Since 1997, RCE has made tremendous strides in developing high quality, maintenance-of-way rail construction equipment to support the needs of the railroad industry. What began as a shop with four employees has grown into a 90,000 square-foot manufacturing facility and full-time engineering design team!
RCE designs and builds railroad construction equipment and other rail-related products. The company originally started as a rail products dealer for Deere & Co. in the early 1990s. However, by 1997, Deere executives decided the specialty manufacturing was too niche to run through their assembly lines. RCE took it over and utilized outsourced manufacturing with a company in Michigan. Ten years later, manufacturing was brought in-house with a factory in Rockford, IL. RCE adapts conventional construction equipment, like excavators, wheel loaders and motor graders, to specific railroad maintenance tasks, such as tie-tamping or right-of-way clearing. Specialized attachments are created to make trackside jobs easier. RCE’s patented hydraulic powered retractable high rail system allows machines to operate on and off the rails.
"A lot of rail maintenance equipment is dedicated to the tracks. They can’t get out of the way easily for passing trains,” RCE Owner Steve Benck says. “What we are doing is equipping machines so they can get on and off the track in seconds. So if you are out 20 miles clearing snow, you can pull off the track to let a train pass.”
All the major railway companies and several of the largest rail contractors have called on RCE to engineer and develop equipment for their specific needs or applications. In those customer meetings in Rockford, special-use designs take shape and new products are created.
“RCE is all about customization,” said RCE Owner Diane Benck. “The models are constantly evolving to meet each customer’s needs, most of the time in extreme work environments. This is problem solving and innovation at its finest.”
When RCE started, it offered two products. Today, the company offers 30. RCE’s equipment has traveled to all different jobsite environments—from downtown Chicago, to a mine in Northern Canada, to the Alaskan outback.