Nippon Sharyo puts 100 workers at Rochelle, Illinois plant on hiatus

September 4, 2015

Note: The story below is about the troubled Next Generation bi-level passenger car order several Midwestern states and California have been waiting on to re-equip state-sponsored Amtrak trains. The cars are to be paid for using federal funds. Work has stopped several times on these cars due to structural issues. The below announcements of the layoffs seems to be the most serious of the several work stoppages. – editor


ROCHELLE — Nippon Sharyo announced 100 temporary layoffs today at its Rochelle fabrication and welding shops.

The reduction in force is a result of complications during the testing phase of one of its prototype cars, which requires the company to undergo a design review by its engineers, according to a statement from the company.

“We do not know how long this reduction of work will be. However, we have implemented a policy regarding the recall of employees. The recalls will occur once everything is resolved and production is back on schedule,” the statement said.

The company is providing a severance package to the affected workers.

The company, which builds Japan’s famous bullet trains, has been operating in Rochelle since 2012 on a site near the junction of interstates 39 and 88. Nippon Sharyo opened its third plant at the site in June 2014 and celebrated the completion of its 100th railroad passenger car in November.

At the time, Kevin Koyasu, president/CEO of Nippon Sharyo U.S.A., said the company had nearly 600 workers. Company officials could not be reached today for further comment.

The company’s Rochelle plants build rail cars for the California Department of Transportation, the Illinois Department of Transportation, Amtrak and Metra, Chicagoland’s commuter rail system.

Read Rockford Register Star reporter Dorothy Schneider’s full story by clicking here.

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