Trains For America

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Talgo will bring new high speed trains to Wisconsin

The release comes by way of Wisconsin’s Governor and has implications for Cascade service.

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today announced an agreement with the Spanish train manufacturer Talgo to put two Talgo train sets into service in Wisconsin and to establish new assembly and maintenance facilities in the state.  The rail car assembly plant will support the delivery of Talgo trains throughout the country.

“We are pleased to welcome Talgo to Wisconsin,” Governor Doyle said. “I can’t wait for our Midwestern travelers to experience first-hand the comfort, modern amenities and expanded seating capacity on these wonderful trains.  In addition, the company will use Wisconsin workers and skills to assemble and maintain Talgo trains. This relationship has the potential to create even more jobs, gives the state a major role in the growth of an exciting transportation industry and helps us move forward with our vision for high speed passenger rail service in the Midwest.”

Talgo officials joining Governor Doyle to make the announcement in Madison included Antonio Perez, CEO and president of Talgo Inc., the company’s U.S. subsidiary, and Jose Maria Oriol, CEO and president of Patentes Talgo, Spain.

“After 14 years of track record in the US market and having participated in the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative in 2000, Talgo is very excited to have its equipment selected again as the most suitable for the Madison-Milwaukee-Chicago Corridor,” Antonio Perez said.  “We are very excited with the opportunity of manufacturing high speed trains in Wisconsin and helping to bring economic development and the option for proven intercity passenger rail equipment to the Midwest region. We appreciate the leadership from Governor Doyle in this very important step towards accomplishing the new Administration’s Vision.”

Wisconsin will purchase two, 14-car train sets for $47 million. The agreement provides an option to buy two additional train sets if the state is successful in securing federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for the extension of passenger rail service from Milwaukee to Madison.

Talgo cars are made of aluminum alloy with welded seams to form a structural frame making them lighter weight and stronger than traditional rail cars.  The rail cars use passive tilt technology that allows the cars to navigate curves at higher speeds with less car tilting and to ride smoother at higher speed, greatly enhancing passenger comfort.

The trains will be put into service on the Amtrak Hiawatha Service with the cars pulled by existing locomotives. Each train set provides a seating capacity of 420 compared to the current capacity of 350. The popular Amtrak Hiawatha Service provides daily trips between Chicago, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ridership on the Hiawatha Service continues to grow, with more than 766,000 riders in 2008, a 24% increase over 2007.

“I’m delighted the State of Wisconsin has taken the bold step to purchase modern, new passenger rail equipment,” said Amtrak Chairman of the Board Thomas Carper. “Amtrak has had a great response to Talgo train equipment on its Cascades Service in the Pacific Northwest, and we are confident travelers on the Hiawatha Service will have the same reaction.  Wisconsin has always been one of Amtrak’s strongest state partners, and we congratulate Governor Doyle on this important and exciting initiative that will bring new levels of comfort and convenience to intercity travelers.”

The locations of the assembly and maintenance facilities have not yet been determined, but are likely to be in south central or southeastern Wisconsin. Together, the assembly and maintenance facilities are expected to create about 80 jobs for Wisconsin workers, with the potential for more jobs as operations grow.

Aluminum alloy structural frame parts for the Talgo trains will be manufactured in Spain and then shipped to Wisconsin for assembly.  Talgo will be working with Wisconsin and other U.S. vendors to supply parts for outfitting the trains.

The dedicated rail car maintenance facility will provide ongoing service for equipment used in the Midwest. Talgo currently operates a maintenance facility in Seattle, Washington, to service Amtrak Cascades trains.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, United States High Speed Rail

44 Responses

  1. Sconnie says:

    Do you think WI is trying to position itself as a center of manufacture/assembly for the imminent HSR boom? Are there lots of other systems that would use the Talgo trainsets?

    I ask because the initial local (WI) news reporting has focused on the purchase of the trains for WI (w/ predictable moaning over costs and use of non-US supplier). However, it can be pointed out that there really isn’t an existing domestic manufacturer and in fact this step positions WI to be a source of trainsets for other states, that would be significant.

  2. Paul says:

    Yep, WI is doing what MI should have.

  3. Andrew in Ezo says:

    Welcome news, as any new passenger car orders for Amtrak would be. However, I doubt these trains can be called “high speed”. Note that the article mentions that the new coaching stock will be pulled by existing (diesel) locomotives. Means you’ll be going 79mph, tops- hardly HSR.

