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Chinese rail manufacturer CRRC breaks ground on U.S. plant

State-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation, the first Chinese railcar firm to win a major transit contract in the United States, will produce and assemble cars for the Boston, Mass. subway system.

   Chinese rail manufacturer China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) broke ground Thursday on a $60 million facility in Springfield, Mass., according to multiple media reports.
   The plant will produce and assemble train cars for the Boston subway system as part of a $566 million contract CRRC signed with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) last year, back when the company was called China North Locomotive and Rolling Stock Industry Corporation (CNR). State-owned CRRC was formed in June through the merger of CNR and the China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation (CSR), which were split apart by the Chinese government in 2000.
   The goal of the division was to encourage competition in the Chinese rail market, but authorities found the two companies weakened each other’s position by underbidding one another. Post-merger, Beijing-based CRRC now employs 176,000 people and provides 80 percent of all freight and passenger rail cars in China, according to the New York Times.
   The Springfield plant will create 150 jobs in Massachusetts and produce 284 rail cars for the MBTA’s Orange and Red Lines, whose trains have been in operation for 32 and 44 years, respectively. CNR’s initial bid for the MBTA contract was the lowest of those offered, beating out Canadian manufacturer Bombardier, South Korea-based Hyundai Rotem, Kawasaki Rail Car of Japan, and CSR.
   CRRC, the first Chinese railcar firm to win a major transit contract in the United States, hopes the new facility will be the first of many in the country. The company will look to leverage the knowledge and experience it gained building high-speed rail networks in China, according to VP for International Business Yu Weiping.
   Yu previously served as chairman of CRRC subsidiary Tangshan Railway Vehicle, which designed and built a high-speed train that achieves average speeds of 218 miles per hour, one of the fastest in the world.
   “With our expertise in this field, we would like to partner with whichever states see the need and continue to be a good partner and help create local jobs,” Yu told NYT through a translator.