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INSIDE INDUSTRY

01 Mar 2004

Siemens closes Carson factory

SIEMENS Transportation Systems ceased production at its Carson, California, light rail vehicle bodyshell plant on January 15, after completing work on 17 SD600 low-floor cars for Portland's TriMet. The plant equipment was auctioned on January 21, and the leased site returned to the owners.

The Carson factory has been closed as part of a shift towards modular construction of light rail vehicles and greater use of glass fibre components. A former steel plant, it had rolled out its first bodyshell on July 10 1996. The initial order for 54 SD460 vehicles for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority was followed by orders from cities including Calgary, Salt Lake City, Denver and St Louis.

Siemens expects most future US light rail orders to be for its Avanto S70, which has a welded steel frame and glass fibre sidewalls supplied by a subcontractor. These can be fully assembled at Siemens' Sacramento plant, where 11 cars are currently being built for San Diego Trolley.

If a customer still requires the SD600, work will be subcontracted to SuperSteel Schenectady. This firm has acquired some tooling from Carson and hired experienced Siemens employees. The shells would then be shipped to Sacramento for completion.

H Siemens has opened an office in York to support fixed network telecommunications contracts in the UK. n