The facility is designed to accommodate production of 120 new passenger cars annually. Situated on 35 acres of land, the 465,000-square-foot facility is divided into two shops. The first is where car shells are assembled, including underframes, carbodies, side frames and roofs. In the second, cars are finished and inspected. Outside is 3,500 feet of test track where each car is run to ensure performance.
Larry Huggins, acting chairman of the Metra board of directors, and Metra Executive Director/CEO Alex Clifford spoke about the Metra order. Clifford said Metra is rotating out retired cars that have been running since the mid-70s. The $577 million contract is for 160 new Highliner cars for use on the Metra Electric line, the only Metra line that uses electric multiple-unit (EMU) cars. The line runs more than 32 miles and carries about 20,000 passengers a day.
One of the new Metra cars was on display for attendees to tour and it was noted that Nippon Sharyo will exceed the 60 percent Buy America provision on the contract and that 10 percent of the contract value will be met with Illinois vendors.
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