Archive for January, 2010

Because US firms have done such a great job designing passenger rail cars, Quentin Kopp is proposing to re-tool the idled NUMMI automobile plan for railcar manufacturing:

If Quentin Kopp with the California High Speed Rail Authority has his way, high speed rail cars, which are now not manufactured in this country, would be made at idled auto plants. “We’ve got to win the idea of creating high speed rail in America, and doing it in a way that advances jobs for Americans,” said Kopp.

There is enormous historical precedent for make-work domestic transit vehicles being unreliable. Even if that were not the case, this proposal by “fiscal conservative” Quentin Kopp will increase trainset costs considerably.

Re-tooling factories has very high up-front cost. The existing manufacturers have already developed factories and assembly lines. They sell to a global marketplace. The California (and even entire US market) is tiny by comparison. So unless that NUMMI plant has realistic plans to sell product to customers way beyond California, its per-unit trainset cost will be sky high.

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