Back in 2008 Boise’s Mayor Dave Bieter and U.S. Senator Mike Crapo were “allll aboard” using their political clout to force the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to purchase commuter locomotives from Motive Power.
Turns out it is difficult to get the trains to leave the station with the faulty Boise-built engines. Here in-part is how the BOSTON GLOBE reported on transit problems:
“The current problems are part of a pattern of troubled purchases by the MBTA. Before Keolis became the commuter rail provider in 2014, the MBTA purchased the locomotives for nearly $222 million from Idaho-based Motive Power Inc., which had partnered with General Electric to make the motors. The two companies had not worked together before, according to the MBTA’s chief operating officer Jeffrey Gonneville.
As soon as the locomotives were delivered, they were sidelined for months because of faulty bearings. MBTA officials say the new locomotives are more reliable than the older ones in its fleet, but by February 2016, nearly every locomotive had been delayed because of mechanical failures, operator errors, or other issues.
In addition, eight locomotives have experienced failures with turbochargers, which blow fresh air into the engines. The manufacturer has agreed to replace the part across the fleet. The manufacturer is already replacing four other pieces of equipment, including software for the General Electric engine and battery chargers.”
The GUARDIAN posted details of the maneuvers which essentially kept a Spanish firm from having a shot at building the locomotives at a plant they planned to build in Kentucky. It was part of a “buy America” requirement for federal transit funds. Ironically, the operator of the system is now a French company.
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