NY: Bombardier: Troubled rail cars to re-enter service

Bombardier Transportation will perform software updates to one of its rail car models in light of some recent door operation troubles.

The Press-Republican, Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Jan. 12--PLATTSBURGH -- Bombardier Transportation will perform software updates to one of its rail car models in light of some recent door operation troubles. 

Last week, New York City Transit Authority alerted the manufacturer to issues with a few of its R179 model subway cars, which get manufactured at the plant on Main Mill Street in the City of Plattsburgh.

A statement from Bombardier Transportation had said two doors on Transit Authority subway cars had failed to function as intended, and, in hearing the news, the manufacturer determined that model, "temporarily out of service," while a solution was sought.

"We have now agreed to take the additional measure of performing a software upgrade that will further enhance the safety and reliability of the doors," an updated Bombardier statement says.

"This will add some time to our original schedule for readying the entire fleet for a return to service."

'NOT COMPROMISED'

As previously reported by The Press-Republican, operational issues with the R179 model were connected back to Bombardier's door systems operator Kangni.

That China-based supplier, also known as Nanjing Kangni Mechanical & Electrical Co. Ltd, is registered in various countries and provides rail car door systems globally.

As of last Thursday evening, Bombardier and Kangni were working to unveil the operational issue.

"Our root cause analysis indicates that these incidents were due to a rare and very specific combination of unforeseen mechanical and operational circumstances that have proven extremely difficult for us to replicate and were unlikely to reoccur," Bombardier's updated statement says.

"We'd like to reiterate that we believe passenger safety was not compromised," it says. "The R179 cars have been in service for over one million miles and have experienced only two incidents related to the door mechanisms."

BACK IN SERVICE

Since discovering the door operation issues, Bombardier said technicians worked to right any wrongs and said the announced software update was hoped to get the job done.

"Safety is our utmost priority, which is why we are acting swiftly and decisively to put in place corrective measures on the entire fleet to ensure that the door mechanisms always perform as expected," the release says.

"Together, with our door operator supplier Kangni and NYC Transit Authority's consultant LTK engineering Services, we are working around the clock to inspect, make any necessary mechanical adjustments, and test all of the door mechanisms so that cars will be ready to begin to re-enter service as quickly as possible."

Which, the release adds, was expected to happen in the coming days.

BEST IN CLASS

All in all, Bombardier said it still had confidence in the R179 model.

"Our goal is to ensure that they are the best performing cars in New York's subway fleet," the release says. "In fact, they were the best performing car class for the month of November.

"We are proud of our collaboration and partnership with New York City Transit Authority and with all of our many customers around the world."

Email McKenzie Delisle:

mdelisle@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @McKenzieDelisle

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