Report: Metro carmaker Kawasaki could exit rail business

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WASHINGTON — The maker of Washington Metro’s troubled 7000-series railcars may exit the car-building business, the Washington Post reports.

The Post cited a Jiji Press report in which Kawasaki Heavy Industries CEO Yoshinori Kanehana said the company may restructure or close the rail business if it does not improve. The Lincoln Journal Star reported that Kawasaki’s rolling stock division lost more than $78 million in the first two quarters of its fiscal year, with much of that tied to problems at its Lincoln, Neb., plant. That is where the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority cars are built. Overall, Kawasaki reported a loss of about $31.6 million through the two quarters.

As of July, 564 of the 748 cars in Metro’s order had arrived in Washington. But 548 cars require the replacement of faulty wiring. [See “New DC Metro cars will need rewiring, report says,” Trains News Wire, Aug. 8, 2018.] And federal regulators required the cars to be retrofit with safety devices after a blind passenger fell between two cars and onto to the tracks in May.

Kawasaki also is building or has built cars for the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority's Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road commuter lines, and for the New York City subways.

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