New Japan-owned railcar plant opens in Rochelle - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

New Japan-owned railcar plant opens in Rochelle

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Gov. Quinn toasts with company leaders Nippon Sharyo's opening Gov. Quinn toasts with company leaders Nippon Sharyo's opening
ROCHELLE (WREX) -

A new train car manufacturing facility officially opens in Rochelle bringing with it more than 200 jobs.

It is a Japan-based company making rail cars for America. Nippon Sharyo is investing $50-million into Rochelle's economy while the affects of its products will be felt throughout the state.

It is a mix of east meets west as the Nippon Sharyo facility in Rochelle opens. There was everything to Japanese drummers, a sake ceremony and a tradition American ribbon cutting.

"We are so grateful to Nippon Sharyo for joining us here in Illinois to create jobs and to build important products that can help our people get to work, get to school, get to where they have to go," says Governor Pat Quinn.

The company is already working on an order for 160 train cars for Metra over the next five years. Metra is making the $585 million purchase through the Illinois Jobs Now! program.

"Our Metra electric riders have been waiting with patience and understanding to be able to ride in new cars during their commutes. We can now tell them that their wait is nearly over," says Larry Huggins, Metra Board of Directors, acting chairman.

Nippon Sharyo has also already hired 140 workers plus, plans to add at least 100 more.

The Economic Development Administration says 40 other jobs will be created at Coated Sand Solutions company in Rochelle because of the increase in rail traffic from the new railroad access. And the Rochelle area chamber of commerce says there are a lot more jobs to come.

"This is just the start. It was really amazing to watch the progression of people coming from not only Rochelle but the greater Rochelle area, skilled workers coming to this plant, wanting to work, wanting to help the economy and we are just so excited to welcome those partners today," says Peggy Friday, Rochelle Chamber executive director.

Rochelle is sending its economic development director to Japan to talk to other manufacturing companies about following Nippon Sharyo's lead and locating somewhere in the 2-thousand undeveloped acres nearby its new facility.

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