Metro railcars will be built at a new factory in Hagerstown, Maryland, manufacturer Hitachi Rail and the governor's office announced Monday.
The $70 million, 307,000-square-foot factory — about the size of more than five football fields — is part of Hitachi Rail's U.S. expansion and will be tasked with building Metro's new 8000-series railcars. Hitachi Rail plans to offer up to 460 full-time jobs and help sustain 1,300 jobs in the region, Gov. Larry Hogan's office said.
“With this new facility, Hitachi Rail will create hundreds of critical manufacturing jobs in our state with the capability to serve the wider North American market. We are excited to work together on this transformative project and look forward to the company’s continued success in Maryland," the governor said in a statement.
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The factory, which will be located near Hopewell Valley industrial park, is scheduled to be operational in winter 2023 or 2024. The factory will include a large production area, warehouse and main office alongside an on-site 800-yard test track, according to Hitachi Rail's statement. When fully operational, the factory will produce about 20 railcars per month.
Hitachi Rail and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority signed a $2.2 billion contract last year.
The new, all-electric Metro railcars will be equipped with modern technology and features aimed at improving passengers' experience, according to Hitachi Rail's statement. The railcars, each with 130 seats, will boast digital screens, Wi-Fi, high-definition security cameras and heated floors.
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Hitachi Rail said the new railcars will be a "major upgrade" as they will replace the Metro's 2000- and 3000-series fleets. The railcars will also be more energy efficient.
The factory site located in Washington County is a 90-minute drive from Metro's Greenbelt Rail Yard, where completed trains will be delivered. Hagerstown is also a major logistical center for rail transportation and has connections in the northeastern U.S., according to Hogan's statement.
“From here our 460 strong American workforce will build a fleet of modern metro trains and have the capability to build trains for towns and cities across North America,” Andrew Barr, group CEO of Hitachi Rail, said in a statement. “Hitachi Rail’s mission is to provide more seamless, sustainable journeys for passengers, customers and cities, and the creation of a new American train factory reflects our ambition to deliver for the United States.”