The delivery of SEPTA's new Silverliner V railcars continues to lag because of production problems, and the manufacturer says the last of the 120 new cars won't be ready for more than a year.
So far, manufacturer Hyundai Rotem Co. has delivered 19 of the cars, and two more were expected to be delivered Monday.
Twelve of the new Silverliner V cars are operating regularly in SEPTA passenger service, in two six-car trains. Four of the new cars are being tested by SEPTA, and three are being used to train SEPTA crews or are undergoing scheduled maintenance, SEPTA spokeswoman Jerria Williams said Monday.
Hyundai Rotem has told SEPTA that "up to a total of 63 cars will be delivered by the end of 2011," with the remaining 57 to be delivered by the end of June 2012, Williams said.
Production delays have repeatedly pushed back delivery of the new cars, and SEPTA's general manager, Joseph Casey, apologized to riders earlier this year for the slow pace of the work and the resulting overcrowding on SEPTA's current rail fleet.
SEPTA ordered 120 Silverliner V cars from Hyundai Rotem in 2006 for $274 million. The total cost, including spare parts and associated training and management, is $330 million.
Production snags - including material delays, design flaws, labor-management issues, and workmanship problems - have put the delivery of the new cars more than a year behind schedule.
Hyundai Rotem, a subsidiary of the South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Group, is assembling 117 of the railcars in a factory in South Philadelphia. The first three cars were built in South Korea and put into service by SEPTA in October.
Matthew Mitchell of the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers said he was skeptical that the manufacturer would meet even its postponed target date.
"Rotem said they expected to deliver six cars in April. They didn't make that goal, and they don't look like they'll make the May goal of seven deliveries either," Mitchell said. "So until I see Rotem actually meeting a production goal and getting the production problems worked out when they say they will do so, I think the chances of having the order finished even by this later deadline are remote."
Hyundai Rotem continues to struggle with material delays, and water damage to some of the unfinished car bodies sent from South Korea may further hamper production.
Mitchell said "there's very little SEPTA can do about the situation other than holding the company's feet to the fire and inspecting every last bolt on the cars before accepting them."
Hyundai Rotem is liable for penalties of $200 for each day each car is late.
The new cars will replace 73 Silverliner II and III railcars built in the 1960s. With the retirement of the old cars and the addition of the new ones, SEPTA will have about 400 railcars by next year.