The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will purchase 300 new railcars to be built by the Bombardier Transit Corp. in Plattsburgh, N.Y., Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced. The $600 million order will allow Bombardier to retain 300 jobs and preserves an additional 200 jobs for area suppliers.
The R-179 cars, due for testing in late 2014 and delivery in late 2016, will replace the oldest subway cars now in use by the MTA. The cars will be financed by $306 million in federal funds already in place in the MTA's recently completed capital plan and other pending and future federal grants. The contract was approved unanimously by the MTA board of directors.
The lowest bid contract will lead to the retention of 300 jobs at the Plattsburgh factory, up to another 200 jobs for area suppliers and an estimated 110 indirect jobs — those supporting the work of the suppliers, according to Bombardier. In addition to encouraging long-term employment growth, additional capital investment and further development of Bombardier's New York-based supplier network, the contract makes possible the creation of Bombardier's new Transportation Center of Excellence in Plattsburgh.
The Center of Excellence will be a new integrated manufacturing process in which the company will both manufacture and assemble the stainless steel railcar shells, which had previously been manufactured elsewhere, in Plattsburgh.
Bombardier first supplied equipment to the MTA and its subsidiaries in a 1981 contract. In 1994, Gov. Mario M. Cuomo and Bombardier Chairman Laurent Beaudoin held a press conference at Plattsburgh City Hall to announce an agreement to establish a new Plattsburgh railcar assembly plant for Metro-North and prospective MTA projects. Since that 1994 announcement, Bombardier has twice expanded its Plattsburgh plant, moved its out-of-state operations to Plattsburgh, and built 3,000 railcars and locomotives for New York City and other transit systems.
Designed for energy efficiency, customer comfort and a high level of service reliability, the R179 subway cars will replace C Line cars that first entered service in 1964. The R179 cars will feature bright interiors, a state-of-the art climate-control system, digitized voice announcements and route signage, airbag suspension and energy-saving regenerative braking.
Maintenance costs will be sharply reduced with an expected 40% decrease in costs over the R32s once the R179s are out of their two-year warranty period. With the delivery of the new cars in 2016, the average fleet age will be 19.6 years. With no new purchase, the average fleet age would be nearly 22 years.
Bombardier's long service to the MTA includes:
1981 - 1990s: Several contracts totaling 213 Metro North commuter line coaches.
1982: Contract for 825 R62A NYC Transit subway cars.
1989: Contract for 9 R110B new NYC Transit technology test train cars.
1997: Contract for 1,030 R142 NYC Transit subway cars.
1999: Contract for 1,172 M7 electric multiple unit commuter cars for LIRR (836) and Metro North (336).