Just before chaos erupted and took 50 of BART's super-ancient cars out of service last week due to a still mysterious, roving voltage spike, we had a cheery video to show you of the first of BART's "Fleet of the Future" getting loaded onto a flatbed truck in upstate New York. The video came from Bombardier Transit Company, and SFist noted that the delivery of Car # 3001 appeared to be at least a few months late last we heard it would be shipped in December, and now it's March. Well, now SF Weekly digs a bit further into the company's track record and finds that they "missed key deadlines to supply rail cars to agencies in Toronto and London, the latter of which yanked its contract." So much for American manufacturing.
As discussed last week, this first car should have arrived at BART's Hayward testing facility by now, following its cross-country journey, and after working out any kinks, Bombardier will be tasked with delivering another nine cars by the end of the year to complete one full, ten-car test train. Following that, they're supposed to be cranking up the assembly line and delivering another 54 cars in 2017. But will they actually make good on that schedule?
Per the Weekly, Bombardier is "currently asking the Canadian government for a billion dollar (as in U.S. dollars) bailout, following labor troubles with workers at one of its factories in Ottawa." So that's not great. As the Globe & Mail reports, that billion dollars is framed as an investment in Bombardier's new C Series jet program, and it comes, inconveniently, just as Bombardier is eliminating 200 jobs at its Toronto plant and planning to outsource work from that plant outside Canada.
The various parts that go into assembling BART's "Fleet of the Future" are coming from all over including Mexico, Canada, and China. Bombardier is doing the assembly work at their Plattsburgh, New York facility.
And, of course, the complete 775-car fleet of new cars can't get here soon enough the question now is whether this company will be able to fulfill that order by 2021.
As of last week, BART was still promising that "at least 50" new cars would be added to service over the course of 2017. Let's not hold our breath.