JP - Hitachi opens first U.S. train plant to build Metrorail cars in Miami

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Hitachi Ltd. has opened a train manufacturing plant in Miami, its first in the United States, to build Metrorail vehicles for the area.

Hitachi Rail USA will build 136 cars at the factory to replace Miami-Dade County’s Metrorail fleet beginning this month, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement Thursday. The first new vehicles are scheduled go into service in late 2017, Hitachi said.

The maker of bullet trains, nuclear power stations and industrial machinery is expanding overseas rail operations as Japan’s shrinking population dents domestic demand. The company bought the rail business of Italy’s Finmeccanica SpA and a stake in a signals affiliate last year. It also built a train factory in the U.K.

The production facility is projected to create 100 U.S. jobs in addition to those created through subcontracts, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a statement. Production of the Metrorail cars will continue until the first half of 2019, according to the statement.