Prototype / Industrial Tours

Several of Chattanooga’s major industries, many that are rail served will be available as part of the Prototype/Industrial Tours. Tours include ADM’s trans-load facility, Buzzi Unicem  (Signal Mt Cement), Komatsu, Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum Steam Excursion, and JIT Steel Services.

The industry tours will be accessed by chartered bus only, individual vehicles will not be allowed on industry property.  The industry tours are not handicapped accessible .

Go to the Prototype/Industrial Tours Page for more details

See the online Prototype Tour Registration form at the bottom of this page.

Tours may be cancelled if not enough participants register, a full refund will be made in case of cancelation.

Industrial Tour #1 - $30

ADM Sweetener Terminal and Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum Steam Excursion

Price includes the cost of a ticket to ride the TVRM's Missionary Ridge Local

ADM Sweetener Terminal

This tour starts with a visit to Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Chattanooga Sweeteners Transload Facility. Chattanooga and the surrounding communities are the home to a concentration of pastry and candy companies including M&M, Little Debbie, Moon Pie and other regional and national manufactures. These plants need large quantities of sugar, both granular and liquid. The transload facility receives both tank cars and covered hoppers. Many carry the ADN logo but other shippers cars appear occasionally.  The sugar is transloaded to trucks for “last mile delivery” to local customers. The facility is switched by the Tyner Terminal Railroad, a part of TVRM’s for profit railroad operations.  Cameras permitted.

  Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum Steam Excursion

The second stop will be at The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum home of steam locomotives 4501 and 630. Upon arrival there will be time to view the static displays of vintage railroad equipment, railfan the NS main line that passes within yards of TVRM’s depot. Your tour includes a ride on TVRM’s Missionary Ridge Local thru a historic Civil War tunnel and a visit to the “back shops” where the restoration of vintage locomotives and cars is performed.


Industrial Tour #2 - $15

Komatsu USA -or- Buzzi Unicem  (Signal Mt Cement) and then JIT Steel Services

Participants will have the option of visiting either Komatsu’s Hydraulic Excavator plant OR Buzzi Unicem cement kiln manufacturing plant and rail load out. The bus will travel from the hotel to Komatsu and then to Buzzi Unicem. Returning to Komatsu to pick up those who chose to tour  that plant. Then the whole group will continue to JIT Steel before returning to the hotel.

Buzzi Unichem Cement Plant

Buzzi Unichem, formerly Signal Mountain Cement, transforms lime stone quarried a few miles down river from the plant. The crushed rock is barged to the dock and conveyored   to the kilm.  Buzzi uses a modern vertical kilm. The finished product is mostly shipped in bulk although I have occasionally seen flatbed trucks with pallets of bagged cement. The bulk cement is normally shipped in dedicated semi trucks. They also ship about 15 covered hoppers railcars a day. The plant is served by Norfolk Southern’s  Chattanooga “north shore” industrial spur. Note: You will not be able to tour this site unless you are dressed as follows:  WORK BOOTS, LONG SLEEVE SHIRT AND LONG PANTS.  The plant will not allow anyone wearing any of the following: shorts, short sleeve shirts or open toed or athletic shoes to exit the bus. Instead you will tour the Komatsu Heavy Equipment Assembly Plant.

Komatsu Chattanooga

The Komatsu Chattanooga plant assembles an array of front end excavators used in construction dirt work from digging trenches and larger holes, to removing hillsides. Several different models are being produced at the Chattanooga plant. The tour will cover the full assembly line, paint shop and testing lab. Visitors will be issued earphones so that everyone can clearly hear the guides explanation of what is being viewed. The tour involves walking about 500 yards on level concrete floor in a well lighted building.

JIT Steel Service Center

JIT, is owned by Macsteel, a national steel service center. The business receives large coils of steel by rail. Frequent seen, in addition to  Norfolk Southern, are coil cars from the mid western RR’s including Indiana Harbor Belt, Elgin Jolliet & Eastern. JIT receives full size coils and custom cuts them to customer specs as to width or length. They also occasionally load and unload barges. Most finished product appear to be shipped out by truck

Click on this link to go to the online Prototype Tour Registration Form
Click on this link for the Printable Prototype Tour Registration Form