Columbus Castings was chosen by Nippon Sharyo U.S.A. Inc. as the exclusive supplier of truck and truck-related components for a series of new, bi-level railroad passenger cars. Reported to be worth nearly $70 million, the new contract is said to be the largest in the history of the Ohio steel foundry.
Earlier this month, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) named Nippon Sharyo and Sumitomo Corporation of America to build 130 high-speed bi-level passenger railcars at a cost of $352 million, with an option for an additional 300 railcars at $898 million. That contract, if fully completed, totals $1.25 billion.
Caltrans is the leader of a buyers’ consortium that includes the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), which represents a coalition for Illinois, Michigan, and Missouri. Of the finished railcars, 42 will be delivered to California and the Midwest coalition will receive 88 railcars.
The railcars are scheduled to be delivered between 2015 and early 2018.
Funding for the railcars is provided by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which stipulated that the railcars covered in the award to Nippon Sharyo would be manufactured under a “100% Buy America” program. As such, Nippon Sharyo Manufacturing LLC was established as a new production facility in Rochelle, IL, in July 2012. That plant handles material procurement, car body manufacturing, final assembly, and testing.
According to Rick Ruebusch, Columbus Steel president and CEO, "We are proud to be an American company supporting domestic development and are excited to be working with Nippon Sharyo."
The foundry produces outboard and inboard journal truck assemblies for heavy railcars, casting one-piece steel H-frames and a separate cast steel bolster. It produces frames to accommodate single- and dual-brake systems, and several different suspension systems.
Vice president of sales and marketing John Zapalik said the new business “reinforces our position as the premiere leading supplier to the mass transit industry.
“Columbus and Nippon Sharyo will partner in this endeavor through 2020, reshaping together the Mass Transit sector in the United States," Zapalik added.
The foundry said it would add more than 50 new jobs to its current workforces of 650 in the course of the new contract.