Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Railway Robbery?

I don't know about you all, but this seems a bit like a blackmail scheme. It's like we're in Berlusconi's Italy.
A firm called AnsaldoBreda says it will relocate its assembly and manufacturing plants from Pittsburg, Calif., and Italy to Los Angeles if -- and it's a big if -- the MTA agrees to buy 100 rail cars from the firm for more than $300 million.
This is the same firm that built Muni's and Boston's LRVs. I don't think the LA versions are bad looking, but they are too heavy making them energy hogs and have continued to be a problem in the maintenance department. Perhaps an all in move to Southern California and a change in management would to the company good. Though it doesn't look like that is going to happen. Why would they do that when they should just be expanding thier Pittsburg digs.

It's kind of funny though. After all the problems they've had, what makes them think that making such a claim would even remotely be taken seriously? Maybe they'll get a deal for an American made Sirio.

12 comments:

Adam said...

Siemens is the best company. They build a lot of the sleekest trains.

Justin said...

It is funny, that a company with such a bad history in the US would make a claim. They'll have a hard time competing with Siemens, and Kinky-Sharyo. I am not a huge fan of the Avanto's(too sleek for me), but they are quality vehicles. I personally like Bombardier vehicles over Siemens.

AJ said...

They are the next Boeing.

njh said...

it's hardly blackmail. it's not even extortion. It's certainly not illegal and I don't see it as unethical. They are saying, the cost for us to move to LA is 100 trams. If the trams are not up to scratch, MTA can come up with a counter offer.

Anonymous said...

as long discussed over on subchat, the few Bredas so far delivered to LAMTA are STILL in test/burn in as they try to weave a silk purse from... AFAIK the only Bredas that have worked out well were the DC Metro cars which were built to a known design AND subject to Metro QC personnel birddogging every bit of the assembly.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

You're right NJH, there's really nothing illegal about it. It just seems shady to me.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's time for a new PCC type standards committee to make these streetcars more fungible?

It sure would be easier to get light rail projects started if authorities could order these vehicles one at a time.

njh said...

how unfungible are current designs? I imagine they are all built to standard US loading gauge, the supply voltage is just a module, couplings are pretty standard.

PT: in what way is it shady do you think?

arcady said...

njh: there is no unified standard for light rail systems. At all. Pretty much the only thing they actually agree on is track gauge (except Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, of course), and the newer systems I think also have a standard wheel profile, but Boston and SF continue to use streetcar style tracks. Half the systems use 600 volts, and half use 750 (with only Seattle using 1500). If the loading gauges are compatible, it's mostly by coincidence, as not all systems can agree on car length, although most have managed to agree on width (except Baltimore). The closest thing to a modern standard is in fact the Siemens Avanto, which is either in service or about to be in four cities, and likely to be used in a few more.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

NJH: I think it's something to do with the way it was proposed. Usually you wouldn't say "We'll move here 'if' you buy our vehicles" I imagine it would be better if they just said we'll move here if we're lucky enough to be selected. It might have been how the article was written, but it just seemed a little forward.

Alon Levy said...

I don't think they pay $3 million apiece for rolling stock even in Chicago.

arcady said...

Alon: one LRV is basically two Chicago subway cars attached together with an articulation. One CTA standard subway car is 45 feet, while one standard LRV is 90 feet. Hence the higher cost.