Mike Quigley: Chicago rail cars pose ‘dangerous threat’ to national security over Chinese ties

May 15, 2019 GMT

A member of the House Intelligence Committee has raised concerns about rail cars being made by a Chinese company for the Chicago Transit Authority, echoing fears expressed by colleagues around the nation’s capital.

Rep. Mike Quigley, Illinois Democrat, said new CTA rail cars currently being manufactured by the state-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corp, or CCRC, may pose a “dangerous threat” to national security, Chicago’s Fox 32 News reported Tuesday.

“Obviously, there’s some concern the Department of Defense has with Chinese rail cars. And I can’t elaborate beyond all that,” Mr. Quigley said. “What I’m suggesting is, there are national security issues involved with Chinese products including rail cars.”


“These security concerns are so serious that in Washington, D.C., the Pentagon has expressed the fact to the local transit agency that it doesn’t want Chinese-made rail cars servicing the Pentagon Metro Rail Station,” Mr. Quigley added.

Neither CCRC nor the Defense Department immediately answered requests for comment.

Headquartered in Beijing, CCRC has won contracts in recent years to build new fleets for transit agencies servicing Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles, including a deal to assemble hundreds of high-tech, state-of-the-art rail cars at a new factory recently opened in the Windy City.

CCRC is also pursuing a contract to build new trains for the D.C. Metro, raising similar concerns recently among area Democrats fearful of that potential deal’s consequences for national security.

Metro plans to purchase at least 256 next-generation 8000-series cars equipped with automated controls, “smart doors” and other modern technologies. Lawmakers representing the D.C. region on Capitol Hill sent letters to the agency earlier this year warning about the risks associated with having them built by a foreign company.

“These technologies are susceptible to hacking or other forms of interference that could enable intelligence gathering and espionage, service disruptions or other activities detrimental to our national security,” a group of Congress members wrote Metro in February.

More recently, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Maryland Democrat, reiterated those fears in an interview aired last week.

“We just want to make sure that we don’t wake up one day and realize we’ve made a bad mistake. We’ve got to proceed with absolute caution in terms of who’s got access and control over the underground infrastructure and the cyber infrastructure of our region,” he told The Hill.