Talgo’s Wisconsin Trains Find Home In… Nigeria
Intended for high-speed Midwest line, they'll be used on metro line in Lagos.
After more than a decade and a twisted legal saga, Talgo has found a buyer for its trainsets originally built for a high-speed rail line between Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and the Twin Cities.
The Spanish train manufacturer will sell the two Milwaukee-made trains to the Nigerian government.
In 2010, Governor-elect Scott Walker refused a $823 million federal grant to build the high-speed Hiawatha extension, but the state was still on the hook to pay for the trainsets ordered by Governor Jim Doyle. Rather than invest in a maintenance facility to put them into use on the existing line, Walker and the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature had the state default on the contract.
Wisconsin ultimately settled with Talgo, a move that cost the state $59 million and allowed the manufacturer to maintain ownership of the equipment.
Talgo’s USA CEO Antonio Perez told Urban Milwaukee in 2019 that he was seeking to sell the trainsets to Oregon and Washington or a coalition of Gulf Coast states. But those deals never came to fruition, nor did a rumored lease to a California agency or to Michigan. Amtrak, meanwhile, ordered new equipment that is expected to enter service in phases starting in 2024.
But Talgo didn’t give up. In addition to its international business, it has landed two major rehabilitation contracts in the United States. It is restoring subway and commuter rail equipment from California at its Milwaukee plant in Century City.
Now it’s selling the trainsets to a new Nigerian rail line serving the Lagos metro area. The 23-mile, 11-station line is the first in a city of 27 million.
The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, will join Perez and Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson in Milwaukee on Tuesday.
According to a press release, the new line is expected to open in late 2022 with a capacity of 500,000 passengers per day. The Hiawatha Service between Milwaukee and Chicago, with seven daily roundtrips, has never served more than 883,000 passengers in an entire year.
The two Series 8 trainsets Talgo will sell are 14-car trainsets with capacity for up to 420 seated passengers. It is unclear how the trainsets will be modified for use in Nigeria.
Talgo made two additional Series 8 trainsets in Milwaukee for use on the Amtrak Cascades Service between Oregon, Washington and Vancouver, CA. Those trainsets remain in service.
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- Talgo’s Wisconsin Trains Find Home In… Nigeria - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 18th, 2022
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Why Talgo Stays in Milwaukee - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 12th, 2019
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Talgo Lands $139 Million Contract - Jeramey Jannene - May 14th, 2019
- Eyes on Milwaukee: New Locomotives for Amtrak - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 1st, 2017
- The Return of Talgo - Graham Kilmer - Jul 17th, 2017
- Plenty of Horne: Welcome Back, Talgo USA! - Michael Horne - Nov 25th, 2016
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Talgo Coming Back to Milwaukee - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 26th, 2016
- Op-Ed: Walker’s High Speed Folly - Spencer Black - May 26th, 2016
- Murphy’s Law: The Twisted Tale of Talgo - Bruce Murphy - Aug 25th, 2015
- The Last Train from Talgo - Bruce Murphy - May 29th, 2014
Read more about History of Talgo in Milwaukee here