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Why We Should be Reluctant to Allow Chinese Participation
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   Author  Topic: Why We Should be Reluctant to Allow Chinese Participation  (Read 168 times)
ClydeDET
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Why We Should be Reluctant to Allow Chinese Participation
 
« on: Aug 14th, 2011, 10:41pm »
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in any of our Bullet Train projects. Extract from article in The Guardian (IK) a coupole fo days ago also posted on Rail Safety board, supra):
 
A Chinese bullet train manufacturer has recalled 54 trains, in the latest sign that the government has launched an overhaul of the beleaguered high-speed rail network in the wake of last month's fatal crash.
 
The hugely ambitious project was a matter of national prestige – evidence that China could build not only faster but, said officials, better than anyone else.
 
But the disaster at Wenzhou in Zhejiang province killed 40 people and sparked an outpouring of public fury which focused not just on the safety of the line but also on the authorities' handling of events, with accusations that they were seeking to cover up problems. Many saw it as emblematic of the dangers of China's accelerated development.
 
The recall is not directly linked to the collision, which involved trains made by a rival firm. The recalled trains are from the Beijing-Shanghai line, which launched on 1 July to mark the 90th anniversary of the Communist party – but has suffered repeated delays.
 
But the announcement comes days after officials imposed a moratorium on new rail projects and the rail minister announced a reduction in train speeds. Experts believe it is part of a wider overhaul of the powerful railways ministry, which began when the minister – who championed the aggressive roll-out of high-speed rail – was ousted in February. He is expected to face corruption charges.
 
State-owned China North Locomotive and Rolling Stock Ltd said the recall applied to model CRH380BL trains used on the Beijing-Shanghai line.
 
Spokesman Tan Xiaofeng said experts will examine whether sensors are halting trains unnecessarily because they are faulty or too sensitive – for example being set off when a door is ajar or a passenger smokes in a toilet.
 


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George_Harris
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Re: Why We Should be Reluctant to Allow Chinese Participation
 
« Reply #1 on: Aug 15th, 2011, 2:45am »
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How about that all their technology is borrowed or stolen from somebody else?  How about quality control issues?  How about we are sending enough money that way, anyway?  How about, we need to build it here!!!!
 
The people selling their stuff like to make a big mystery about everything involved.  They do not want us to raise the hood, so to speak, and see what is really there.  When we do, we will find out that it is 90% plus simply good railroad practice for any speed.  There are a few things that will take a large plug out of your butt if you are not paying attention, but the guys selling this stuff miss some of these, too.  
 
There are quite a few things in the railroading world that we do better than anywhere else in the world as it is.  
 
If you keep good engineering first principles firmly in mind, most serious errors are avoidable.  Above all, do not lose sight of V, V^2, and t.  
 
You can get surprised by the second level forces.  That is, going into a curve, it is not enough to simply have a spiral, the spiral itself requires transitions.    
 
There are some things that you do not have to bring over from the freight world, at all.  Concern about downhill run aways is one.  If you have a track and alignment designed for 200 mph, you can't get fast enough going downhill without brakes to derail.


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Les_Shepherd
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Re: Why We Should be Reluctant to Allow Chinese Participation
 
« Reply #2 on: Aug 28th, 2011, 3:55am »
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The issues of stolen technology and quality control are chronic when it comes to China.
 
It has been reported here that they hate doing work for the US or Australia because the standards demanded are too high (by their standards). For passenger cars we demand passenger safety for incidents up to 30kph (20mph), the Chinese standard is 10kph (6mph).
 
The first ore waggons ordered from China proved to be unable to withstand the work demanded of them.
 
A local rolling stock manufacturer built their own factory in China and are now delivery satisfactory vehicles from there.  I was told by their division head that his greatest problem is the Railway Ministry in Beijing. They simply know everything and cannot be told anything.
 
The latest information I have is that the following ore waggons are on order from China. I should have more up to date information within the next few weeks.:
 
for Pacific National  (a train operator)
200 4ft 8˝in gauge from CNR Qiqihar
400 3ft 6in gauge from CNR Qiqihar
 
for Fortescue Metals (an iron ore miner)
260 4ft 8˝in from CNR  
 
for Rio Tinto  
720 4ft 8˝in from China Northern Rail
 
There are other orders from the Australian builder in China but I do not have sufficient details.
 
