New equipment for California commuter line damaged in transit

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New Nippon Sharyo cars like these were damaged en route to delivery to Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit.
Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit
SMART has not accepted delivery of its new equipment because of damage like this sustained in transit.
Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Four new Nippon Sharyo diesel multiple unit cars for Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit were damaged during shipment from the manufacturer and will be sidelined until repairs can be made.

The vehicles were shipped from Japan to a port in Georgia and were en route from there to California on a Union Pacific train when “something happened,” SMART’s superintendent of maintenance, Husani Longstreet, told North Bay Business Journal. “There has been an investigation; however, nothing from Union Pacific at this time.”

Jeanne Mariani-Belding, a spokeswoman for SMART, says that the damage was in the gangway area of the cars.

The $11-million trainsets will enable expanded service to begin next spring. Additional engineers and conductors also need to be hired and trained.

Mariani-Belding is confident that the cars will be ready. “The parts are currently being fabricated and we have a team that’s keeping in touch with the vehicle manufacturer to make sure that all deadlines are being met,” she told Trains News Wire.

Because the vehicles arrived damaged, SMART has not accepted delivery, and it remains the responsibility of Nippon Sharyo to complete repairs. They are currently at SMART’s Rail Operations Center in Santa Rosa. “Once we are satisfied that our cars are as good as new, we’ll accept the delivery and begin the process of testing the new trains and getting them ready to be placed into service,” Mariani-Belding says.

Each two-car trainset is 85 feet long and weighs 140 tons. Powered by a 760-hp clean diesel engine, the trains can carry up to 300 passengers at speeds up to 79 mph.

Currently, seven two-car trainsets serve the 43-mile line from Sonoma County Airport to downtown San Rafael. Future extensions are planned to Larkspur on the south end and to Windsor, Healdsburg, and Cloverdale on the north, completing the 70-mile route. Funding is in place, and the 2.1-mile Larkspur extension is expected to be finished by the end of 2019.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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