In a ceremony today, SEPTA received the last of 120 new rail cars assembled in South Philadelphia. The final car was delivered in style — if years behind schedule.
In a not-so-subtle reminder that this is about more than just the vehicles, it was presented to SEPTA on the floor of the Hyundai-Rotem factory in South Philadelphia, rather than on rail tracks.
The spirit of the moment was summed up by Frank Ursone, President of United Transit Corporation in Delaware County, which produced parts that help support the cars’ weight.
Waxing nostalgic about a previous generation of rail-building in Philadelphia, Ersone said, “I remember the manufacturing that once occupied so much of our city. I fondly look back at the days working with Budd Company and I remember the people I met and many of the friends I now have because of the Budd Company.”
This manufacturing is different. It’s specialized and high-tech, like a lot of the manufacturing that’s grown in the United States.
It takes more machines and fewer people than would have worked for Budd. The Korean firm, Hyundai-Rotem, has had to troubleshoot managing its American workforce. It’s now working on projects for Boston and Denver.
Overall SEPTA said 62 percent of the cars were manufactured in the U.S., meeting “Made in America” requirements that come with the federal funding.