Locomotive defects get T’s attention
Gonneville to work with Keolis on addressing problem
THE MBTA’S CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER announced on Monday that he is going to be working with Keolis officials to address defects in 40 relatively new commuter rail locomotives that are putting the vehicles out of commission and disrupting service.
Jeffrey Gonneville, the T’s chief operating officer, said only 27 of the new locomotives were in service as of Friday. The remaining 13 were undergoing some sort of maintenance and T and Keolis officials said the turbochargers on all 40 of the locomotives will eventually have to be replaced.
T officials said General Electric designed the propulsion systems on the new locomotives and has acknowledged design defects that will require replacement of all of them.
Under a deal reached last year, Keolis is required to have 67 locomotives available each day or face financial penalties. David Scorey, the general manager of Keolis, said problems with the new locomotives have made compliance with that requirement difficult over the last couple weeks. He said the system has had as few as 62 locomotives available for daily service, as many as 69, and an average of 65 in March. In February, he said, Keolis averaged 67 locomotives available on a daily basis.
Steve Poftak, a member of the Fiscal and Management Control Board, said the rapid emergence of the problem over the last two weeks caught him off guard and he asked for more regular updates in the future.