News & Reviews News Wire Siemens to build $220 million railcar factory in North Carolina

Siemens to build $220 million railcar factory in North Carolina

By Bob Johnston | March 7, 2023

| Last updated on February 5, 2024

Facility will also handle service of existing equipment

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Passenger car under construction
A Brightline coach under construction at Siemens’ Sacramento factory on June 7, 2016. Siemens has announced it will build a new railcar plant in North Carolina. Bob Johnston

LEXINGTON, N.C. — Siemens Mobility officials announced Tuesday on a media call with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Amit Bose that they intend to construct a $220 million passenger railcar manufacturing facility designed to complement the company’s existing Sacramento, Calif., plant.

Dr. Roland Busch, CEO of parent company Siemens AG, told reporters, “Sacramento on the West Coast is very successful and coming to its limits, so we are adding, in Lexington on the East Coast, roughly 30% of the capacity we already have, in phase one.”

Busch says 500 workers will be employed on the 200-acre site; Cooper estimates the facility will have a $1.6 billion impact for North Carolina.

White building with Siemens sign.
The Siemens Mobility plant in Sacramento, Calif. Bob Johnston

Siemens looked at more than 30 locations in a dozen states. “When you are trying to find 200 acres along a main line anywhere in the United States, it becomes very difficult,” says Marc Buncher, CEO of Siemens Mobility North America.

“We’ll be excited to cut the ribbon in two years when we pull our first cars out of the plant,” he says. “There’s plenty of room to expand, and it would be great to be able to get some big orders and get into the locomotive space possibly, or some other car type in the future.”

Buncher says he hasn’t spoken to customers about what will be constructed at the new plant, “but we do have orders going out to 2029. We built a couple of new buildings (in Sacramento) for the Venture program and we definitely want to take advantage of the buildings that were set up for that.”

He notes that the new Lexington plant will be a dual-purpose facility “that will build trains and do service on our existing fleet. This gives us the opportunity to bring in cars, locomotives, and light rail vehicles to help service our customers on the East Coast so they don’t have to transport all the way across the country — that was one of the main drivers.”

Siemens Mobility trainsets currently being manufactured in Sacramento include completion of Venture trainsets for the Midwest and California after production and supplier problems continue to delay their deployment; a similar fleet of 32 trainsets for VIA Rail Canada; an additional 20 coaches for Brightline to be delivered in 2024; and 83 semi-permanently-coupled trainsets to replace Amtrak’s nearly 50-year-old Amfleet cars [see “Amtrak rolls out ‘Airo’ branding …,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 15, 2022].

One likely nearby customer is North Carolina’s Rail Division, which is looking to replace the heritage fleet it began assembling decades ago to start and expand its Charlotte-Raleigh Piedmont service, although all of the funding for that acquisition has yet to be appropriated. Its state-sponsored New York-Charlotte Carolinian is be converted to Airo equipment, which will pass through Lexington on Norfolk Southern rails.

Passenger train passes freshly graded dirt and dump trucks
A Raleigh-bound Piedmont passes a grade separation construction site near Charlotte, N.C., in September 2015. New cars for the state-supported Piedmont service would be logical products of the new Siemens plant. Bob Johnston

8 thoughts on “Siemens to build $220 million railcar factory in North Carolina

  1. Great news and congrats for the successful venture. $33. million in State of NC grants may have been a factor. But that’s how these business locate in progressive, business friendly environments. Having a challenge locating information on which carrier(s) will serve the location. Article mentions Amtrak service via NS in Lexington but other outlets note there are short lines in the area, as well.

  2. This is great news. Siemens practically has a monopoly on passenger train locomotives and cars, so they’ll be able to handle the influx of business as Amtrak and others modernize their fleets. And when business does eventually slow down, Dr. Busch will be able to close the California plant and get away from all the high taxes, onerous regulations, environmental extremism, and the nonstop assault on the Bill of Rights being perpetrated by the Marxist state government. He’ll join the millions of citizens and businesses that have already fled California and other deep blue states.

    1. Oh, fleeing those “blue states” that provide all the Federal money that flows into the red “welfare states”–is that what you are talking about? Funny, I thought this was a railroad news site.

  3. Marc Buncher, CEO of Siemens Mobility North America shoud have specified that finding 200 acres of empty land along a mainline in North America outside of California is difficult to find, though even that statement is not completely true in of itself. There’s plenty of sites along mainlines that have 200 empty acres of land…now are they within distance of employment centers or employment centers that could provide the type of employees you need, that is what makes it difficult, but was not specifically stated.

  4. I honestly have thought that the Florin CA plant was at capacity and that making a new plant would help expand capacity for what Siemens could make. Well, now that this news is out, I think this would greatly enhance Siemens’ ability to manufacture trains for the American (and Canadian, if not Mexican) market(s).

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