Metro begins talks with passenger rail car manufacturers about unique partnership

Here’s the news release that Metro issued this morning:

As Metro continues to position Los Angeles County as a transportation center for excellence, CEO Phillip Washington and agency executives held a roundtable Thursday with international rail car manufacturers and consultants to discuss how transportation innovation can translate to the presence of a passenger rail manufacturing facility in L.A. County.

Among some of the ideas discussed were locating a full-scale facility where passenger rail cars could be designed, manufactured, tested and refurbished, or establishing a universal facility that would provide testing operations such as test tracks, which are in extremely limited supply in the United States. The effort would also extend to the manufacturing suppliers around the nation. Metro and the firms also talked about a ‘mobility innovation park’ that could be shared by several companies and perhaps focus on a variety of sectors in the transportation industry.

Metro’s Measure M sales tax measure, which was approved overwhelmingly by county voters in 2016, is funding the construction of 40 major transportation projects over the next 40 years. With the 105-mile Metro Rail network expected to roughly double in size, Metro anticipates needing more than 900 new light rail vehicles and 800-plus subway cars to meet its future needs. Metro is also seeking to operate a fully electric-powered bus fleet by 2030. But the concept would serve not only Metro’s needs, but the entire U.S. market.

“The roundtable today was just the beginning of exploring how we can innovate the presence of passenger rail car manufacturing here in LA County,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “We’re excited about the possibilities we heard from our colleagues and I am eager to continue the conversation to see how we can think differently about the role passenger rail manufacturing plays in bringing jobs and better mobility to our region.”

Categories: Projects

11 replies

  1. San Bernardino and Lancaster seem like ideal locations for such an operation. They’re already rail served and those communities could definitely use some manufacturing investment.

  2. Let’s build rail cars here in California. Let’s innovate and have technology licensing. If the Boring Company can help full size rail cars get better, so be it.

    • This is already done by Siemens in Sacramento. What experience does Elon Musk have in building railcars?

      • Metro should hold its horsepower on any Elon Musk (his real name?) boring proposal. By his own words he is over his head with other people’s money. Besides Siemens makes a good product already!

      • Isn’t the Siemens facility for refurb and locomotives only? Not for ground-up building of LRT and HRT cars?

        Elon Musk does not have experience building rail cars. But, Tesla has done technology transfer to the skates for the Boring company. Rail cars might benefit from the advances in automation and other tech from some of the Tesla cars (sensing people/things on the tracks and applying the brakes, motor development, batteries to handle brief interrupts in power, etc.) The Boring Company might bring small automated cars to the table for use on fully grade separated lines, with their platooning capability. Also developments in acceleration efficiency (use of batteries to even out the load on the grid.) There are many things that can be applied to the sector from other areas. Rail cars (the shell) can stand some updating. It is likely that several tons of mass can still be dropped from the cars (provided the Feds allow designs that are just as safe.)

        It is not just those companies that can provide ideas and technology. Those are just some of the easiest examples of companies that are innovating rapidly. Having a facility that is close to other companies will be useful (especially if the design end is here.) And having Metro hosting get togethers for builders and other groups can be a boon.

  3. One question only: will Metro’s proposed, state-of-the- art train factory also be able to build badly needed bus shelters for Metro’s loyal, but long suffering and sweating bus riders? Maybe Metro can kind the money in the “mobility innovation park’s” petty cash?

  4. Great idea. If this comes to fruition, is there an estimate on the impact it may have on our county in terms of return on investment to tax payers?

  5. Rail experience? Elon Musk don’t need no rail experience! He don’t need any stinkin’ rail experience! All he needs is clueless people’s money!

  6. Oh I understand now, Metro regards Tesla & Co.’s situation as: “innovating rapidly”. Is that like: “The truth isn’t the truth”? It’s still hot outside and Metro’s loyal Bus Riders are still baking in the sun–but that’s okay “it’s a dry-heat”–or rather it was until we started getting Arizona-like monsoons these last few Summers, along with mosquitoes, apparently due to “Global Warming.” I wonder how many bus shelters Metro could punch-out of a single rail shell?