Skip to main content

Talgo High Speed Rail Trainsets to Be Moved. Talgo to pursue damages in court.

Talgo, the Spanish train manufacturer that's abandoning its Milwaukee headquarters, is about to transport its two high-speed trains from the city's north side to an Amtrak maintenance facility in Indiana to save on storage costs.

The exact date of the move is still being coordinated, Talgo spokeswoman Nora Friend said. The company is paying for the move and the storage.

The destination, the Beech Grove Shops in Beech Grove, Ind., is Amtrak's primary heavy maintenance and overhaul facility.

The train sets have been idling at a factory in the Century City development on the north side of Milwaukee, an arrangement that brought $29,000 a month in rent to the city. Friend didn't say how much Amtrak was charging for storage.

The trains were originally commissioned in 2009 by Wisconsin for its Hiawatha passenger service between Chicago and Milwaukee, but Gov. Scott Walker's administration canceled maintenance contracts and halted payments in 2012, leading Talgo to declare a breach of contract.

"The reason for the move is to mitigate Talgo's damages in light of the State of Wisconsin's breach of the purchase contract for the trains," Friend said in an email Wednesday.

The state had already paid $52 million for the trains. Talgo kept them and is trying to sell them to the State of Michigan.

Michigan's Department of Transportation confirmed that Talgo was the only respondent for its recent request for proposals for passenger trains.

Tim Hoeffner, director of Michigan's Office of Rail, said the agency expects to make a decision about whether to go forward with the proposal in four to five weeks.

The company also said it expects its $65.9 million claim against the State of Wisconsin, which included costs of unanticipated long-term storage, to fall flat. This would allow Talgo to pursue the damages in court, Friend said.

The state Claims Board has until early next week to issue a decision.