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Train rolls from China to Chicago

Train rolls from China to Chicago

The Siemens Technology Train made its U.S. debut during National Manufacturing Week, arriving from China in a trek that employed nearly all modes of long distance transportation. The 1,000- foot, 14-car train is beginning a 10-city tour of the U.S. After its stint in Chicago's McCormick Place, the train will travel by rail to South Carolina for a stop at BMW.

That rail trip will be in sharp contrast to its journey from the Orient to America's Heartland. The train, which houses technology exhibits for a number of Siemens operations, had been in China, where it attracted 50,000 people, double the expected audience.

It was then loaded onto ships, but ocean freighters were not fast enough to get the train to Chicago in time to be ready for the show's opening Feb. 23, particularly after a typhoon hit the freighter early in its journey. The train was shipped to Honolulu, where it was loaded onto enormous Ukrainian-built aircraft. Though the planes could carry more payloads, four of the 14-ton boxcars were loaded onto one plane for the trip to Milwaukee.

In Wisconsin, the cars were prepped to return to the rails, making the 90-mile journey back intact as a rail train. Then they were again converted, this time to be carried to the convention center by truck. When it leaves here, the rest of its U.S. journey will be solely by rail.

The train, dubbed Exider, holds displays from the many divisions of Siemens. The 14 cars have 224 plasma screens and monitors, 189 DVD players, four computer servers and two miles of data lines, all arranged to show attendees the many aspects of industrial automation.

The 14 cars have 224 plasma screens and monitors, 189 DVD players, four computer servers and two miles of data lines.

The Technology Train transforms conventional rail cars into high tech showcases for Siemens manufacturing technology.
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