The first formal step towards the procurement of trains by the California High-Speed Rail Authority took place recently, when the authority asked rail manufacturers to submit interest letters for an initial order of — at a maximum — 95 sets of cars and engines.
Needless to say, only trains capable of achieving sub-3-hour service between San Francisco to Los Angeles will be considered. Manufacturers that are interested will also have to achieve the deadline for the interest letters — which is October 22.
“This is a big moment for our program,” explained Jeff Morales, CEO of the rail authority. “The manufacturing of trainsets and the establishing of maintenance facilities will mean more jobs, increased economic benefits, and allow for the possible development of a whole new high-speed rail industry here in California.”
The Sacramento Business Journal provides more:
The request for “expressions of interest” also allows rail manufacturers to describe how they would develop facilities to house and maintain the trains, which would each have a minimum of 450 seats.
A representative for Siemens Rail Systems said the German rail manufacturer is “very interested” in making a bid and, if successful, would build all the high-speed rail trains at its existing site in south Sacramento.
The announcement sets an important milestone for a project whose future was much more uncertain just one year ago. In 2014, the agency prevailed in an appeals case that grants access to $4.7 billion in voter-approved bonds, though plaintiffs in the case have asked the California Supreme Court to review the ruling.
“We expect that this will be a very competitive bid with strong interest from around the world. However, we feel confident that with our proven global experience and technology in high-speed rail, we can be a top contender,” stated Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Rail Systems in the US.
The project as whole is now finally starting to move along at a decent pace — the California High-Speed Rail Authority began demolition and construction testing in Fresno earlier this year, during the late summer.
Image Credit: California High-Speed Rail Authority
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