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High speed trains will be built in Milwaukee


MILWAUKEE (WSAU) Milwaukee is where the new trains will be built for Wisconsin’s high-speed rail service. Governor Jim Doyle is expected to announce today that Talgo of Spain will move into the vacant Tower Automotive plant.

Doyle went to Spain a year ago to see Talgo’s operation. And his administration later chose the firm to build a pair of 14-car trains somewhere in Wisconsin with a controversial no-bid contract. One other plant in Milwaukee said it was turned down to host Talgo, and officials in Janesville and Appleton said they were rejected as well. The state has a nearly 50-million-dollar contract to build two new trains for Amtrak’s current Hiawatha line from Milwaukee-to-Chicago, with two more planned for the line from Milwaukee-to-Madison.

The Tower site has a railroad spur that connects to the new Madison line. The plant was originally supposed to create 80 jobs. But Milwaukee Alderman Bob Bauman tells the Journal Sentinel that hundreds of jobs could be created. That’s because Oregon announced last week it was ordering a pair of new trains at the Wisconsin plant for an Amtrak high-speed line that runs from Eugene to Vancouver Canada. There are also reports that other states might be interested in having the new Milwaukee plant build its rail cars as well.

Talgo is not commenting on any of this until after Doyle’s late morning news conference at the plant site.