Caltrans said the ‘100% Buy America’ coaches would be built at Siemens’ Sacramento plant.

USA: A multi-state contract for Sumitomo Corp of Americas to supply locomotive–hauled coaches for use in California, Illinois, Michigan and Missouri has been amended, with the order now to be fulfilled with Siemens as Sumitomo’s subcontractor rather than Nippon Sharyo.

In September 2012 the four states co-operating in the California-led joint procurement agreed to award Sumitomo a $352m contract to supply 120 double-deck vehicles, which were to have been manufactured at Nippon Sharyo’s plant in Rochelle, Illinois, for delivery between late 2015 and early 2018. However, a prototype bodyshell suffered a structural failure during testing, and it was realised that the required redesign would delay the project beyond the validity of federal funding agreements.

The revised contract worth $371m which was announced on November 8 now covers the supply of 49 single-deck coaches to California Department of Transportation and 88 to Illinois Department of Transportation on behalf of the Midwest states. Caltrans said production of the ‘100% Buy America’ vehicles at Siemens’ Sacramento plant was now expected to begin ‘within the year’.

The coaches would ‘use the industry’s latest, proven rail technology to provide passengers with a safe, modern and highly comfortable ride’, said Michael Cahill, President of Siemens Rolling Stock. They would have ‘spacious, modern interiors’, with wi-fi, power sockets, tables, large windows, cycle racks, overhead luggage storage and accessible toilets with touchless controls.

The Caltrans cars are to be used on the Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor routes. ‘These new railcars will ensure that the California inter-city passenger rail fleet can support future service expansion plans’, said Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority Managing Director David Kutrosky.