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SMART rail car seats pass safety tests after changes


The seats for the new Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit commuter rail cars have passed required safety tests, a month after failing the first round of testing.

The manufacturer, Kustom Seating Unlimited of Bellwood, Ill., made modifications after the first tests and the units passed, SMART officials said.

smartIn the original test, the frame of the seats failed under the force of a simulated high-speed collision, so the company made improvements to better absorb crash energy, spokeswoman Carolyn Glendening said.

Officials from SMART and the company said at the time that it is not unusual for seats and other components to fail the rigorous federal safety requirements in early rounds of testing.

SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian told the agency’s board Wednesday that the seats will go into regular production and be finished by summer, in time to meet the planned delivery of the rail cars in February of next year.

The custom-designed diesel-powered cars will be assembled by Nippon Sharyo USA at a plant in New Rochelle, Ill.

SMART is working to launch regular commuter rail service between Santa Rosa and San Rafael as early as 2015. The $360 million project is funded largely under a 2008 ballot measure that imposed a one-quarter percent sales tax approved by voters in the two counties, though it also has attracted a number of federal grants.

Work is largely finished on about 15 miles of track in Sonoma County. Track work will move to Marin County next year, though crews continue to build stations in Sonoma County and are just beginning the complex process of rebuilding dozens of private rail crossings along the planned route, either closing or upgrading them to improve safety in the face of passenger traffic, which moves much faster than the freight trains that have used the lines.

You can reach Staff Writer Sean Scully at 521-5313 or sean.scully@pressdemocrat.com.

4 Responses to “SMART rail car seats pass safety tests after changes”

  1. Train Marin says:

    That is exciting news! Onward with the train building!

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  2. Steveguy says:

    If I was in the train car building business, I would make sure that any seats met safety standards . That is a given to me.

    Is the order one big untested design by incompetent campaign contributors ? Or what ?

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  3. Elephant says:

    Grapevines – Pretty much none of DUMB’s money is being spent in Sonoma County. There might be an employee or two but that’s it.

    The head of DUMB lives in Marin.
    The company doing the rail work is out of Alameda.
    The building that they rent is owned by a company located south of San Francisco.

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  4. Grapevines says:

    Does anyone else find it strange that the seats and cars are coming from Illinois? The same state the current administration comes from.

    What type of graft would that be called? Tax monies from California going to Illinois? Of course SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian would say otherwise and he’d be backed up by the BOS. But if it looks like a rat, walks like a rat, and smells like a rat. Don’t try calling it anything other than that.

    Most of us are not as stupid as the BOS would like us to be.

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