The Siemens Mobility train factory in Sacramento has won an order for 14 light rail trains for the Houston area. This new order represents more long-term manufacturing in Sacramento, where Siemens employs 1,300 people.
In December, Siemens received two orders for a total of $1.6 billion to build heavy rail vehicles for Amtrak and for the Canadian rail service.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County has previously ordered twice from Siemens, and this will bring to 51 the total number of trains ordered from Siemens, according to Siemens Mobility.
Houston’s transit system was the first in the country to use low-floor light rail trains, where the inside of the coach is level with the platform, which allows access for wheelchairs. Many light rail systems, such as Sacramento’s, have steps into the trains or special ramps for wheelchairs.
Since Houston pioneered the low-floor trains, Siemens has had orders for more than 600 of the vehicles from 11 cities across the country, according to a news release from Siemens.
Houston launched its light rail system in 2004 with 12 miles of track. It now has three different lines and just under 23 miles of track, said Laura Whitley, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County.
Siemens Mobility spokeswoman Elizabeth Cho said she couldn’t disclose the value of the Houston order. Whitley said she didn’t immediately have the contract value available.
Siemens builds heavy rail cars, locomotives and light rail cars at a largely solar-powered factory just south of Sacramento, where Siemens has been building trains and light rail systems since 1985.
The 600,000-square-foot train factory is on a 60-acre campus at 7338 French Road. The company also has a repair facility at McClellan Park.
Last May, Siemens Mobility got permits from Sacramento County for a 77,258-square-foot expansion of its manufacturing buildings, and in June, Siemens took out a building permit for $9.1 million in construction at the factory. Siemens Mobility is a subsidiary of Berlin- and Munich-based conglomerate Siemens AG.