The first contract will be for 160 double-deck emu vehicles for Chicago commuter rail operator Metra (pictured), the first of which will be delivered in September and the last in mid-2015.

Rochelle will also manufacture six two-car dmus for Sonoma-Marin Area Rapid Transit in California, six three-car dmus for Metrolinx in Toronto, and eight double-deck locomotive hauled coaches for Virginia Rail Express.

The facility currently employs around 140 people, although the workforce will expand to more than 300 when full in-house manufacturing of stainless steel bodyshells begins next year.

Nippon Sharyo says Rochelle will lower total production costs by reducing transport costs and mitigating the risk of exchange rate fluctuations.