New Brunswick

Via frustrated with Moncton maintenance company

VIA Rail said Friday that it is frustrated that Industrial Rail Services is lagging behind on delivering spruced up train cars.

Industrial Rail Services says it has hit a number of snags

VIA Rail said Friday that it is frustrated that Industrial Rail Services is lagging behind on delivering spruced up train cars.

The Moncton company has a $109-million contract to refurbish 98 VIA Rail coach cars. So far, just 10 have been completed.

Two weeks ago Industrial’s engineers found a structural problem in the floors.

John Marginson, VIA Rail’s chief operating officer, said the contract with Industrial Rail Services is "struggling."

Industrial is well behind schedule.

Marginson said that the company should have delivered the 27th refurbished train car to VIA this week and they have only received 10.

"We've been working with the supplier, or at least trying to work with the supplier, for quite a number of months now to identify what the problems are and to help him correct his problems in terms of production," Marginson said.

Richard Carpenter, the president of Industrial, said that issues have cropped up during the process of fixing up the 35-year-old train cars.

This week, the company sent out notice that it may have to lay off its nearly 200 employees as it fixes a floor problem in the coaches.

Carpenter acknowledged this wasn't the first hiccup.

"There's been all kinds of challenges … there were other structural issues we've dealt with in the first 10 cars that caused the delay," he said.

But overall, Marginson said that the quality of the company's delivered work is not in question.

"The 10 cars that we have received to this point, they are in service and they have been operating quite well," Marginson said.

"Passengers and crews on those cars are very impressed by the new style of the cars and the new technology. So of course we're very disappointed that we've only got 10 cars and we would've expected to have a lot more at this point."

now