Letters to the Editor: May 23, 2024

Letters to the Editor: May 23, 2024

File photo by Raymond Janis

LIRR train car procurement debacle

The MTA announcement that the LIRR $734 million procurement of 202 new M9 train cars awarded to Kawasaki Rail Car in 2013 is finally complete is disappointing to the Port Jefferson Branch and other commuters. It is not the end of this story.  

All of this new equipment was supposed to be delivered prior to initiation of new LIRR East Side Access service to Grand Central Madison. Delivery and acceptance of the last car almost five years late leaves a number of unanswered questions.

What was the cost for the LIRR to return 100 M3 cars previously mothballed several years ago back into service? What about daily maintenance and operating costs in keeping this retired equipment returned to passenger service? How many 10-car trains had to be run with eight cars due to a shortage of equipment resulting in periodic overcrowding?

The LIRR has had to keep its own engineering, procurement and other employees on the payroll assigned to this project for five years beyond the originally forecasted project completion date. What has this cost the LIRR? Has the LIRR submitted delay claims to Kawasaki Rail Car, for reimbursement of these costs? Why should commuters and taxpayers be stuck with the tab?  What is the current status for purchase of additional new LIRR cars? Will the LIRR do a “lessons learned” from this car procurement? Perhaps this will benefit the upcoming M9A car procurement. The LIRR 1960s motto “Line of the Dashing Dan” in 2023 continues to be “Line of the Slow Moving Sloth” when it comes to purchasing new rail cars.

   

Larry Penner

Great Neck

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