A delivery mixup at Kawasaki’s plant in Lincoln, Neb., has set back production of Metro-North’s new M-8 rail cars. While that’s disappointing news, James Cameron, chairman of the Commuter Rail Council, said the full impact won’t be felt until next winter when snow and freezing temperatures cause havoc with the railroad’s older rolling stock.
“We may be looking at one or two more winters of this,” Cameron said, referring to the service delays and breakdowns caused by cold weather.
Cameron said the problem was caused by the delivery of incorrect parts to the Kawasaki plant. He said the setback could reduce for now the number of cars going into service from 80 to 60. The correct number will eventually be built and the additional costs borne by Kawasaki, Cameron said.
“They’ll have to pay for the mistakes and delays,” he said.
Based on his experience and what fellow riders have told him since the cars were put into service in early March, the new cars are worth the wait, Cameron said. Currently, 26 M-8 cars have been shipped to Metro-North and 16 — two trains of eight cars each — are in service.
Metro-North told the Commuter Council the earthquake in Japan would not affect production of the rail cars, Cameron said. Only the first 36 cars were made in Japan, and the rest will be produced in Nebraska.
The Commuter Council and Metro-North will have their next regular meeting May 15 and the latest setback will be discussed, Cameron said.
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