  4. MadPark says:

    One would think that that short corridor would be very easy to upgrade by elimination of tons of grade crossings plus appropriate fencing and signal improvements. It is flat and fairly straight – an hour and 10 minutes?

  5. John Bredin says:

    “the new coaching stock will be pulled by existing (diesel) locomotives. Means you’ll be going 79mph, tops- hardly HSR.”

    That’s going to be true until positive train control is installed on that route (and others). Conversely, PTC can be installed in existing locomotives, which will then be allowed to go up to 110mph. As I recall, they can go that speed now but legally aren’t allowed to.

  6. Erik G. says:

    They can go 210 mph on the right tracks and with the proper locomotives:

  7. Andrew says:

    Talgo is attractive for other corridors because it is (a) proven in American service (Washington-Oregon), (b) passive tilt allowing higher speeds by 15 to 20 mph on existing tracks (up to 13″ total unblanced and superelevation, vs. 9″ on conventional trains), and sharper curves on new high speed tracks, (c) proven overseas in 220 mph service, (d) available for push-pull diesel service, (e) lower axle loads, meaning lower track construction and maintenance costs.

  8. Cal says:

    IF they are anything like the trains running alone the Northwest corridor then your in for a treat in Dairyland

  9. Cal says:

    IF they are anything like the trains running along the Northwest corridor then your in for a treat in Dairyland

  10. MadPark says:

    @8 – Indeed, the WA state and Amtrak owned Talgos have become a hit here in the NW – have had a miid-life renovation upgrade to add leather seats and re-do the loos, and are as pleasant as can be with 4 return trips between Seattle and Portland, plus (soon) 2 north to Vancouver, BC and 2 south to Eugene, OR. All services operate 7 days a week with but 5 trainsets.

  11. Paul says:

    Is anyone aware of longer term plans for electrification? If so, when might that happen? Would Madison to Milwaukee be built that way initially? Electrification is how you get these beauties up to top speed I presume.

  12. Allan says:

    Andrew-“Note that the article mentions that the new coaching stock will be pulled by existing (diesel) locomotives. Means you’ll be going 79mph, tops…”

    Not true at all. Prior to WWII we had diesels going110+ mph. The 79-mph speed limit on most rail lines have to do with the signaling mechanisms at crossings rather than the diesel engine.

  13. Sconnie says:

    There will be no electrification in foreseeable future. They will share tracks with freight railroads, such as CP (I think). This will not, however, hinder their ability to attain 110mph, although it does of course make them heavier, more polluting (though still better than status quo!), and slower to accelerate.

  14. Chris G says:

    This is great news. I can see Talgo trains put together in WI as being useful to many many areas of the country.

    Since these car sets are not coming with locos, would it be possible to pair a train set up with say, a bunch of viewlines (or viewliner2s) and make a much improved eastern long distance train?

    At the very least the Empire service would be a great candidate for these as well.

    So would the 3Cs in Ohio.

    Lots of good news.

  15. HockeyFan says:

    Wonderful news. Can you send Gov. Doyle to Vermont to give our guv some religion?! I’d love to see them in VT or in the Empire corridor.
    I rode the Cascades Talgos last year. Comfy seats, TV monitors with position indicators, big windows, smooth, lounge, bistro and 1st class cars. A huge improvement over the boxy commuter, I mean Horizon cars. Single axles keep the weight down and tilting technology is cheaper than major HSR trackwork.

  16. Ronald Clark says:

    79 mph limitation is based on the existing Class 4 right-of-way between Chicag and Milwaukee. Upgrade the tracks and signals to Class 6, you can run these trains up to 110 mph. Amtrak’s existing fleet of GE P42 diesel locomotives have a maximum speed of 110 mph, which they achieve every day on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

    Upgrade the tracks and signals to a higher FRA classification, and buy new locomotives, these Talgo trainsets can operate at 220 mph max speeds. Although a third disc brake will have to be added on each axle for Talgo passenger cars expected to achieve faster than 150 mph speeds. After all, faster speeds do require more brakes to slow down properly.

    The Talgo series 8 equipment is very flexible, and most importantly, FRA compliant. They been used successfully for over 10 years on the Cascades train in the Pacific northwest. Amtrak already knows how to operate and maintain them safely.

    Other foreign vendor’s equipment aren’t necessarily FRA compliant out of the box. Amtrak had more problems with the modifying the Acela equipment to FRA standards.

