Talgo, State, Settle Lawsuit Over Trains

A three-year-old lawsuit between the state and Spanish train manufacturer Talgo was recently settled for approximately $50 million. The state could end up getting $9.7 million of the settlement back if Talgo sells the two trains the state was previously contracted to buy. The case had been set to go to trial in December, but the parties entered mediation in mid-July that led to the terms of the settlement.

The suit stems from Governor Walker’s 2010 campaign promise to “kill the train,” a reference to the $810 million federal stimulus grant for high speed rail that Wisconsin received in 2009. However the lawsuit focuses on the Milwaukee-Chicago (Hiawatha) line, not the proposed expansion from Milwaukee to Madison because the governor cancelled the contract for trains on the Milwaukee-Madison line prior to Talgo starting to fill the order.

The Doyle administration agreed to a no-bid contract to purchase two trails from Talgo for the Hiawatha line for $42.5 million. Unlike the Milwaukee-Madison line, Talgo had begun work on the trains for the Hiawatha line prior to them being cancelled. The $50 million cost takes into account the purchase cost, storage, and maintenance of the trains.