The biggest stuffup of all is an order for 624 suburban emu passenger cars for Sydney. The contracted supplier subcontracted construction of the carbodies to Changchun RSW. The first 2 carsets are now in service, no thanks to the Chinese. Initial problems included wiring which was not to standard including lack of proper installation and insulation, an inability to fit staircase handrails and similar fittings, and the use of incorrect bolts to hold down the seats. Poor welding and leaking cars were also problems. All cars delivered so far have had to be extensively reworked. The supervision has now been worked out and future deliveries should be in order from now on. To say that the political and business odium has been extreme is an understatement.
 
Note that Changchun build China's high speed trains. The Sydney contract is for stainless steel cars whereas Chinese cars are aluminium.
 
It has come to light this week that some Chinese customers have been demanding contract clauses which require the supply of infrastructure, particularly steel, be sourced from China. If this turns out to be true then it would be a breach of Australian competition law. We will certainly hear a lot more on this over coming weeks.
 
It should be noted that Australian problems with China are the direct opposite from those of the US. We have a considerable balance of trade in our favour.


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photoman475
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Re: Why We Should be Reluctant to Allow Chinese Participation
 
« Reply #3 on: Apr 10th, 2012, 7:40pm »
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Les:
 
Can you give us an update on recent passenger car deliveries for Sydney?
 
Alan


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Les_Shepherd
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Re: Why We Should be Reluctant to Allow Chinese Participation
  500_0098.jpg - 81622 Bytes
« Reply #4 on: Apr 13th, 2012, 7:28am »
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Thank you Alan for your enquiry.
I am happy to say that after many trials and tribulations that the 8th carset has entered service. There are 70 more sets to go. This brings effective closure to the testing and proving stage. The inservice testing has been done on services and lines where, should any problems occur, there would be minimal disturbances to the network. Confidence is now high enough to allocate a set to one of the most demanding (in my view) services. Heavy grades over most of the distance including 2.5% & 3%; and including the harbour bridge. Any delays on this city section has disastrous consequences for many hours after the event.
 
For the record, the construction contract was awarded to a joint venture between a local manufacturer, Downer Group, and Hitachi. They in turn sub-let construction of the carbodies to Changchung China. This is where troubles began. Changchung were simply not up to the job. The first carbodies delivered were seriously faulty. The faults were many and included welding, electrical wiring, window seals, and doors which did not fit. Considerable re-working was required. The construction processes in China were changed and some of the fittings were also changed to be more in keeping with Chinese capabilities and still meeting Australian standards. This has all been very costly. The changes appear to have been effective and deliveries at the required standard is confidently expected to  continue.
 
It should be noted that chinese manufacture is not experienced in the safety and workmanship standards required in Australia which is materially the same as in the US. They have long experience constructing in aluminium whereas the contract is for stainless steel. Sydney demands that floors be strong enough for reversible seats. Almost everywhere else in the world seating is fixed direction. Crash survival standards are many times higher than those prevailing in China. And so on.
 
Hitachi is providing “state of the art” traction and control equipment.
 
As to chinese manufacture in general:
The first rail vehicles they supplied were ore waggons for the coal and iron ore traffic. From all accounts they could not withstand the heavy demands placed on them. The situation has now changed.
 
Another local manufacturer, Bradken, have built their own factory in China. They have budgeted to produce 2,000 ore waggons this financial year and are extending their factory. The waggons can be seen every day on the Hunter Valley coal traffic – 75 & 90 waggon trains grossing 9,000/10,000 tonnes. There are no chinese companies involved in the manufacture.
NOTE: This traffic feeds the port of Newcastle, 100 miles north of Sydney, and is the biggest coal export port in the world. It is still expanding with a 4th coal loading facility under construction. The coal trains run with the frequency of streetcars.
 
More widely, there are orders with chinese manufacturers for more than 3,000 ore waggons and several hundred other freight vehicle. Many of these will be going to Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals in the Western Australia Pilbara region (iron ore). This is one of the harshest operating environments imaginable.  
 
Receiving close interest locally is a contract with China Southern Rail for 16 2830kw de locomotives. These are a little smaller than SD70s. A small local freight operator has placed the order and the result will be closely watched.
 
Thank you for your interest and I will be happy to answer any further questions to the best of my ability.
 
The photo is of set A3, which was the first production set, and was on its proving trials when photographed in May 2011.


