HAGERSTOWN, MD — Metro’s next series of rail cars will be built at a $70 million plant in Maryland that will employ nearly 500 people and supply rail cars for the Washington-area system and transit agencies across the country.

Hitachi Rail announced today it has chosen Hagerstown as the home for an assembly plant that will release Metro’s eighth generation of rail cars starting in late 2024. Metro selected the company about 18 months ago to build 256 cars for its 8000 series, with an option for as many as 800 cars this decade.

The Washington Post reports the lucrative contract worth about $2.2 billion came with the requirement that Hitachi Rail assemble the cars at a plant in the Mid-Atlantic region. The announcement advances Metro’s lengthy journey to go from bidding to planning for its next rail car, a process that included Congress inserting itself into negotiations over cybersecurity fears and concerns about what would be built domestically.