Hundreds of highly-skilled manufacturing jobs are coming to Sacramento as part of a $371 million state contract to build new commuter railcars.
Originally, the plan was to build the railcars in Illinois. But, Caltrans and its partners reworked the agreement to bring in Siemens, a company with a large manufacturing facility in Sacramento County.
Siemens is already building diesel/electric locomotives at the plant for Amtrak's commuter lines, including the Capitol Corridor. Now, the firm will add construction of 137 passenger railcars.
Kyle Gradinger with Caltrans says the original contract called for double-decker cars, but the new deal changes the order to single-level. He says the new cars will be bright and airy.
"They are incredibly comfortable railcars. The engineering is superb on these, it's based on proven designs from Europe, so I think they'll enjoy the spaciousness, and the large windows and comfortable seats in these cars," Gradinger said.
But, Gradinger says the number of seats will be similar.
"There are also modifications that we're going to look at in the rail cars to provide high-quality bicycle storage and storage for large objects like wheelchairs and strollers," Gradinger said.
Production will begin within the year and run through 2023.