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photoman475
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Re: Why We Should be Reluctant to Allow Chinese Participation
 
« Reply #5 on: Apr 13th, 2012, 7:56pm »
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Les:
 
Thanks for the update.  I am somewhat surprised that the Chinese sub-contractor couldn't meet the standards of the contract as originally written without some major reworking.  Perhaps I'm showing some ignorance of the subject here, but why would you take on work you could not perform to the contract?  One of the mysteries of life, I guess.
 
I think that Bradken might have an idea there, owning the factory yourself, then you can control the entire process from start to finish.  It would seem to that is is probably the best way to meet quality standards.
 
It will be interesting to see how those Chinese-built locos will work out in practice.
 
Let us know how it comes out.
 
Alan


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George_Harris
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Re: Why We Should be Reluctant to Allow Chinese Participation
 
« Reply #6 on: Apr 13th, 2013, 7:49pm »
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on Apr 13th, 2012, 7:56pm, photoman475 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Les:
 
Thanks for the update.  I am somewhat surprised that the Chinese sub-contractor couldn't meet the standards of the contract as originally written without some major reworking.  Perhaps I'm showing some ignorance of the subject here, but why would you take on work you could not perform to the contract?  One of the mysteries of life, I guess.

"Fools rush in where angels fear to tread."
 
More aptly, the norm is to assume that by greasing the right palms you can get away with just about anything.  This is the normal way business is done there.  It is all about connections with those connections being much more significant that the contents of contract documents.


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ClydeDET
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Re: Why We Should be Reluctant to Allow Chinese Participation
 
« Reply #7 on: Apr 13th, 2013, 9:35pm »
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on Apr 13th, 2013, 7:49pm, George_Harris wrote:       (Click here for original message)

"Fools rush in where angels fear to tread."
 
More aptly, the norm is to assume that by greasing the right palms you can get away with just about anything.  This is the normal way business is done there.  It is all about connections with those connections being much more significant that the contents of contract documents.

 
Classmate in law school was involved with some dealings a client had with Chinese manufacturer - he said the Chinese were both surprised and offended when the American company insisted on compliance with contract terms.


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Les_Shepherd
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Re: Why We Should be Reluctant to Allow Chinese Participation
 
« Reply #8 on: Apr 14th, 2013, 6:33am »
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An update.
 
Changchung have now delivered more than half of the carbodies for the 78 carsets ordered. 37 carsets are in full service on the Sydney suburban network.
 
As I posted earlier, Changchung were simply not up to the job. The principle contractor modifed the work process and sent staff to China to closely supervise the work. This has all worked out satisfactorily. Deliveries from China are now at the standards required with minimal, if any, reworking during the completion of construction. All carsets are required to be delivered to Sydney Trains by the end of 2014. It is now expected that this will be achieved shortly after Christmas 2013.
 
Last November I had the privelege of visiting the workshop at Cardiff north of Sydney and was given a thorough inspection of the work. There was no restriction on photographs. At that time they were achieveing a completed carset every week. The plans were to step this up to a delivery every 4 days. Such a timeframe would not be possible if extensive reworking was needed on the chinese work. I intend to ask for another inspection in about 6 months time.
 
It should be noted that the chinese were contracted to construct the carbodies and instal certain fittings, seats, handrails, lighting, trucks, etc. All electrical and computerised systems were installed at Cardiff, where final testing of everything is completed before delivery to Sydney Trains.  
 
The traction and electrical equipment is supplied by Hitachi. The comment from staff at Cardiff was "that it just works, straight out of the box".
 
In service I have travelled on the carsets many times. They perform excellently and criticisms or complaints are difficult to find, either from passengers or railway staff.
 
Executives from other rolling stock manufacturers have previously told me that a major problem they have is dealing with the Railway bureaucracy on Beijing. Beijing believe that they know it all. I heard several months ago that they were being put through a restructure and downgrading of their power.


« Last Edit: Apr 14th, 2013, 6:38am by Les_Shepherd » Logged

photoman475
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Re: Why We Should be Reluctant to Allow Chinese Participation
 
« Reply #9 on: Apr 14th, 2013, 8:39pm »
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Thanks for the information Les.  It's interesting to see that-perhaps-they may be learning the hard way how to do business with the West with something other than consumer products.  And, they may be learning that other societies have different values that need to be considered?
 
Alan


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