Milwaukee-built trains head to Nigeria after decade-long legal saga over high-speed rail

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) — A Milwaukee manufacturing plant has reached a major deal between Milwaukee and a Nigerian state.

The Governor of Lagos State, Nigeria is traveling to Wisconsin this week to purchase two trains originally built for the State of Wisconsin.

“They will actually be in service — serving people and providing a new transit option in another community,” Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson said at a press conference on Tuesday, January 18.

Spanish company Talgo, which has a factory at 27th and Townsend in Milwaukee’s Century City business park, made the trains 11 years ago.

“It’s important to us that our trains are in use. There’s no point in having the trains we’ve built in Wisconsin stored or kept without passengers,” said Antonio Perez, CEO and President of Talgo USA. .

Lagos State, Nigeria is buying its Red Line trains. It will be the first operational metro system in West Africa. The area is currently experiencing heavy traffic congestion with limited rail transport. Lagos is one of the largest cities in Africa.

His Excellency Babajide Sanwo-Ol, the Governor of Lagos State, said he hoped the deal was the “start of a mutually beneficial business relationship”.

“It’s about providing jobs, jobs, jobs for our people and that’s what we do. It’s about ensuring that we can build our economy. It’s that our people can move from place to place,” he said.

So why have these trains been in storage for a decade? Politics.

In 2009, former Governor Jim Doyle announced that the state would purchase two Talgo trains to use for the high-speed rail linking Madison and Milwaukee. But when former Governor Scott Walker took office, he blocked the deal, sparking a legal battle with the company.

“While I am happy (with the deal) today, I am a bit disappointed in the sense that these trains are not in service in our state. I think our former governor unfortunately made a mistake in refusing these trains,” Johnson said. noted.

But city leaders say these trains will forever mark a partnership across continents. The trains are striped in badger red.

“One state’s loss is another state’s gain,” Johnson said.

The Governor of Lagos State expects the operation of the first phase of the Red Line to commence in the last quarter of 2022 with a capacity of 500,000 passengers per day.

“We are proud of the products that are made here, proud of the Milwaukee workers who are employed here, and we are also very proud of the trains that are here at this facility. When they come into service in Lagos, I hope you think of Milwaukee,” Johnson said.

About Kevin Strickland

Check Also

Foothill Gold Line project reaches construction milestone

by Andrew Alonzo | [email protected] Last Friday at Rhodes Park in San Dimas, California State …