Brightline, the higher-speed passenger rail service being developed by Florida East Coast Industries subsidiary All Aboard Florida, and Siemens Rolling Stock announced on January 26, 2016 that the first stainless steel carshell for the new service has been completed.
Described as “a major construction milestone,” the carshell is part of the first of Brightline’s initial five four-car, 240-passenger trainsets, with more trainsets to follow as the service expands. Siemens is also supplying the locomotives, which will be its Charger 125-mph diesel-electrics.
More than 70 employees at the Siemens manufacturing facility in Sacramento, Calif., work on building the 85-foot long carshells, using more than 50,000 welds to construct it. Siemens is employing first-of-its-kind stainless steel spot-welding technology, and these coaches will be the only carbody with a flat sidewall of this type in the U.S. market. The completed coach shell will now go through a finishing process, preparing it for final assembly. To support the skills needed for the advanced welding techniques, Siemens has launched a workforce development and training initiative, partnering with local community colleges and the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA). Siemens has also developed “a robust and diverse base of U.S. rail suppliers to support the next-generation of rail manufacturing for Brightline, including components from more than 40 suppliers in more than 20 states with additional suppliers still being added.”
“With the completion of the first carshell, we are bringing our vision for a truly unique train service that will transform travel in Florida one step closer to fruition,” said Brightline President Mike Reininger. “The Siemens team has been working diligently, and we are thrilled to mark this milestone as the finishing of this car progresses and the manufacture of additional cars continues.”
“We’re thrilled to be marking this production milestone with the Brightline team and also recognizing the highly-skilled work taking place at our Sacramento rail manufacturing plant,” said Siemens Rolling Stock President Michael Cahill. “Siemens has been successfully building America’s next era of innovative, high-performance and energy-efficient transportation solutions out of our Sacramento hub for decades, and we are excited to continue that tradition by employing the industry’s latest technologies and techniques to build these state-of-the-art trainsets for Brightline and its future riders.”
The Siemens Sacramento manufacturing plant, which has been in operation for almost 30 years, is powered up to 80% by two megawatts of solar energy. It currently employs more than 800 people, and includes a recent 125,000-square-foot expansion to accommodate growing production needs. Brightline has also poured the first concrete foundation for its Running Repair Facility in West Palm Beach, where the trains will be serviced and housed. Siemens will perform service and maintenance on the trains there. The facility is expected to be operation in August. Construction is also under way on Brightline’s train stations in Miami at MiamiCentral, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando.
Brightline is an express passenger rail service that will connect Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando.