SIEMENS Mobility has announced it will build an advanced rolling stock manufacturing and overhaul facility in Lexington, North Carolina, at a cost of $US 220m.

The coach factory and locomotive and coach overhaul facility will sit on an 80.9ha site allowing for future expansion. When it begins operation in 2024, the new plant will incorporate advanced manufacturing technology including robot welding, 3D printing, and the use of virtual reality (VR) to train welders. In addition, when fully operational the facility will be carbon neutral, which Siemens says will play an important role in meeting its sustainability commitments.

The facility will create more than 500 new jobs and will be one of the city’s largest employers. Siemens Mobility will receive a 12-year Job Development Investment Grant from North Carolina, during which time the facility is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $US 1.6bn.

Lexington will be Siemens Mobility’s ninth manufacturing site in the United States, alongside facilities in Alpharetta, Georgia; Louisville, Kentucky; Marion, Kentucky; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; New Castle, Delaware; Tualatin, Oregon; and two facilities in Sacramento, California.

“America’s investing in rail - and we are investing in America,” says Siemens CEO, Dr Roland Busch. “Siemens has invested $US 3bn in manufacturing expansion and merger and acquisition activities in the US over the past four years alone, including nearly $US 400m to grow its US manufacturing footprint and more than $US 2.5bn in strategic US acquisitions. This latest facility will build rail technology to help transform the everyday for millions of passengers around the country, particularly as the country sees a resurgence in public transit and inter-city travel.”