Companies to build high-speed rail cars in the US
With a high-speed passenger rail network proposed for the US, companies are gearing up to build the equipment on American soil.
It's been decades since iconic American companies such as Budd and Pullman built passenger-train cars that let Americans sleep or dine in comfort as they rolled across country by rail.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
But President Obama's $8 billion plan to kick-start high-speed rail construction in 13 areas around the country has US and foreign companies announcing plans to expand or build new factories to produce equipment for these passenger trains.
On Thursday, American Railcar Industries, a St. Charles, Mo.-based freight car manufacturer owned by investor Carl Icahn, announced a joint venture with Columbus, Ohio-based US Railcar to again manufacture passenger cars in the United States, at least initially at facilities in Arkansas.
The same day, the US rail division of German conglomerate Siemens AG announced that it had completed purchase of 20 acres of land adjacent to its existing 34-acre light-rail manufacturing plant in Sacramento, Calif. That new land would be the site for manufacturing high-speed-rail passenger trains traveling at up to 220 miles per hour.
"Siemens is ready to not only bring its proven high-speed-train technology to market, but also to build the systems right here in the United States," said Oliver Hauck, president of Siemens Mobility in the US.
Other deals are in the works as well. In December, freight locomotive giant GE announced plans to build a next-generation passenger locomotive capable of hitting 124 miles per hour. It is also developing even faster electric-powered locomotives in a joint venture with China's Ministry of Railways. At least 80 percent of the content for those trains would be from US suppliers and all final assembly would be in the US.
Spanish high-speed train manufacturer Talgo announced last summer would set up an assembly plant that would employ 80 workers in Wisconsin to meet a $47 million deal with the state to supply two trains. Close observers of that deal say that could now expand, with the company seeking to supply high-speed trains around the country.