See a video tour of the trains and commentary from Talgo executives here.
The State of Wisconsin purchased the 14-car, high-speed trains for $71.8 million to replace the sets currently running on the Amtrak line between Milwaukee and Chicago. A contract between Talgo and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation included both the construction and the long-term maintenance of the trains.
But in April, the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee struck down the DOT's request for the $2.5 million in bonding needed to design the passenger rail maintenance facility.
Talgo is considering suing the state over a breach of contract, said Nora Friend, vice president of public affairs and business development. Wisconsin can't sell the trains to another state without a warranty, which depends on Talgo maintaining them.
Madrid, Spain-based Talgo opened its Milwaukee facility at 3533 N. 27th St., in the former Tower Automotive and A.O. Smith plant, in February 2010. Now, the company is in the process of laying off its 82 workers and shutting its doors.
The shells of the trains were shipped from Spain because they are made of a special aluminum alloy that's not available in the U.S., said Gary Young, shop manager. The rest of the train cars were manufactured in Milwaukee.
"The majority of our suppliers are actually in the Milwaukee-Chicago belt," Young said.
Outlets and wi-fi, as well as LCD monitors and fold out tables are available on the Series 8 trains, which also have dining cars. Talgo unveiled the nearly-completed trains to the public last month.
The Talgo trains reach about 125 miles per hour, with wheels in between shorter cars instead of underneath the cars to lower the center of gravity. The current Amtrak trains can reach speeds of about 80 miles per hour.
"These are designed to actually lean with the curve—they have a pendular system," Young said.
Talgo's lease is up in September, so the company will have to determine what to do with the trains soon, Friend said.
"We are in a very difficult situation," she said. "We feel the most unwelcome business in Wisconsin."
See Talgo's leaders talking about the uncertainty surrounding the trains in a BizTimes video here.