Hitachi Rail To Open Manufacturing Facility In Washington

It will make rail cars for Metro.

Hagerstown, Md. (KM) – More than 400 new jobs are coming to Washington County. Hitachi Rail plans to open a $70-million rail manufacturing facility  west of  Hagerstown along Greencastle Pike. It will be 307.000 square feet of space, which is the length of five football  fields, according to Tom Riford  Assistant Secretary for the Maryland Department of Commerce.

“This, first of all, brings 460 new jobs to this one faculty,”: says RIford. “But also helps preserve 1300 jobs throughout the region.”

Washington County will benefit, he says, but the surrounding jurisdictions will also be positively impacted by this new plant, including Frederick and Allegany Counties, and areas in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Hitachi Rail is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,  and  has facilities in other parts of the country. But Rifford said the company wanted to build in  Washington County.  . “Easy for them to be supplied by their vendors. And they liked being in Washington County because of the price of land and the available manpower,” he says.

Rifford says Hitachi Rail is opening this plant to fulfill a $.2.2-billion contract with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority to build  its  new 8000 series rail cars for Metro’s fleet.. “They are hoping for additional contracts to extend the arrangement with WMATA. But for right now, the only reason to build this plant is for the initial contract,” he says .

The site in Washington County will serve the Washington DC Metro area as the completed trains will be delivered to Metro’s Greenbelt Rail Yard, which is a 90-minute drive  from the new manufacturing plant. Hagerstown is also a major logistical center for rail transportation and has excellent connections to the Northeastern United States, according to a news release  from the Governor’s Office.

Hagerstown “has always been known as a manufacturing place with Mack Trucks, Volvo, and, of course  before that, the Fairchild Aircraft Company. But it ‘s great that a project like this adds manufacturing jobs to a county that really needed to have that economic base recover,” says Riford.

No date has been given for when the factory will open, but Riford says a groundbreaking is expected to take place in a few weeks.

By Kevin McManus