NOTE: Peoria Area Rail Users are posted alphabetically by railroad station
Komatsu America Corp’s Peoria Manufacturing Operation dates to 1935 when R. G. LeTourneau began building scrapers. LeTourneau sold his earthmoving business to Westinghouse Air Brake Company (WABCO) in 1953. The first off-highway “Haulpak” truck was intorduced in 1957. Eventually, mining trucks became the sole product at the Peoria plant.
On January 1, 1967 the subsidiary was renamed “Construction Equipment Div. – Westinghouse Air Brake Company.” In 1984, WABCO became part of Dresser Industries and plant operations were re-branded as Dresser Industries HaulPak Division. Four years later, Dresser and Komatsu created a joint venture called Komatsu-Dresser Komatsu. Eventually, Komatsu increased its ownership and obtained full ownership in 1994.
today, Komatsu produces its largest mining trucks at Peoria. These have payload capacities of between 200 and 327 tons. Due to their size, trucks must be assembled at the customer’s place of business, thus rail shipments are limited to chasses and occasional frames.
Rail shipments have increased in recent years. Plant expansion was underway in 2012 so that trend should continue as long as worldwide demand for coal, copper, shale oil, etc. continues to grow. A decade ago, one or two weekly chassis shipments were typical. The past few years, it is not uncommon to see between three and six chassis loads at one a time.
The Tazewell & Peoria Railroad provides switching service while Komatsu’s own switch engines handle intra-plant movements.
- David P. Jordan