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Technology

Subway commuters in Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles to get a feel of hi-tech Chinese trains

State-owned train maker CRRC says its confidence has received a major boost and that this is a great example of China’s rise in high-end manufacturing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 October, 2017, 2:12pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 October, 2017, 6:00pm

The first batch of “Made in China” subway trains destined for Boston has rolled off the production line at CRRC’s factory in the northeastern city of Changchun, with delivery due in December, said China’s largest state-owned train maker.

This is China’s first subway train with complete independent intellectual property rights, conforming to strict US safety standards, a running speed of 102km/h and a service life of 30 years, the company said on Monday.

“It is an example of China’s rising high-end manufacturing,” CRRC said on its official WeChat account. “The export of the ‘Made in China’ subway train to the US takes place after China experienced great changes in the past few years. It boosts our confidence.

“We are practically exporting ‘Made in China’ technology.”

The train, with the weight of each carriage at around 33 tonnes, is built by CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles, a subsidiary of CRRC.

In 2014, CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles won a bid from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to build a total of 284 carriages for Boston. In April this year, the CRRC subsidiary signed another contract with the MBTA for more than a 100 carriages.

Boston has the oldest subway system in the US, built in 1897.

CRRC has also won contracts for delivering subway trains in other US cities.

In 2016, Chicago took CRRC’s bid to build carriages for the city for US$1.3 billion.

Earlier this year, the CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles also won a US$647 million contract to build 282 carriages for Los Angeles’ subway system.

“These cars will run through Hollywood and provide direct service to the 2028 Los Angles Olympics,” the company said.

Nonetheless, in 2016, more than 50 members of the US Congress wrote a letter and urged the then Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to launch an investigation into CRRC, alleging the company had used subsidised financing from the Chinese government to “underbid private competitors” for its subway contracts in Boston and Chicago.