California High Speed Rail Authority Reaches Milestone

The Authority is ready to purchase trainsets, and once again, the Siemen's rail manufacturing facility in Sacramento is looking to add another contract to add to its growing rail car orders. A request for "expressions of interest" was issued.

2 minute read

October 4, 2014, 9:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

"The California High-Speed Rail Authority took its first formal step Thursday (Oct. 2) to procure trains, asking rail manufacturers to submit interest letters for an initial order of up to 95 sets of engines and cars," writes Allen Young of the Sacramento Business Journal. Rail manufacturers are asked "to describe how they would develop facilities to house and maintain the trains, which would each have a minimum of 450 seats," adds Young.

The announcement sets an important milestone for a project whose future was much more uncertain just one year ago. In 2014, the agency prevailed in an appeals case that grants access to $4.7 billion in voter-approved bonds, though plaintiffs in the case have asked the California Supreme Court to review the ruling.

“We are going to have the first true high-speed rail system in America and industry leaders from around the world are
eager to talk to us about why their trains should be running on our tracks,” said Authority CEO Jeff Morales in a news release [PDF] on Oct. 2.

Young writes that "(a) representative for Siemens Rail Systems said the German rail manufacturer is 'very interested' in making a bid and, if successful, would build all the high-speed rail trains at its existing site in south Sacramento."

Should it win the bid, the plant will be very busy building MUNI's replacement light rail vehicles, new diesel trainsets for the 125-mph All Aboard Florida's Miami to Orlando train due to open in 2016, and, in partnership with Cummins, Inc., new "Advanced-Technology Diesel Electric EPA Tier 4 Locomotives" for California, Washington, Michigan and Missouri, and Illinois as noted here in March.

In addition to the favorable appeal's court ruling on July 31, the project has secured funding from the state's cap and trade program. "News of an annual funding allocation of $250 million or more enticed nine major private companies to write letters expressing interest in contributing to the project through building and financing," writes Young.

The expressions of interest are due Oct. 22.

Thursday, October 2, 2014 in Sacramento Business Journal

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