  17. […] Wisconsin has won the bid to build a new Talgo Assembly and Maintenance Facility. The State of Wisconsin will also be purchasing 2 new 14 car Talgo trainsets with an option to buy 2 more with a capacity of 420 passengers. I am not sure if Washington State ever competed for this project. It is expected that the trainsets will be the Talgo 7 or Talgo 21 (H/T; Trains4America) […]

  18. Sea Toby says:

    To go much faster than 110 mph with any train, one would most likely have to build a new separate track for passengers without any crossings at grade level….. Doing so significantly increases the price of a project. They cost enough just buying the computer controls for speeds over 79 mph, ugrading tracks, and signals. Think in terms of significant cost increases to go above 79 mph, then 110 mph, and again higher….

  19. victor says:

    talgo is cool!!!!! very fast train,in spain (europe).woooooow!!!!!

  20. […] role in the world high-speed rail market, especially in the United States, where it already has a small foothold. For now, however, Talgo remains a marginal player whose fast train products operate in Spain […]

  21. Mel Stark says:

    As a student of this whole political manuvering done by the Demo. Gov (shortly before he retires!) I question why a train set doesn’t automatically come with an engine. That ain’t a train set, just a bunch of cars.

    How can it run even 79 miles per hour and make frequent stops? It’s nonsense, that’s what it is.

    Just over-spending with all the libs trailing along like lemmings.

    Only sensical thing is to allow the system service points where cars go now. That can’t be done with anything other than high speed bus service, the ideal scheme.

  22. Bruce Vanis says:

    I would like to see Obama do for passenger rail what Eisenhower did for the passenger car. Am I wishful thinking?

  23. […] of beer and cheese ranks in at a respectable fourth place. The governor has already bought two of these, and they’ll probably be what many of the Midwest trains look like. This corridor goes to […]

  24. Ahmed Kozanoglu says:

    I hope this can be achieved, eliminating one more obstacle before joining the modern world of transportation.
    However they should eliminate the diesel locomotives too.You can not operate a high speed train system with diesel.It has to be electric both for efficiency and environmental concerns.
    The US should have led the way in high speed train technology, not followed it decades later.But this start is better than staying in the dark forever. The only good thing Doyle will be doing in his entire career will be bringing high speed train technology to Wisconsin.Thank you Doyle for making this possible regardless how I disapprove of all your other policies.

  25. Shinkansen should have been brought to Wisconsin instead of Spanish trains which are not really fast. 277 miles per hour vs 110 mph. But like I said a start is better than staying in the dark…

  26. Woody says:

    Ahmed — The U.S. is simply not ready to spend what it takes to get Shinkansen. Listen to all the squealing over a lousy $8 billion to start a handful of fast routes.

    I sure agree that bringing in the Talgos is a good thing. Looks like they’ll have orders for 4 trainsets in Wisconsin and 2 more for the Cascades. Missouri wanted to buy 1 or 2 more to serve Kansas City-St Louis, but didn’t get funded — this round. Anyway, orders for 6 could get the assembly plant going.

    Amtrak just announced its railcar needs — about 100 cars a year over the next 14 years. No mention of Talgo, but I’m glad we’ll have more than one potential bidder for this work.

  27. A.K. says:


    It must be because of differing priorities. No objection when it comes to the Marquette Interchange in Milwaukee.It was not cheap.$ 8bn for fast trains is ‘peanuts’ compared to trillions wasted very recently on highly speculative financial blunders of the few.

  28. JOSE says:

    Talgo company did a prove using his vagons in germany at 1990 (20 years ago) where get 500 km/h (300 milles a hour? ).

    The Talgo technology probably works well in that speed, but the railroad and the locomotives are important and necesary to get high speeds.

    The Talgo’s car set to 200 km/h (120) is cheaper than trainset to 350 km/h (210 m/h), it`s also possible to convert the first one to second one (with a little mutch money).

    On the other hand, Talgo technology are usefull in a line with close curves because use passive tilt that allow more speed in curves.

    If you want to know the next Talgo development you must find “Talgo AVRIL”

  29. JOSE says:

    “Spanish trains which are not really fast. 277 miles per hour vs 110 mph.”

    I don`t agree:
    The maximal speed of Talgo 350 is (as its name said) 350 km/h (220 mph).

