A recently announced contract between Alstom and Metra, the commuter rail system in the Chicago metropolitan area, has generated excitement locally with the promise of 250 new jobs and the preservation of up to 400 sustainable, highly skilled manufacturing and engineering positions.
The deal involves the supply of 200 push-pull cars (worth approximately $769 million) but that’s just the start of things where the boost to Hornell is concerned. Metra’s board of directors voted in January to award Alstom the contract to deliver up to 500 rail cars, so the relationship is likely to be even more fruitful as time goes on. This means lots of new work at North America’s largest rolling stock manufacturing facility: Alstom’s Hornell facility, which will lead the project
“The Metra contract Alstom recently secured is more than a big deal,” said Hornell Mayor John J. Buckley. “This contract significantly changes the landscape of rail manufacturing in Hornell and beyond going forward.”
Buckley added that this growth is a great compliment to other positive developments happening in the city.
“While Alstom continues to flourish and we anxiously await the positive effects of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), many other businesses are experiencing success,” Buckley explained. “TTA and Stobels have added jobs over the last several years on the manufacturing side while retail continues to be strong with continued growth in the Wegmans/WalMart Plaza. At the same time, numerous small businesses have opened in the Maple City.”
Hornell IDA Executive Director Jim Griffin echoed Buckley’s sentiments and said the Alstom deal is the result of decades of planning and relationships.
“We’ve been grateful to the Alstom leadership for their commitment to Hornell since they began working here in 1997,” Griffin said. “They’ve worked with us every step of the way to build their presence here strategically, so this latest development is only the most recent evidence of a strong relationship we hope will last for a long time for the people of Hornell and our region.”
The Steuben County IDA has worked to support Alstom’s growth by connecting Compin and Gunlocke to establish a partnership that helped save jobs and source quality supply chain components for local rail car manufacturing processes.
“Alstom is pleased to have been selected by Metra to provide the latest in multilevel car design,” said Jerome Wallut, President, Alstom Americas in a press release. “Alstom continues to invest and support investment in U.S. railroad infrastructure, and these new cars will allow Metra to extract maximum value from their fleet investments by increasing fleet reliability, enhancing overall passenger experience and ensuring maximum accessibility for all passengers.”
According to a release from Alstom, the multilevel cars incorporate new design features to improve passenger experience, including: a streamlined, modern and welcoming interior, equipped with USB plugs and boasting large windows and a layout to improve passenger flow and traveller comfort; seating and spacing to allow for additional ridership and physical distancing; touchless doors; improved design for improved ride quality; and multiple wide doors on each side of the cars to reduce passenger boarding times and improve access to passenger areas.
The new cars will also meet all Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and accessibility requirements, including the addition of wheelchair lifts on each side of the vehicles. Fleet reliability will be enhanced through modern, service-proven components and enhanced maintenance and diagnostic system capabilities that will allow Metra to have greater visibility on fleet operational performance and increase fleet availability. Moreover, the new eco-designed cars will be energy efficient, boasting improvements and developments such as full LED lighting and climate control regulation based on passenger load. The new rail cars will also be 90% recyclable.