March 15, 2010
Job opportunities in this issue's classifieds include a public transit agency president/CEO and executive director of a national program!
Talgo to Open U.S. Rail Plant in Milwaukee
Talgo, a manufacturer of railcars based in Spain, has announced that it will locate its first U.S. assembly plant at the former Tower Automotive site in Milwaukee. The facility will work with train car shells imported from Spain, but Talgo is expected to create 125 direct jobs in Wisconsin and about 450 indirect jobs through vendors throughout the Midwest.
Talgo Chief Executive Officer and President Antonio Perez said the company considered numerous factors before selecting the Milwaukee location, such as economic conditions, logistics, technical/operational conditions, cost of living, training facilities in the vicinity, and availability of a skilled workforce. The company noted that the former automobile plant is large enough to accommodate 14-railcar train sets and will allow for expansion.
The company had said it would locate its U.S. assembly plant in the first state to place an order for its trains. Wisconsin entered into an agreement with Talgo in 2009 to purchase two train sets—to be manufactured at the new plant—for Amtrak’s Milwaukee-Chicago Hiawatha service, at a cost of $47 million; the contract also includes an option for two additional trains that would serve a proposed route from Milwaukee to Madison, WI. Talgo plans to begin work on the trains by November.
More recently, Oregon DOT negotiated the purchase of two new 13-car trains from the plant for operation on Amtrak Cascades service between Eugene, OR, and Vancouver, BC.
The new trains will seat 420 people each, compared with the current capacity of 350. At first they will operate at speeds no higher than 79 mph, the current limit for most Amtrak trains, but they could run as fast as 110 mph once safety upgrades are made along the lines.