Hitachi Rail announces location for US$70m factory to build all-electric railcars for Washington Metro

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Hitachi Rail has announced that Washington County, Maryland, will be the location of its state-of-the-art US$70m factory that will build the new fleet of all-electric 8000-series railcars for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro).

In a major expansion of Hitachi Rail’s presence in the US, the new site, which is scheduled to be operational in winter 2023/24, will manufacture modern railcars for the Washington DC region and will have the capacity to serve the wider North American railway market.

The site in Washington County, Maryland, is well located to serve the Washington metro area – and is 90 minutes from Metro’s Greenbelt Rail Yard, where the completed trains will be delivered. An important advantage of the location is that the Greater Hagerstown region is a major center for logistics and has excellent connections to the Northeastern United States and beyond.

The factory building will cover 307,000ft2 and includes a large production area, warehouse, and main office. The manufacturing facilities will be built on a 41-acre plot, which will also be equipped with an 800-yard test track allowing dynamic testing of trains on site.

When fully operational, the factory will be able to produce up to 20 railcars per month on a single shift and have the capability to build trains of all different types, from trams and metros to high-speed trains.

The factory’s first order will be to deliver the 8000-series fleet for Metro as part of an up to US$2.2bn contract that was announced in March 2021. The base order of 256 new railcars – with additional options of up to 800 in the fleet – will increase reliability, offer modern on-board technology and an improved passenger experience.

The all-electric vehicles, with 130 seats per pair of cars, will be a major upgrade when they replace the 2000- and 3000-series fleets, which have been in service since the early 1980s. For Metro, the new fleet will help improve the service for passengers, be easier to maintain and reduce costs.

Hitachi Rail is becoming a climate change innovator, and the new 8000-series will help meet the Washington DC region’s sustainability goals by encouraging more people out of cars and on to the electric-powered Metro trains – thereby reducing congestion, pollution, and carbon emissions. The trains themselves will be quieter and more energy efficient than the older fleets they will replace.

Andrew Barr, group CEO, Hitachi Rail, said, “Hitachi Rail’s mission is to provide more seamless, sustainable journeys for passengers, customers and cities, and the creation of a new American train factory reflects our ambition to deliver for the United States.”