BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Hitachi Rail, a branch of the Japanese conglomerate Hitachi, is opening a new $70 million facility in Hagerstown to manufacture railcars, including the new fleet of all-electric 8000-series cars for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the company announced on Monday.

The metro system last week announced a $2.2 billion deal with Hitachi Rail, which includes an initial order of 256 railcars and an option to build up to 800.

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State officials said the 307,000 square-foot facility on Greencastle Pike in Hagerstown is expected to employ 460 people.

Hitachi Rail’s has U.S. offices in Pittsburgh, and the Hagerstown factory will be about a 90-minute drive to Metro’s Greenbelt Rail Yard.

“Hitachi Rail is an incredible global company, and their decision to select Hagerstown as the site of a major U.S. expansion is tremendous news for Washington County and the entire state of Maryland,” said Gov. Larry Hogan. “With this new facility, Hitachi Rail will create hundreds of critical manufacturing jobs in our state with the capability to serve the wider North American market. We are excited to work together on this transformative project and look forward to the company’s continued success in Maryland.”

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Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill noted the facility will have easy access to I-70 and I-81.

Hitachi said the 8000-series cars will have on-board WiFi, wider aisles and more space between seats, heated floors, improved ventilation, and regenerative braking.

In Washington, they’ll replace the 2000- and 3000-series railcars, which have been in service since the early 1980s, the rail system said.

Once the factory is up and running, the facility will produce up to 20 railcars per month on a single, Hitachi Rail said. Workers will also build all different types of trains, such as trams and high speed trains, at the site.

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“Hitachi Rail’s mission is to provide more seamless, sustainable journeys for passengers, customers and cities, and the creation of a new American train factory reflects our ambition to deliver for the United States,”  said Andrew Barr, Group CEO of Hitachi Rail.

CBS Baltimore Staff