The City of Portland announced at the end of January that a local company would join the ranks of well-known rail vehicle manufacturers such as the European firm Skoda. Oregon Iron Works will produce a streetcar prototype for the city similar to the current models that were created in the Czech Republic. Oregon Iron Works formed a new subsidiary, United Streetcar, to handle the production. An additional 20 workers will be added to the staff to produce the nation’s first U.S.-made modern streetcar. The prototype will hit the rails in 2008. If the vehicle is a success, Oregon Iron Works vice president Chandra Brown believes, production could begin on streetcars for other cities. About 80 cities from Miami to Albuquerque have expressed interest in a U.S.-made streetcar for their own transportation systems.
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