After hosting 100,000 visitors in 22 countries in 2003, the Siemens Exider technology train is rolling into the United States.

Siemens uses the train as a high-tech platform to showcase its products, solutions and services.

Jammed with technology, the 14 rail cars will house 224 plasma screens and monitors, 189 DVD players, four servers, nine miles of electrical cables and almost two miles of data lines.

Rolling coast-to-coast, the "trade show on rails" simulates specific customer applications in pharmaceutical and chemical industries, automobile manufacturing, commercial power distribution and other customer sectors.

For instance, in the process automation section, visitors will pass through a tube (see photo) and find themselves in a simulated control room, overseeing the entire production process in realistic detail.

First stop in the United States will be Chicago for National Manufacturing Week, where Exider will kick off a 10-city, coast-to-coast tour of the 1,000-foot exhibit on rails.

"It's a customer event on wheels," said John Dimmerling, Siemens Energy & Automation director of Marketing Communications and Exider project coordinator. "The technology and applications that customers can get close to in this unique environment are fantastic."

After Chicago, the train heads down to Atlanta (March 16-17), then, over a two-and-a-half month period, onto Washington, D.C. (March 22), New York

(March 24-25), Boston (March 29-30). Detroit (April 2), Houston (April 7), Los Angeles (May 14), San Francisco (May 18) and Seattle (May 24).

Siemens wants to board more than 15,000 guests who make purchasing decisions as engineering constructors, contractors, consulting engineers, OEMs, government agencies and industrial and system integrators.

"With the Exider, we are taking the Siemens message directly to our customers and joining them on a trip through the world of modern industrial automation, drive, switching and installation technology," said Dimmerling.