It is unfortunate that i write this so close to what should have been a happy day for all of us.
I am sorry to say that production of the class 71 has been temporarily halted due to totally unforeseen circumstances.
Last month the chassis were under construction and tested and i witnessed the QC checking myself. All was good.
However, as the saying goes, ‘there’s many a slip between cup and lip’, and this has proved to be the case.
Most of you are aware of Chinese New Year (CNY) and the implications this has on all manufacturers who use China for production of goods, whether its trains or washing machines etc.
But basically it’s when China shuts down for a week. Well that doesn’t sound too drastic does it? Well it isn’t normally too drastic for us in the west who rely on Chinese production as we know its coming.
But the implications and knock on effects are a pain. As China is so vast, and workers migrate from home from thousands of miles away they obviously want to go home for Christmas.
These trips are long and arduous and take a week in some cases by bus, train or car. This means that you lose not only a week for CNY but also a week before and a week after.
Then there is no guarantee that you will get your already trained workforce back en masse, and not have staff shortages from those who do not wish to come back to work.
Indeed the week to 2 weeks after CNY has finished you will find what looks like open markets in Shenzhen with each ‘stall’ offering xxx in wages to recruit new staff, vying to fill their workforce with other companies.
OK, so that’s CNY, so how does it affect the class 71 in production?
This year has seen a worrying development in the last week of staff leaving VERY early to go home for CNY. with one factory i know of losing 40% of its’ workforce as word spread of this happening.
It seems like the projected 3 billion transport movements in the next month or so has galvanized the workforce to some degree to leave very early. The trains, like some budget airlines now put up fares closer to CNY you get so this may also have had an effect.
Either way it has hit production, with factories now paying remaining staff overtime etc, to try to complete goods to ship before or around Christmas.
The Class 71 and other projects have been hit by this and i have been given a rescheduled completion date of Late February 2017 for the 71.
I can only apologize for the delay which is very much beyond my control and hope you can understand why and hold out just a little longer for this superb model. And if a production slot becomes available sooner i will push to get the models completed and then i shall ship by air to save time (1 week as opposed to 35 days by sea/land).
If i get further clarification from China on developments, i will of course, post here to let you all know.
I’m truly Sorry