Wisconsin-Built Train Cars Roll In Oregon, Not Closer to Home

Ongoing Legal Wrangling With Talgo Cited

Talgo trains destined for Oregon being worked on in a Wisconsin facility
Talgo train cars destined for Oregon being worked on in a Wisconsin facility. Photo: Oregon DOT (CC-BY)

The state of Oregon has started using train cars made in Wisconsin by Spanish manufacturer Talgo, but it doesn’t appear the locally-made cars will be riding on Wisconsin’s rails anytime soon.

The train cars in use in Oregon were made at a Talgo Corporation plant in Milwaukee that got a big welcome from the Doyle administration. More cars were supposed to be put in use on the Amtrak Hiawatha line between Milwaukee and Chicago, but that hasn’t happened.

Wisconsin Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb said Monday it doesn’t seem the cars will be used here, as the state remains in litigation with Talgo.

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“Primarily, the fact that we will not be operating the Talgo trains once they’re completed in Wisconsin has to do with decisions that were made by the state legislature,” Gottlieb said, “with regards to not giving us the necessary funds to build a maintenance facility that would have been required.”

Talgo contends the state breached its contract with the firm when Republicans controlling the legislature halted work on the maintenance facility and the state refused to pay for testing of the trains.

The Milwaukee Business Journal reports the DOT recently told the state Claims Board that Talgo is at fault for never completing the trains.