More Talgos In The USA!?!?!?!?

I’m sitting a few days ago reading the RailwayAge Site and WHAM!  I found this article about more Talgo Trains being purchased!  I was floored.  With all the idiocy around the FRA limitations and requirements I thought there would never be another one in the country.  I’m glad to know that I was wrong, Talgo makes a great train set.  Here’s the snippet,

"The state of Wisconsin will purchase two 14-car train sets from Las Rozas, Spain-based Patentes Talgo SA to replace current equipment used in Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service between Milwaukee and Chicago. The agreement includes an option to buy two more trains if the state gets federal stimulus money to extend rail service from Milwaukee to Madison, the state capital.

Talgo will perform final assembly of the car order at facilities yet to be determined in Wisconsin, generating up to 80 jobs, said Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle Friday. Each train set has a capacity of 420 passengers.

"Today we are embarking on a new era of passenger rail service that creates high-skilled jobs, spurs economic growth, and makes travel safe and comfortable,” Doyle said. The governor made his announcement at Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, touting the deal as the Badger State’s first step toward implementing high speed rail.

Amtrak currently operates Talgo equipment on its Cascades Service in the Pacific Northwest; Talgo subsidiary Talgo, Inc., is based in Seattle."

My questions now are;

  1. How did they get this past the absurd laws and regulations of the FRA?
  2. Talgo has stated in the past they’d work for an FRA compliant train if enough orders where made, two trains with options however doesn’t qualify for that, so…?
  3. So they Hiawatha Service between Milwaukee and Chicago, which I don’t believe even really needs to get the tilt action going, has some good straights, and could get some speed out of these sets.  Will Amtrak be able to achieve this?

Has anyone else heard anything else about this?


  1. 1) Don’t know.
    2) Talgo has recently revised their website ( and lists several passenger car models, including the Series VIII that will be FRA compliant for use in the US. They also list their 250 and 350 trainsets.
    With all the money for high speed rail in various White House budgets, they are likely just doing this to try to get sales.
    3) Chicago-Milwaukee is a straight shot, but perhaps the line from Milwaukee to Madison is curvier? Or from Madison to the Twin Cities? WI has been one of the leaders in the Midwest High Speed Rail Corridor, so maybe they are using their money to make it more attractive for FRA to grant them some ARRA related funds for infrastructure improvements.

    Note: WA and OR have both requested funds for more trainsets. In the WA document it sounds like Talgo is the front runner (or only runner) as they want to reconfigure the existing trainsets to match the capacity of the ‘hoped-to-be-purchased’ trainsets (which are similar in capacity as the WI order).


  2. Follow-up – Oregon is allocating $35 million in ARRA savings (due to bids being lower than ‘estimates’) to purchase two trainsets to replace the ones the Washington currently lets ODOT use on the Cascades south to Eugene.

    No timeline, no manufacturer has been specified that I know of.

    Perhaps more Talgos?
    And if WA orders Talgos, assuming they receive ARRA funds to do so, perhaps the price will come down.


  3. Thx for the info Raymond Jackson. I know WA needs more trains up there some kind of bad. They could be running 6-8 trains each way and filling them up with people.

    Just running one out of PDX at 6am and one out of Seattle at 6am would capture a large segment of business travelers. I can’t even count how many times, while traveling back and forth I’ve heard the conversation about how people hated taking the early Alaska Airlines flight and would much rather jump a train at 6am than take a 6 or 7am plane.

    It will be interesting to see what they end up getting.


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