Talgo bringing $139 million in rail car overhaul work to Milwaukee

Last updated on June 27th, 2019 at 12:51 pm

Spanish train maker Talgo Inc. will bring additional work to Milwaukee after its joint venture with Paris-based engineering and consulting firm Systra was awarded a $138.9 million overhaul contract by the Southern California Regional Rail Authority.

The base contract is for 50 Bombardier rail cars currently operated by Metrolink with an option for up to 71 additional cars. The parties expect to deliver the first cars 450 days after receiving a notice to proceed and will deliver the 50th car in April 2023.

Overhaul work on the cars includes remodeling restrooms, updating HVAC systems, installing new seat cushions and flooring, and updating communications systems.

“Our joint venture is confident that the unique combination of experience and capabilities will provide the best value and most reliable on-time performance on this rebuild project,” Antonio Perez, Talgo president and CEO, said in a statement.

Antonio Perez, Talgo president and CEO

Most of the cars included in the contract were built in 1992 and 1993 with a recommendation for a mid-life rebuild around 15 years, according to Metrolink board documents. The cars were not rebuilt on schedule because of a lack of funding. Other cars included in the contract were built in 1997, 1998 and 2002.

Talgo-Systra outbid Bombardier, the original manufacturer of the cars, for the contract. Bombardier’s price was $147.7 million and the Talgo-Systra joint venture had a higher technical score.

The Metrolink contract is the second overhaul contract Talgo has brought to Milwaukee. The company originally established operations in the city to build high-speed rail cars for a line from Milwaukee to Madison. Talgo leased space in a former A.O. Smith building in the 30th Street Industrial Corridor with the promise of bring hundreds of jobs to Milwaukee’s central city.

Then-Gov. Scott Walker canceled the project, however, and the company left Milwaukee after reaching a nearly $10 million settlement with the state.

Talgo returned to Milwaukee in 2017 after receiving a $73 million contract to overhaul up to 74 cars for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The project is scheduled to run for 56 months, suggesting it would wrap up in 2021 or 2022.

With delivery of the 50th car on the Metrolink contract scheduled for April 2023, the new contract will keep the Century City site busy beyond the L.A. County deal.

Talgo officials did not immediately respond to emailed questions regarding the potential for additional employment. City officials said they expected 25 to 30 jobs to be created when the company landed the L.A. County deal.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers manufacturing for BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.