SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn traveled an estimated 8,000 miles last week to continue courting a train manufacturer looking to move out of Wisconsin.
As part of an overseas trip to Spain, the Democrat from Chicago said he met with a number of business officials and rode a high-speed train between Madrid and Seville.
He told reporters in Chicago on Monday that he thinks bringing faster train service to Illinois will help the state’s economy.
"It’s a great opportunity to create jobs," Quinn said.
Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson later confirmed Quinn met with representatives of Talgo, which is seeking to move its Milwaukee railcar manufacturing facility to a new state after Wisconsin officials said they weren’t interested in bringing high-speed train service to the state.
"The governor met with numerous companies, including Talgo, as he continues his outreach to employers around the world to secure new business for Illinois," Anderson said.
For now, it doesn’t appear Talgo is in a rush to make a decision that could bring more than 100 jobs to a state that is working to bring 110 mile-per-hour passenger train service to the route between Chicago and St. Louis.
Janyce Fadden, president of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, which had been trying to convince the train manufacturer to relocate to Winnebago County, said she’s not heard any news about the company in recent months.
"It hasn’t been active," Fadden said.
Talgo spokeswoman Nora Friend there is no timetable for the company to decide its next move. A key factor will be whether the company wins new contracts to build additional train cars.
An initial round of new equipment being manufactured for Illinois’ high-speed link calls for double-decker passenger cars, which Talgo doesn’t make. But, the state could decide it wants single-deck cars in the future.
"Until there’s a new order for equipment, we can’t really commit to moving to another state," Friend said.
"We would be very happy to consider Illinois. We’d love to move to Illinois. We know that Governor Quinn is pro-rail. We’re still hopeful," Friend said.