Restored Locomotive To Help Nokian Tyres’ Dayton Factory Handle Rising Volume Of Raw Materials
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Commercial rail helped build Southeast Tennessee’s manufacturing economy. Now, it’s helping Nokian Tyres build greater supply at its growing tire production facility in North America – with a nod toward rail’s rich history in the region.
The global tiremaker is partnering with the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum to use a restored locomotive to deliver raw materials to the storage warehouse at its factory. The locomotive will pull train cars the one-mile distance from Norfolk Southern’s rail line to the facility’s storage bay, enabling Nokian Tyres to smoothly process the growing volume of materials necessary to accommodate rising demand for tires produced at the factory, and decreasing the reliance on trucking in favor of a more efficient, sustainable option.
“This locomotive helps us reliably handle larger quantities of materials and streamline our processes,” said Nokian Tyres Transportation Manager Daniel Dobbs.
“It’s a step in the right direction to support the factory as we continue to scale up production.”
Nokian Tyres’ Dayton Factory is connected to Norfolk Southern’s train line via 5,000 feet of track that ends at its rubber mixing building. The factory is the foundation of Nokian Tyres’ growth plan in North America, and production volume is increasing there as the company responds to rising demand for its products in North America. The factory’s workforce grew from 150 team members to approximately 330 in 2021, and Nokian Tyres continues to hire workers to join its team.
The locomotive has a colorful history of service to the United States: Built in 1951, it saw service in Korea with the U.S. Army before being used by the U.S. Air Force to move rockets at Cape Kennedy during the 1960s. It was again used by the U.S. Army before being donated to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Now, it bears Nokian Tyres branding.
“The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum supports our rail preservation efforts through a growing rail switching operation,” said Museum President Tim Andrews. “These operations provide, safe, timely and economical service to companies like Nokian Tyres that are helping to grow the region’s manufacturing footprint.”
“As we grow in service to our customers and drivers, we want to expand in a way that honors our community and respects the environment,” said Nokian Tyres Dayton Factory Operations Director David Korda. “This locomotive helps us transport more raw materials to our factory in a sustainable way, while partnering with an organization that preserves rail’s rich history in this region.”
“Nokian Tyres is furthering our shared commitment to sustainability by leveraging a piece of rail history to serve their state-of-the-art manufacturing facility,” said Norfolk Southern Industrial Development Manager Jacob Weir. “Rail is the most sustainable method of shipping freight over land, and together we are lowering carbon emissions in moving materials, while connecting Nokian Tyres to markets across the U.S. and the globe.”
Nokian Tyres has received recognition for the factory’s sustainability and culture. Last October, it was the first Rhea County company to receive a Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award, the highest sustainability honor in the state. The Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association honored Nokian Tyres with its Company of the Year award last year.
"The Dayton Factory will allow Nokian Tyres to strengthen relationships with North American customers by tailoring its product mix to the needs of drivers in the region," officials said.