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Hitachi Rail to build new production site in the US

22 March 2022
Reading time ~ 3 min
3d-render of a Hitachi Rail train for the Washington Metro
3d-render of a Hitachi Rail train for the Washington Metro. Source: Hitachi Rail
Belov Sergey, Editor-in-Chief, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency
Reading time ~ 3 min
Litvintsova Olga, Editor of International Projects, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency

USA: In first years, the site will produce metro cars in order to deliver it to Washington. The volume of investments should be to $70 mln USD.

The project is being implemented as part of a large-scale contract between the manufacturer and the WMATA operator worth $2.2 bln USD. According to it, Hitachi Rail is to supply 256 railcars, and another 800 units may be provided as options.

According to Hitachi Rail, up to 460 people are planned to be hired to work at the new facility in Maryland, and 60% of the announced investment will be directed to the development of nearby suppliers. In general, production should cover an area of ​​more than 28 thsd sq m, and it is also planned to create more than 700 m of test tracks for the rolling stock dynamic tests. The site should start operating in the winter of 2023.

Hitachi Rail says the facility will be able to produce 20 metro cars per month, with the possibility to diversify to production of other rolling stock, including trams and high-speed trains. At the same time, Hitachi already has a production facility in the United States, in Florida: it was opened in 2016 under a basic contract for the production of 136 Miami metro cars and 272 motor bogies.

In turn, for the Washington Metro, Hitachi Rail is to deliver a new generation of metro trains – the 8000 series, which will replace the operated vehicles of the 2000 and 3000 series (in operation since the 1980s, produced by Breda that later became a part of Hitachi). According to the manufacturer, the new vehicles will meet increased cybersecurity requirements, have improved recuperating braking and air conditioning technologies, and include floor heating. The project also includes the installation of door vision systems, which will provide the possibility of individual response to obstacles, as well as digital screens for passengers. Pairs of two cars will have 130 seats.

The Hitachi’s project comes against the backdrop of problems in Washington at another Japanese manufacturer, Kawasaki Rail, which delivered 748 7000-series cars to the US capital in the 2010s. Last autumn, the operation of these cars, which now make up almost 60% of the WMATA fleet, was stopped due to the derailment of the train because of the problems with the wheelset. Currently, the cars continue to be out of service as part of a 90-day moratorium set by the operator WMATA to ensure a thorough analysis and to install necessary equipment for measuring train wheels.