1st light-rail car arrives with 550 defects

July 31, 1991

Baltimore's first $1.6 million light-rail car arrived last week from its assembly plant in New York state with about 550 defects, state Department of Transportation officials said yesterday.

But O. James Lighthizer, secretary of transportation, said most of the defects -- including water leaks and squeaky doors -- appear to be minor and can probably be fixed by the manufacturer without shipping the 106,000-pound, custom-built vehicle back to New York.

State officials said a second car still at the plant also failed a leak test, though they added they believed the problem had been fixed. Assembly problems, they said, delayed delivery of the first car in the 35-car fleet from April to July 24.

Mr. Lighthizer said he hoped those problems would not postpone the opening of the light-rail line -- running past the Camden Yards stadium from Timonium to the city's southern border -- scheduled for baseball's opening day next April. "It darned sure better not," he added.

The 95-foot-long vehicle body was built in Denmark, shipped to the United States and assembled in a former steel mill in Elmira Heights, N.Y., by ABB Traction Inc., a consortium of Swiss and Swedish firms.

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