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Japan-based Nippon Sharyo has announced plans to invest $54m to expand its high-speed railcar factory in Rochelle, Illinois, US.

The new 327,360ft² facility will house metal fabrication and machining work space.

Construction is scheduled to start in spring 2013 and operations are expected to begin in spring 2014.

Located to the west of the current building, the new facility will expand the existing passenger car plant by 68%.

Both the new and existing facilities comply with the Federal Railroad Administration’s ‘Made in America‘ requirements of using 60% US-made components for manufacturing trains and following their final assembly will be operated in the US.

Nippon Sharyo chairman Katsuyuki Ikushima said that the shop will give the plant full circle production.

"The entire train will be made right here, and the finished product will be used in the US," Ikushima said.

"Construction is scheduled to start in spring 2013 and operations are expected to begin in spring 2014."

The new facility will help Nippon Sharyo fulfil the orders secured from Northeast Illinois commuter rail system Metra, California’s CalTrans and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

METRA is currently purchasing 160 new Highliner cars under a $585m order from Nippon Sharyo to be delivered over the next five years and operate on the Metra Electric Line in Chicago.

In November 2012, Nippon won a $352m contract from Caltrans to build 130 passenger railcars.

Funding is provided by the US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for the purchase of the next-generation railcars being built at Nippon Sharyo’s plant, which opened in July 2012.

According to the company, the first models rolled out of the factory in 2015 will be used in Illinois, Missouri, Michigan and California.

Image: Nippon Sharyo’s new $54m manufacturing facility at its Rochelle high-speed railcar factory in Illinois help fulfill the company’s orders from METRA, CalTrans and IDOT. Credit: Nippon Sharyo.