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Massive rail car plant to be built in Hegewisch
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Massive rail car plant to be built in Hegewisch

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Massive rail car plant to be built in Hegewisch

The new CRRC Sifang America facility to be built in Hegewich will employ at least 169 factory and warehouse workers to build replacement rail cars for the CTA.

A new factory in Hegewisch will employ at least 169 factory and warehouse workers to replace aging Chicago Transit Authority rail cars.

CRRC Sifang America is investing $100 million to build a 380,944-square-foot facility at 13535 S. Torrence Avenue near Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant just across the state line in Chicago's Hegewisch neighborhood. The Chinese company landed a contract to make the CTA's new 7000 Series cars, which will be in operation on city tracks by 2019.

“CRRC Sifang America is grateful for the opportunity to work with the Chicago Transit Authority to produce the next generation of railcars in Chicago, for Chicago,” stated CRRC Corporation Vice President Sun Yongcai. “We are committed to producing top-of-the-line railcars to enhance CTA rider experience, while also creating new jobs at our assembly facility in the city. We are confident CRRC Sifang America’s partnerships in Chicago will make this project a success for us and for the city.” 

The new factory will build up to 846 rail cars to replace CTA cars that are more than 30 years old. The project is expected to create up to 200 construction jobs and will return rail car manufacturing to Chicago's South Side, where the Pullman Car Company famously manufactured railroad cars. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other officials gathered for a groundbreaking Thursday.

“It has been more than 30 years since the last rail car rolled off the Pullman assembly line on the South Side and over 50 years since CTA’s rail cars were produced in Chicago. Today’s groundbreaking represents a new beginning for Chicago manufacturing — one that will help attract much-needed business and development to this area,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin stated.

Oak Brook-based CenterPoint Properties is developing the new facility, which includes 267,752 square feet for assembly and and testing, and leaves room for future growth to serve the broader North American market.

CRRC Sifang America has pledged to hire locally and is working with unions like the Chicago Federation of Labor and IBEW.

"For many years, we have watched U.S. manufacturing jobs move overseas," Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez stated. "The size of this bid provided Chicago an opportunity to leverage a robust manufacturing jobs program that will strengthen the middle class, stimulate increased investment in new domestic manufacturing facilities, and create opportunities for low-income communities."

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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