For Siemens Mobility, ‘a New East Coast Hometown’ (UPDATED)Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
Siemens Mobility, which has been manufacturing rail rolling stock in the U.S. since 1984, will be opening a new, $220 million, 200-acre plant in Lexington, N.C. in 2024. Billed as an “advanced manufacturing and rail services facility,” it will be the company’s “new East Coast hometown,” according to Marc Buncher, CEO of Siemens Mobility North America, and will “fulfill the growing demand for passenger rail in America by producing some of the most innovative and sustainable passenger trains in the North American market.”
With numerous locations in North America, including its Sacramento, Calif., headquarters and rolling stock plant, Siemens is the largest passenger rolling stock manufacturer in the U.S. Located within North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad region, the new Lexington facility will focus on building new passenger rail coaches for intercity and regional rail services as well as overhauling locomotives and passenger coaches, a first for Siemens. With room for expansion, it is expected to create more than 500 new jobs at the outset and be one of the city’s largest employers.
Designed with the aid of digital twins, the Lexington plant “will incorporate some of the latest technologies found in our Sacramento facility, including robotic welding, 3D printing and Virtual Reality welder training,” Siemens noted in its March 7 announcement. “When fully operational, it will be carbon-neutral, playing an important role in our sustainability commitments.”
Global design and consultancy firm Arcadis has been selected to provide Siemens Real Estate with project management services, including renewable-energy planning services to help evaluate the power generation potential for installing solar panels at the facility.
“The appointment follows a nearly year-long relationship with Siemens on this project, during which Arcadis played a pivotal role in engaging with both local, state, and national stakeholders to identify and narrow down site options that work best for Siemens Real Estate and Siemens Mobility and other organizations involved in the project, based on concept design,” Arcadis reported April 6. The firm said it also aided in project design through conceptual layout and cost estimating and is now transitioning into pre-construction services, project management and construction management.
Lexington is in Davidson County and home to nearly 20,000. The Piedmont Triad is a commerce hub “with access to transportation and a strong workforce in central North Carolina.” Siemens Mobility will be receiving a 12-year Job Development Investment Grant from the state; the facility is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $1.6 billion.
“America is investing in rail, and we are investing in America,” said Dr. Roland Busch, CEO of Siemens AG. “Siemens has invested $3 billion in manufacturing expansions and M&A activities in the U.S. over the past four years alone, including nearly $400 million to grow its U.S. manufacturing footprint, and more than $2.5 billion in strategic U.S. acquisitions. This new facility will build rail technology to help transform everyday life for millions of passengers around the country, particularly as the country sees a resurgence in public transit and intercity travel.”
“Now is the moment for rail in America, and this facility supports our strategy to grow in close proximity to our customers as well as provide us with the added capacity needed to push the boundaries of innovation,“ added Buncher.
“Siemens Mobility’s announcement catapults the growth Lexington and Davidson County have recently been experiencing,” said Lexington Mayor Jason Hayes. “The investment and jobs that this project brings to the area will improve the quality of life for countless in our community. We are so excited to see how this will transform the entire region over the next several decade.”
Siemens Mobility has eight U.S. manufacturing facilities employing 4,000 in Alpharetta, Ga.; Louisville and Marion, Ky.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; New Castle, Del.; Tualatin, Ore.; Sacramento, at two locations. The company sources components from more than 2,000 domestic suppliers in 40 states. Lexington will be the company’s ninth manufacturing site. Its sister site will be the 60-acre, up-to-80% solar-powered, 2,500-employee rolling stock facility in Sacramento, which has been manufacturing vehicles for more than 30 years and has delivered more than 3,000 locomotives, passenger coaches and LRVs under Buy America requirements.
Railway Age Executive Editor Marybeth Luczak contributed to this report.