Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sumitomo lands Midwest/Calif. HrSR order

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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and federal officials on Monday announced that Sumitomo Corp. of America has been awarded a $352 million contract from California's Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for 130 railcars destined for higher-speed rail (HrSR) use in the U.S. Midwest and in California.

Caltrans last September issued a Notice of Intent to award Sumitomo Corp. of America the contract. Sumitomo will deliver the railcars through railcar manufacturer Nippon Sharyo, which will build the cars at its new plant in Rochelle, Ill., which also is to handle an order for Metra Highliner equipment.

This next-generation equipment procurement is being funded through the Federal Railroad Administration and has met all requirements to ensure that the final assembly be prepared by American workers, with American-sourced steel, iron and manufactured components.

"Illinois is committed to building a high-speed, 21st century rail system and leading the nation in rail equipment manufacturing," Gov. Quinn said. "By working together with other states, the federal government and outstanding Illinois-based companies like Nippon Sharyo, we can put people back to work and advance Illinois' role as one of the nation's top transportation hubs."

Gov. Quinn, joined by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, last month marked the upgrade of rail right-of-way between Pontiac and Dwight, Ill., to 110 mph standards, the first step toward a larger upgrade for passenger rail service linking St. Louis and Chicago. Union Pacific owns most of the right-of-way along the route plied by Amtrak intercity service.

The joint procurement between Caltrans and Illinois DOT is described as "the final step in a first of its kind multi-state procurement that will also see new railcars delivered to Michigan and Missouri." California will buy 42 railcars and the Midwest coalition will buy 88 railcars, which will operate out of Amtrak's Chicago hub. The new cars are designed for operation at speeds up to 125 mph, making them at best an interim equipment move for California as the Golden State prepares to begin work on an intrastate high speed rail network capable of 200 mph top speeds.

"SCOA, with our carbuilder subcontractor Nippon Sharyo, is most pleased to be selected for the U.S.'s first high-speed railcar procurement under The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. We also look forward to working closely with these four transit authorities and to be part of the growth of their surrounding communities." said Hideyuki "Hugh" Ninomiya, director, Transportation Systems and Equipment, Sumitomo Corp. of America.

New York-based Sumitomo Corp. of America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sumitomo Corp.