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    CTA's answer to capacity problems was the "max capacity car"--only enough seats to make sure that they didn't violate GVWR limits. Similarly, they have cut down the seating in an articulated bus from 61 to maybe 50 now.

    No matter what you think, when these cars get back into service, Claypool or his lackeys will not be walking in the cars to see how many fatsos are being accommodated by taking two seats, then ask an emergency appropriation of 10s of millions to replace them.

  • In reply to jack:

    What I think will happen is this: With more people standing, there are going to be increased groping incidents. When the cops don't do anything about that, because they can't, the trains are too crowded, someone will create their own solution. Either with a gun or a knife.

    And I remember the experiment with a few buses out of Forest Glen where the seats were removed to make more standing room. The buses were so heavy & lopsided, they couldn't move & the seats were returned!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Scooter, just for the record, this is the second time in a wee that we have agreed. So scary! ;-)

  • I've seen both types of sideways seating in action. In Boston, where there were individual sideway seats, just as Scooter says, every-other seat was empty due to the size of the people sitting in the seats. On the otherhand, in NYC with the bench style, seated riders will shift one way of the other to accommodate passengers wanting to sit down.

    As I have said before, the CTA won't do anything about this until enough people complain when the 5000's finally get to the high-capacity Red and Blue Lines. I agree, the 3200-style seating is the way to go.

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