PLATTSBURGH — Locally-made Bombardier subway cars are temporarily out of service after the New York City Transit Authority reported some operation troubles downstate. 

The cars in question were the R179 model, which get manufactured at the Bombardier Transportation plant on Main Mill Street in the City of Plattsburgh. 

A statement from the manufacturer says two doors on subway cars at NYC Transit Authority failed to function as intended. 

"Our investigation shows that the doors were not properly calibrated by Kangni, the door operator supplier," Bombardier's statement says. "We are now inspecting all of the R179 cars and, where necessary, making adjustments to ensure the safe and reliable performance of the doors for the entire fleet.

"We have brought in additional skilled technicians who are working around the clock to inspect, calibrate and test the door systems." 


The news comes soon after New York City Comptroller and Chief Financial Officer Scott M. Stringer released an audit of Bombardier's $599 million contract with the NYC Transit Authority for those R179 rail cars. 

Stringer reported the manufacturer as years behind on its contract and, as previously reported by The Press-Republican, said "poor project management" was to blame.

The deal dated back to 2012 and, per Stringer's Dec. 2019 report, Bombardier had failed to meet milestones previously agreed upon. 

"As a result," it says, "completion of the contract has been substantially delayed from the outset and is currently more than 35 months behind schedule." 

The delays had been assessed at approximately $36 million in liquidated damages for NYC Transit Authority and, after various settlement agreements, 18 subway cars were added into the agreement to come at no additional cost to the Transit Authority.


Bombardier Spokesperson Maryanne Roberts had said the agreement's final installment of R179 cars were to have been delivered by the end of 2019.

In its response to the comptroller's audit, NYC Transit Authority had said it didn't agree with all claims made against Bombardier.

The Transit Authority said Stringer's audit failed, "to recognize the complexity of the typical rail vehicle design and manufacturing process and the valid reasons for delays that occurred, including unforeseeable technical issues."


In hearing of the recent R179 troubles, North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said Bombardier had effectively identified the issue, involving the component from China-based door system supplier Nanjing Kangni Mechanical & Electrical Co. Ltd, or Kangni.

Per its website, that developer was established in 2000 and has been registered in several countries, including China, Russia and the U.S.

"Kangni is an established door system solution supplier for railway transport, primarily engaging in the research & development, manufacturing and maintenance of railway vehicle door systems," its website says.

"In addition, Kangni also provides related products such as interior fittings, power connectors, platform screen doors, new energy products for automobile industry and precision machining equipment."

And, it continues, in the "door system market," the group possesses more than 30 percent of the global market share.


Douglas said it was clear that Bombardier Transportation had responded to the subway car troubles quickly, thoroughly and with, "an abundance of caution."

"The Plattsburgh operation and its outstanding North Country workforce continue to produce great product for customers across North America and around the world, with several contracts underway," he said. "We know this issue will be addressed and resolved." 

In its statement, the manufacturer said it continued to value its longstanding partnership with the NYC Transit Authority. 

"(Bombardier Transportation is) fully committed to providing high quality, reliable, safe rail cars for the millions of people who ride New York's subway system every day," its statement says. 

"We will continue to work closely with our customer to make sure that the R179 cars are the best performing cars in New York's fleet." 

Email McKenzie Delisle:

Twitter: @McKenzieDelisle

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