July 6, 2016 / 10:15 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-China's CRRC to step up checks after Singapore returns metro trains for repair

(Recasts, adds CRRC and Singapore government comment)

SINGAPORE/SHANGHAI, July 6 (Reuters) - Chinese trainmaker CRRC Corp said on Wednesday it would step up quality checks on its products after Singapore shipped 26 of its metro trains back for repair just three years after they were delivered.

Singapore’s transport operator SMRT Corp Ltd said on Tuesday it was sending the trains back after discovering cracks in the structure connecting the car body to the truck structure underneath, the Straits Times newspaper reported.

The trains, delivered in 2013, were manufactured by CRRC subsidiary CSR Qingdao Sifang Locomotive, which together with Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, won two contracts in 2009 and 2012 to supply a total of 35 trains for Singapore’s metro lines.

The quality issues come as the state train maker, whose trains are used across China’s vast rail network, aggressively ramps up its pursuit of overseas contracts. In March, CSR Sifang won a $1.3 billion bid to build rail cars for Chicago.

CSR Sifang said in an e-mailed statement to Reuters that the defects were due to the quality of the aluminium alloy material used for the metro car, but stressed they did not represent a safety risk.

“We have adopted a series of measures to ensure this incident can be satisfactorily resolved,” it said. “We will refine our requirements for suppliers and raw material suppliers, and improve quality management standards in all aspects.”

A separate statement published online by the Singapore Ministry of Transport said the cracks were “superficial” and did not affect the trains’ systems, performance or passenger safety. It said the trains were still under warranty and that repairs of the trains would be completed in 2019.

SMRT did not return Reuters’ calls for comment on Wednesday, a public holiday in Singapore. (Reporting by Brenda Goh in SINGAPORE and Adam Jourdan in SHANGHAI; Additional reporting by Marius Zaharia; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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