Shoals railcar plant announces expansion and new jobs

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COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – More jobs are headed to northwest Alabama, as a leading railcar provider announced plans to expand their operations.

Monday afternoon, FreightCar America released plans in Cherokee for a multimillion dollar manufacturing expansion.

Company officials addressed a host of government leaders, including Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.

They made the announcement flanked by the two best selling railcars from the Colbert County FreightCar America plant.

The company started production in the plant in July of 2013, and already needs to expand.

Company leaders say the expansion will help alleviate a rising backlog in railcar production demands.

“Adding jobs anytime in this economy is very positive.  And in this facility, it is very gratifying because of the history and what`s gone on here.  But now it is going in the right direction,” explained Forest Wright, president of the Shoals Economic Development Authority.

FreightCar America officials plan to spend $10-million to add a third production line.

The expansion will lead to an addition of more than 200-jobs, giving FreightCar America a total of 650 workers at the facility.

“This will allow that many people to be able to feed their families, and I’m just so happy for this part of the state when we see new jobs coming into the area,” stated Governor Bentley.

The company will be able to produce up to 8,000 rail cars per year when the third production line is fully operational.

Managers hope to be done with construction by late spring or early summer of 2015.

A job fair for FreightCar America’s expansion will be held on January 6th at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center in Florence.