Houston light rail cars delivered after due date

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HOUSTON – Six new light rail cars have been added to MetroRail’s fleet – eight months late. The H3 model CAF cars join 19 H2 and 18 H1 (Siemens S70) cars already serving the North and Main St. Red Lines.

MetroRail signed a $153 million contract in 2011 with Elmira, N.Y. - based CAF USA, a subsidiary of Spain’s Construcciones y Auxilliar de Ferrocarriles, to provide 39 cars to serve Houston’s light rail system.

At the time, CAF promised to have six of the cars ready in spring 2013, but they did not go into service until this month. All 39 cars were supposed to have been delivered by Dec. 22, 2014.

“I wouldn’t say they are so late,” CAF official Antonio Torcia told Houston’s ABC-13. “In the transit business it’s not uncommon to see delays with the delivery and qualification of the first vehicles. There are projects out there in the North American market as well as the rest of the world that are years late.”

In Houston late deliveries of cars have not been common. There have been two deliveries of cars to Metro since 2004; the year light rail build out began. Those were built by Siemens, a CAF competitor. One delivery was on time. The other was early.

“Siemens is proud of our delivery record in Houston,” a Siemens spokesperson told Houston's KTRK-TV. “We delivered our light rail vehicles and the complete system on time in 2004 and completed our deliveries on the second contract on time in 2013.”

Other CAF vehicles will enter service over the weeks that lead to the April 2015 opening of the new East/Green and Southeast/Purple Lines. The new units will give the agency enough cars to provide double-car service most of the day Monday through Friday. MetroRail will have 76 total cars once the 39 CAF H3 vehicle deliveries are complete.

In fiscal year 2014, 12.8 million boardings were recorded on MetroRail. The agency said 122 million boardings have been recorded since service began in 2004.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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