Metro Hopes To Resolve Issues With Light Rail Car Manufacturer

Cars similar to these will run on Metro's East End and Southeast lines when they open later this year.
Metro says it has a contingency plan in case it doesn't get additional light rail cars in time for the opening of two new lines. The only car Metro has received so far from manufacturer CAF USA failed a water test and exceeded weight specifications, but the company is vowing to fix the problems

Metro Vice-President Andy Skabowski says in a worst-case scenario they would pull cars off the current Red Line.

"So in this case it would require us to pull ten cars away from the Red Line, and the negative impact is a capacity impact, and not a headway impact. So the capacity impact on the Red Line would be the use of ten single car trains, or every second car would be a single-car train."

The East End and Southeast Lines are set to open this fall. CAF USA says it will give Metro a revised delivery schedule for the cars next month.

 

Original story: Jan. 10, 2014

Metro says the company that's building cars for Houston's new light rail lines has agreed to fix problems and speed up production. The agency is concerned about having enough cars to operate the lines when they open later this year.

Metro sent a letter to CAF USA December 30. The company is building 39 cars for Metro at its plant in Elmira, New York.

There's a September deadline to get the new cars, and Metro officials say the only car they've received so far exceeded weight specifications and failed a water leak test.

CAF's top executive responded by coming to Houston to meet with Metro officials. Metro Interim CEO Tom Lambert says CAF has now agreed to bring on extra workers to put production on the fast track.

"The focus now is they've fixed the design issues for the water leaks that we've had. We're confident that solution is going to be implemented within ten days. We're confident that then will accelerate the things we need to do on the prototype vehicles."

Metro hopes to start up the lines this fall, but will there be enough cars to provide adequate service?  

Lambert says CAF has agreed to give Metro a revised delivery schedule by the middle of next month.

"We also have 37 cars that are in operation today, so we will look at all of our service alternatives as the new East End and Southeast lines become operational." 

Metro will discuss the issue at a special meeting on Wednesday.  

Bio photo of Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

Gail Delaughter joined KUHF in October 2008 as Saturday morning news anchor and host. A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Gail has extensive experience in Texas and Louisiana as a radio news reporter and morning show anchor and co-host...