More than 1,100 visitors got on the train Sunday at Talgo, Inc.’s Milwaukee factory for the chance to be among the first to experience Talgo’s Series 8 trains, built for use on Amtrak’s Milwaukee-to-Chicago’s Hiawatha line.
“We are very excited at the turnout and support we received from the greater Milwaukee community at our open house on Sunday,” says Antonio Perez, president and CEO of Talgo, Inc. “This was a very successful event for us – it is clear that citizens of Milwaukee are on our side and enthused about putting these new trains into service and keeping these jobs in Wisconsin.”
Sunday’s open house was the first time Talgo’s Milwaukee manufacturing facility was open to the public. Visitors from throughout the state of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee-to-Chicago corridor, along with local, elected officials, attended the three-hour open house.
“Talgo and our Milwaukee workforce were very pleased at the opportunity to introduce our Series 8 cars to future riders at this event,” says Talgo vice president of Public Affairs and Business Development Nora Friend. “These train sets offer numerous improvements over the existing, aged Horizon Fleet sets, including WiFi, a café car for upgraded food service, ADA-compliant lavatories and bike racks. We look forward to their operation.”
Visitors to the Century City facility took train tours, enjoy refreshments and entertainment during the three-hour open house. Talgo representatives were on hand to answer any questions and provide information about the new trains. The open house was also an opportunity for the public to meet the Milwaukee workers, many who grew up in the surrounding neighborhood, who would be thrown out of work if the Walker Administration does not honor the state’s agreements.
The two completed Talgo Series 8 train sets are much lighter than the current Horizon Fleet sets, which will result in a signifi cant savings on fuel costs once the trains are in operation on the route. The lighter weights also improve the engineer’s ability to accelerate and brake more quickly. The innovative Series 8 design, including passive tilting technology, allows the train to take curves more comfortably and safely at higher speeds.
More than 80 Milwaukee-based employees, primarily members of the Machinists union, built two train sets in the Milwaukee factory for the Hiawatha corridor. They also have almost completed the manufacture of two train sets for the State of Oregon. Almost two-thirds of the parts used were sourced from local and regional American suppliers.
These trains were built according to specifications provided by the State of Wisconsin after more than 10 years of cooperative work, initially led by Governor Tommy Thompson.
Talgo has operated in the USA since the 1950s, and the American subsidiary has been headquartered in Seattle, Wash., since 1994. Talgo signed this contract irrespective of political parties and in good faith with the State of Wisconsin.