Caterpillar Inc. chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman arrived for last week's ribbon-cutting of the Caterpillar Visitors Center in Downtown Peoria by train.
It was not just any train, but the first locomotive painted in Caterpillar colors, said spokesman Rusty Dunn. The locomotive had been displayed at last month's MINExpo in Las Vegas where Caterpillar had a major presence.
"It's the first locomotive produced in Caterpillar yellow," said Barbara Cox, communications manager for Alabama-based Progress Rail Services Corp., the Caterpillar subsidiary that owns Electro-Motive Diesel Inc., the company that manufactures and sells diesel-electric locomotives.
"Usually, we paint the train according to a customer's colors," said Cox, noting that the sale of locomotives is a global business. "Rail freight is doing very well," she said, pointing to recent sales in South America, the Middle East, Africa and Australia in addition to North America.
"We're also trying to break into the transit market. Right now, high-speed rail is a whole new topic for the United States," said Cox.
Having the specially-painted locomotive arrive in Peoria in time for the opening of the visitors center was a matter of good timing, said Scott Garman, marketing manager for Electro-Motive Diesel from his office in LaGrange.
"We needed it for the mine expo show as a demonstrator. It was just a stroke of great luck that it was out on loan running around the United States," he said.
As for what happens to the yellow locomotive, time will tell, said Garman. "We may sell or lease it and it may be repainted," he said.
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