    The next model. Talgo Avril, the max speed will be 380 km/h (236 mph)

  30. JOSE says:

    talgo xxi (talgo 21 or talgo BT) is a diesel train set which get the speed record in Juny 2002 to diesel locomotives with 256 km/h

  31. bob says:

    You people amaze me. The average speed of this train will be 45-50 mph. this takes into acct. the stops. High speed rail not quite. The cost of riding this hog will be subsd, to to tune of 120 per rider. The only people who will ride this pig will be the uppi elete. The common man will not be able to afford this. Barret then gives a no comp bid to an out of state contractor, great job mayor stalin. When will you progressives understand that just because you think it is cool, does not mean that it is good.

  32. JOSE says:

    To have a truly high speed train it`s necesary a new railway without any cross at grade level, few stations and curves with a long diameter. In Spain, to do that news railway have been interesting because the old railway have been used to freight trains.

    But the invesment necesary are very high, so it`s necesary public investment. I think that in Europe is easier that the government use public money to do that kind of projects.

    I think, but, really, I don`t know, that USA don`t want to pay so much money. For you it`s enougth 110 mph if the project is cheap.

    Then, Talgo 200 is the choice rigth because is very good in sharp curves. You can see the following link (in spanish):

  33. JOSE says:

    to Ahmed Kozanoglu:

    You said: 277 miles per hour.

    You refered to a Maglev train, didn’t you?

  34. A.K. says:

    Bob, you Teabaggers amaze me.How can a sane person object to better modes of transportation?Why would people not ride this train? Everybody I know (not elite, not rich, just regular people) say they will take the train instead of the plane or the car. Why do you have to invent stories of subsidy and failure before even seeing it? I wonder if you would have objected to building of the freeway system if you had been alive back then.Why does the US have to be a backward country?Why do you want to see America following instead of leading? Riding the train is not the pastime of the elite in Europe.It is the most practical mode of transportation between cities.Instead of trying to prevent the project from being realized, why don’t you advertise it so that the ridership increase and the revenue too?

    Jose, yes I did.But TGV is faster than the proposed Talgo in WI.
    The entire railway system needs rehabilitation/rebuilding in the US. Elite Republicans have always been against public transportation as a viable and practical way. Talgo should start an advertisement campaign in Wisconsin addressing the pseudo concerns of some teabaggers.Because ignorance is dangerous, it should be eliminated.


  35. Anonymous says:

    “TGV is faster than the proposed Talgo in WI.”

    “WI” is Wisconsin, isn’t it? Well, not in Spain. Talgo 350 have run at 220 mph since several years. Something like TGV in France. That trains use Talgo-Bombardier locomotives and renfe names the Talgo 350, serie 102.

    The other talgo with Talgo-bombardier locomotives is Tago 250 that is slower but has other features like to run in track with differents wides. On the other hand, the vagons are similar but differents when they are used in a Talgo 350 or Talgo 250.

  36. A. says:

    God forbid if the Republican Scott Walker wins the gubernatorial election, he said he is going to stop the project and reject approximately 800 Million dollars federal funding for WI.
    Even if he wins he is unable to do that, but please Wisconsin, do not elect Walker when he had this horrible track record as the county executive in bankrupting the county and causing the county structures to crumble and kill people because of he cut inspection funds.

  37. Anonymous says:

    If it were up to Walker and the other Wisconsin Republicans we would still be riding around in horse and buggies.

  38. Eric says:

    Apparently the existing trains will be increased to their maximum speed of 110 miles per hour after about 12 million in track improvements. I saw an article that said this funding for the track improvements has not been cut by Scott Walker. It is great to see an increase in speed and new cars on this route. I’m considering to move near the Sturtevant Station because it would be a great commuting option. Hopefully more people get the word out. The bigger projects for KRM and Madison have been getting all the press. I hope we one day get the other train projects done… but looks like we will need to wait for new power in office. This line will be a great complement to the KRM line if it is ever built.

  39. […] Talgo will bring new high speed trains to Wisconsin « Trains ForWhen delivered in 2012, the Oregon-owned trains will join five older Talgo-America train sets; Washington state owns three, and Amtrak owns two.  ; Amtrak’s Cascades and long-distance train services have a positive effect on the economy. […]

  40. jose says:

    Anybody know what is the locomotive type that is used to pull the talgo`s vagons?

  41. david rock says:

    talgo forever!!!

  42. Anonymous says:

    As I said in a comment in “March 21, 2010 at 6:09 pm” Talgo was working in a prototype train named Talgo Avril. It has been seen in INMOTRAIN 2012.

  43. Anonymous says:

    The top speed of the Talgo Avril is 236 miles per hour.

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