A hiring celebration at CRRC’s $100 million state-of-the-art railcar manufacturing facility on Chicago’s Far Southeast Side recognized the hiring of the first employees who will assemble the CTA’s new 7000-series railcars. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Transit Authority President Dorval R. Carter, Jr., CRRC Sifang America and the Chicago Federation of Labor attended the event at the new 45-acre facility where CRRC will create approximately 170 manufacturing, warehouse and professional jobs.
One of the featured speakers was Perry Nobles, who was among the 25 new union workers hired to date. The first group of production workers will travel to in China early March for highly specialized training in assembling the new railcars.
“This is a big story: the next generation of CTA railcars will be built right here in Chicago by Chicago workers,” said Dave Smolensky, partner, Resolute Consulting. Since it was awarded the CTA contract in 2016, Resolute has helped CRRC strengthen its connection to the local community, highlight its commitment to Chicago and local hiring. Resolute produced this special hiring event and the facility groundbreaking event.
“The creation of this state-of-the-art railcar facility is not only an investment in the CTA, but a vote of confidence in Chicago’s economy and our workforce Mayor Emanuel said. “Our goal of having a world-class transportation system is one step closer with this critical investment on the far Southeast side.
“We are excited to have hired the initial group of union production workers who will assemble the next generation of railcars for the Chicago Transit Authority,” CRRC Sifang America’s President Chengyong Liu said. As we complete the new Chicago facility, our newly hired workers will be training in preparation to build the first 10 prototypes of then new 7000-series rail cars to be delivered later this year.”
The new facility will assemble the CTA’s base order of 400 railcars for a total of $632 million or $1.58 million per car, with future options for an additional 446 railcars. These 7000-series vehicles are the first railcars purchased by CTA in more than a decade since 2006. The first rail car prototypes are expected to be completed in 2019. This critical investment brings railcar manufacturing back to Chicago after a 50-year absence and continues to grow the Far Southeast Side’s booming manufacturing sector.