The state-of-the-art production facility is designed to efficiently build a wide variety of freight railcar types. It was originally constructed as a manufacturing plant for National Steel Car, but NSC, which is based in Ontario, Canada, abandoned its plans to manufacture freight cars in the U.S. and pulled out of the facility. Navistar, a manufacturer and marketer of medium and heavy trucks, buses, defense vehicles, and mid-range diesel engines, took over the plant in late 2011.
“This new plant is an important part of our long-term growth strategy as we continue to expand and diversify our railcar product and service offerings outside of our traditional coal car market,” said FCA President and COO Joseph McNeely. “This operation, with its excellent layout and production equipment, greatly improves our flexibility and competitiveness. I would like to recognize Navistar for their part in making this opportunity possible.”
FCA Chief Executive Officer Ed Whalen added, “We appreciate very much the support that we have received from the State of Alabama, the Retirement Systems of Alabama, the Shoals Economic Development Authority, and many others from the greater Shoals area as we begin operation here.”
Among the officials that attended the facility’s opening ceremonies were Hollie Pegg, Assistant Director of Business Development for the Department of Commerce, representing Governor Robert J. Bentley; Dr. David Bronner, CEO, Retirement Systems of Alabama (which financed the original deal with NSC); Tuscumbia Mayor Bill Shoemaker; Warren Johnson, Treasurer of the Shoals Economic Development Authority (SEDA); and other Alabama state and local officials and FreightCar America officials.
“The further utilization of this facility will add energy to the local business community, and is good news for the citizens of the Shoals area,” Johnson said.