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Glitch Restarts Clock On Futuristic Subway
By ROBERT INGRASSIA
Daily News Staff Writer
The Transit Authority has found a minor glitch in its subway train of the future, forcing the agency to restart a 30-day test in which the new cars must run error-free.
One of the new subway trains Workers discovered Wednesday night that a rubber bushing that holds a sensor rod in place had failed, said spokesman Al O'Leary. The sensor detects unexpected objects on the tracks and triggers emergency brakes.
After the problem was fixed, the 10-car test train resumed service on the No. 6 line Thursday, O'Leary said. Transit officials ordered the part redesigned so production models don't suffer the same problem.
He said the agency had expected to find a few problems with the new cars, which began their final test run Monday.
"This is a shakedown cruise," he said. "This is new technology, so we expect to find glitches. The trick is to root them out before the rest of the trains go into production."
Before the Transit Authority accepts the new cars, they must operate in real-life conditions for 30 consecutive days without mechanical failure. If a problem arises, the clock is reset.
Agency officials said they've never seen a major new piece of equipment pass the test on a first try. They expect the new train to pass after three to six months.
Kawasaki Rail Car makes the cars currently being tested. They feature wider doors and seats, electronic subway maps, an emergency intercom system, automated announcements and brighter lights.
The Transit Authority plans to spend $540 million on 400 cars from Kawasaki, which is assembling them at a plant in Yonkers. The agency also plans to buy 680 nearly identical cars from Bombardier for $908 million. The Bombardier cars, to be assembled in upstate Plattsburgh, have not begun their 30-day test.
-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), July 15, 2000