HEGEWISCH — For 10th Ward Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza, the start of construction on a new factory on the Southeast Side of Chicago that will build new rail cars for the Chicago Transit Authority represents a big step forward for the area.
"This is a ray of hope for all of us who live here," Garza said.
Once complete, about 300 employees will work at the new assembly plant, owned by CRRC Sifang America, which is controlled by the Chinese government. During the next decade, the factory will produce as many as 846 7000-Series rail cars with forward- rear- and aisle-facing seats as well as single seats.
The firm won a $1.3 billion contract from CTA, and also plans to produce rail cars for Boston's transit system and bid for a contract with the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in Northern California.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel — who said he looked forward to riding the CTA to work in four years on a rail car "made by Chicagoans in Chicago" — said the jobs would allow those who want to "work hard and roll up their sleeves and provide for their families."
The new cars will replace the CTA's oldest rail cars, which date back more than 30 years, officials said.
The last time CTA rail cars were made in Chicago was 1964, city officials said.
The $100 million, 380,944-square-foot manufacturing facility will be on 45 acres at 13535 S. Torrence Ave. CRRC Sifang America will spend $7 million to train the factory workers, according to a statement from Emanuel's office.