New Final Assembly Plant for CTA’s Next-Generation 7000-Series Rail Cars will be Built by 2018 on the Southeast Side, Creating Hundreds of Local Jobs
Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined Chicago Transit Authority President Dorval R. Carter, Jr., CRRC Sifang America, CenterPoint Properties, Jobs to Move America (JMA) and the Chicago Federation of Labor to break ground on a new $100 million facility on the Southeast Side of Chicago that will assemble the CTA’s newest rail cars, the 7000-series, and create more than 300 skilled factory and new construction jobs.
The new CRRC Sifang America facility will mark the first time in more than 50 years that CTA rail cars have been produced in Chicago – the latest example of how investment in the CTA promotes economic development and creates employment opportunities for Chicagoans.
“This new facility represents a major investment in Chicago that will bring economic opportunities to the Southeast Side, while creating good-paying jobs for hundreds of workers,” Mayor Emanuel said. “The rail cars that emerge from this facility will be the latest step we’ve taken to invest in world-class transportation, and to create a 21st Century transit system.”
As part of CTA’s ongoing modernization efforts, the agency last year awarded a manufacturing contract to CRRC’s U.S. subsidiary, CRRC Sifang America, to build up to 846 new rail cars. The CTA’s first order of 400 rail cars will be assembled at the new facility and will replace CTA’s oldest railcars, which are more than 30 years old.
Once these new vehicles are in service, CTA will have one of the youngest fleets of any U.S. transit agency.
“CRRC Sifang America is grateful for the opportunity to work with the Chicago Transit Authority to produce the next generation of railcars in Chicago, for Chicago,” said CRRC Corporation Vice President Sun Yongcai, who also serves as a member of the CRRC standing committee. “We are committed to producing top-of-the- line railcars to enhance CTA rider experience, while also creating new jobs at our assembly facility in the city. We are confident CRRC Sifang America’s partnerships in Chicago will make this project a success for us and for the city.”
The 7000-series rail cars, which will be the first CTA rail cars produced in Chicago since 1964, include such features as AC-power propulsion for smooth, quiet rides; additional security cameras both inside and outside the vehicle; and GPS-triggered announcements and automatic passenger counting for improved service planning.
“We are committed to providing our customers with more reliable and comfortable transportation for decades to come,” CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. said. “We are continuing our investments in new buses and trains that will improve commutes, lower maintenance costs and provide a more pleasant customer experience.”
The 380,994-square-foot facility, paid for entirely by CRRC, will employ at least 169 factory and warehouse workers, as well as support approximately 200 construction jobs to build the facility. Approximately $7 million will be spent on training for their Chicago final assembly facility workforce.
“It has been more than 30 years since the last rail car rolled off the Pullman assembly line on the South Side and over 50 years since CTA’s rail cars were produced in Chicago. Today’s groundbreaking represents a new beginning for Chicago manufacturing - one that will help attract much-needed business and development to this area,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said. “I will continue to work to ensure that the CTA has the federal funding it needs, and I thank Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Transit Authority for their hard work and commitment to modernizing our public transportation system.”
“Projects like this that upgrade and improve our public transit system, create good-paying jobs and invest in our communities are exactly the sort of projects we should be encouraging,” U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth said. “Improving our city’s infrastructure and bringing rail car manufacturing jobs back to the Southside of Chicago for the first time in over three decades is a significant achievement that will open up new economic opportunities for local businesses and working families.”
“Once again, rail cars will be manufactured on the South Side. This continues our unique legacy that dates back 150 years to George Pullman,” Congresswoman Robin Kelly said. “I’m glad that this state-of-the-art facility will be creating jobs in the Second District community, while driving economic growth and serving the needs of America’s transit systems.”
CRRC Sifang America is committed to hiring from communities that make up the City of Chicago and surrounding areas and is working with unions such as the Chicago Federation of Labor, IBEW and SMART, to secure a union workforce from within these communities.
Working with CRRC Sifang America and the Unions in this endeavor are JMA, Calumet Area Industrial Commission (CAIC) and City Colleges of Chicago.
“Jobs to Move America congratulates CRRC on its commitment to invest in high-quality U.S. jobs and a permanent Chicago manufacturing facility. This initiative has been four years in the making and would not have been possible without the partnership of the CFL, the City of Chicago and the CTA. The community benefits agreement marks the first comprehensive jobs program of its kind that focuses on economic development in communities historically excluded from the manufacturing sector. Mayor Emanuel and Chicago are setting a precedent for the nation, lifting up industry standards and creating a model for how communities and businesses can work together in the future,” said Linda Nguyen, Deputy Director of JMA.
“Today I’m proud to say that 36 years after the last rail car rolled out of the Pullman factory, rail cars will once again be union made on Chicago’s Southside, thanks to a tremendous effort between Mayor Emanuel, the CTA, the CFL and the Jobs to Move America coalition. For many years, we have watched U.S. manufacturing jobs move overseas. The size of this bid provided Chicago an opportunity to leverage a robust manufacturing jobs program that will strengthen the middle class, stimulate increased investment in new domestic manufacturing facilities, and create opportunities for low income communities,” Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor.
The new facility, expected to be complete in spring 2018, will assemble the CTA’s base order of 400 railcars for a total of $632 million or $1.58 million per car, with future options for an additional 446 railcars. These 7000-series vehicles are the first railcars purchased by CTA in more than a decade since 2006, when the 5000-series contract was awarded to Bombardier. The first rail car prototypes are expected to be completed in 2019.
Under Mayor Emanuel’s leadership, since 2011 the CTA has completed, begun or announced more than $8 billion in projects to modernize and upgrade the bus and rail system.