May 24--Sacramento's Siemens manufacturing plant will build 18 of its S70 light-rail vehicles for TriMet in Portland, Ore., under a $73 million contract being announced today.
All manufacturing will be done at Siemens' facility on French Road in south Sacramento. That plant is powered in part by 2 megawatts of solar energy.
The first new rail cars are expected to be delivered in August 2014. The 18 vehicles were ordered as a part of the Portland-Milwaukie light-rail transit project, an extension of light rail over 7.3 miles, connecting key points in the Portland area. When it opens in September 2015, it will boost the overall light-rail system to 60 miles and 97 stations.
Michael Cahill, president of Siemens' Rail Systems Division, said the new contract will not prompt new hires locally. He said the existing workforce of about 800 will handle the work.
"It's a tough economy, and we're thankful for what we can get," he said. "We've been fortunate in getting a couple of contracts."
Almost exactly one year ago, Siemens announced that the Sacramento plant would build four new streetcars for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, part of a $17.2 million contract. The first car under that contract is expected to be delivered in September this year.
In April 2011, Siemens announced it would make 19 light-rail cars as part of an $83 million contract awarded by Houston METRO.
In October 2010, the local plant announced the addition of 200 jobs as part of a $466 million contract to build electric locomotives for Amtrak's East Coast rail fleet.
On Wednesday, Cahill noted that sections of Portland already have benefited from rail transportation, and he's hopeful other U.S. cities will follow that lead.
"The renaissance of rail, as we like to call it, is happening in the United States," he said. "It's not happening quickly enough for us ... It can rejuvenate a (downtown) area."
Portland's latest light-rail project is considered a key to development, with about 22,000 households and 85,000 employees within walking distance of the stations. A projected 25,000 trips will be taken on the new line each weekday by 2030.
"This fifth generation of MAX light-rail vehicles will include many improvements for riders and operators," said Dan Blocher, TriMet's executive director of capital projects. "We're excited to be working with Siemens on the MAX vehicles TriMet needs to operate the region's light-rail system ..."
Siemens' S70 Type 5 vehicle for the Portland project has a maximum speed of 55 mph. Its low-floor design lets passengers board at street level.
Call The Bee's Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.
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