Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

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Re: Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

Postby brassphoenix » Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:41 pm

@railvet ah yes i am sorry i thought you were talking about the shipyard and not the other installation.


There's nothing confirming that all of it, or even any of it, should go by rail if it's not doing so already. It would really have to be judged on a case-by-case basis, and long ago bases switched to trucks for most of their freight shipment needs. I've liked trains all of my life and, while I hate to admit it, often trucks are the better option.


lets ignore fuel for now though not all bases have them piped in. the three biggest things to be shipped to an installation are Household goods (smallest base can have 5 soldiers a day leaving and another 5 inbound), Food (by far the hardest and yes most expensive to set up), and Battalion movements. now there are more to ship by rail which adds on to the the other three, though not as often. consumable parts, yes a bag of 500 screws and another bag of 1000 cotter pins dont sound like a lot but that is just from one company from a battalion. aviation units alone eat through tons of POL (petroleum, oils, and lubricants) safety wire, cotter pins, ect and that isnt even touching on Company level supply rooms. now add to that every battalion on an installation to repair all the vehicles in it and yes one to two boxcars a week could be very possible. this is not even adding on to the more specialty parts like Rotor blades (common over sized load shipped), wheels, engines, axles, doors, tents, tarps, ect and those as well get used quite often. now all specialty parts are usually shipped from an Army depot, and most Depots have rail access already installed and rusting away. the only depot that needs a rail head added is corpus christi and that rail line is close by. when all these goods get added together for each installation then it does become apparent that installation can receive a lot of goods, now add on top of that military manufacturers that are close by. why Ft Bliss has at least 5 close by in the City of El paso. to facilitate the goods being shipped the goal is to get all common items in one place including issued goods to make shipping easier and more reliable which is why the Joint Support Supply Center was proposed.

Very small companies are common in Aviation. In rail units, not so much. They're not heavy in flying officers (or officers of any time) so their manning is completely different. Honestly, why would a 14-man unit of railroaders require a captain or even a lieutenant? An NCOIC would be quite sufficient, and it wouldn't need to be called a "company." A "detachment" is more like it.


there is no reason that a railroad company cant be small, remember you need a maintenance company, MOW Company, Operations Company, and an admin company. these were made to be at their smallest number until a time of conflict then they will grow. the point is to have highly train soldiers in their profession, if they are untrained then they are useless which is what caused the fall of the Railway Operating battalions in the first place. Having entry level training and nothing else afterword doesn't work.

You'll need better and far more detailed numbers than those provided in the ROB Revival Project paper. I just don't see the real savings yet but I do see enormous expenditures proposed.


which is what I am doing no bt slow moving however no matter how many people i contact and math i do the answer is always that rail is better
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Re: Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

Postby brassphoenix » Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:52 pm

Deval wrote:One of the most fundamental flaws with this plan is that railroads don't want this business. There's no money in single car loads. The Army doesn't want the railroads to have this business either because manifest service is so painstakingly slow.

When I was at Fort Hood we frequently sent out entire unit trains of equipment to training sites and ports for deployment and seldom had problems. When we sent single (or a few) cars to the same place, they took weeks to arrive because of how the railroad treats manifest traffic.

The other flaw is most of the traffic you propose would be LCL - less than carload. Railroads have even less desire to handle household goods and POVs than they do single loads of equipment or fuel.

It's also clear that you don't have an understanding of military railroads as they currently exist. The Army is already replacing GP10s and 80 tons with Gensets. New rolling stock has been ordered and delivered when it has been needed. Most of your facebook stories are cut and paste from base PAOs that do not understand that other military railroads exist and are full of misinformation.


@Deval. I know very well that railraods like longer trains which is why all the freight types listed and Household goods would not be in single car loads only and the current plan is to use corridor routes from one military Ocean Terminal facility to the other with a long East-West (and few North-South) running boxcars for CONUS soldiers and flat cars for OCONUS soldiers (like wise the army could fazeout boxcars or just do flat cars with 20ft containers only).

I have a great understanding of the Army's railroad and everyday it grows as i am in constant contact with many a Army railroad men including the head instructor at Ft Eustis. If you took the time and even read my proposal you would understand the reason behind the used locomotive program for any new locomotives the Army may need. I only post numbers from installation PAO's for OPSEC reasons. I will not post exact numbers unless cleared to do so by TRADOC.
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Re: Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

Postby Deval » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:31 pm

With all do respect, you're just a Spec/4 that is in way over his head. Can you give me ONE example of where the Army uses boxcars outside the confines of a Post / Plant? I didn't think so. Likewise, how often do dedicated military ships actually depart from a MOT? Have you even looked that logistics of OCONUS needs? Likewise, how many military suppliers and vendors are even equipped to load rail cars?

And I'm not even going to touch on the fact you have not even begun to explain the current inventory of Army locomotives and how many need to be acquired or retired.

I'd leave this one to the exerts such as RailVet and my good friend that runs Military Rails Online. Both would be happy to explain the fundamental flaws of your proposal. And it has to do with the 50+ years of logistics and experience that have made things the way they are.

brassphoenix wrote:@Deval. I know very well that railraods like longer trains which is why all the freight types listed and Household goods would not be in single car loads only and the current plan is to use corridor routes from one military Ocean Terminal facility to the other with a long East-West (and few North-South) running boxcars for CONUS soldiers and flat cars for OCONUS soldiers (like wise the army could fazeout boxcars or just do flat cars with 20ft containers only).

I have a great understanding of the Army's railroad and everyday it grows as i am in constant contact with many a Army railroad men including the head instructor at Ft Eustis. If you took the time and even read my proposal you would understand the reason behind the used locomotive program for any new locomotives the Army may need. I only post numbers from installation PAO's for OPSEC reasons. I will not post exact numbers unless cleared to do so by TRADOC.
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Re: Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

Postby brassphoenix » Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:00 pm

Deval wrote:With all do respect, you're just a Spec/4 that is in way over his head. Can you give me ONE example of where the Army uses boxcars outside the confines of a Post / Plant? I didn't think so. Likewise, how often do dedicated military ships actually depart from a MOT? Have you even looked that logistics of OCONUS needs? Likewise, how many military suppliers and vendors are even equipped to load rail cars?

And I'm not even going to touch on the fact you have not even begun to explain the current inventory of Army locomotives and how many need to be acquired or retired.

I'd leave this one to the exerts such as RailVet and my good friend that runs Military Rails Online. Both would be happy to explain the fundamental flaws of your proposal. And it has to do with the 50+ years of logistics and experience that have made things the way they are.

brassphoenix wrote:@Deval. I know very well that railraods like longer trains which is why all the freight types listed and Household goods would not be in single car loads only and the current plan is to use corridor routes from one military Ocean Terminal facility to the other with a long East-West (and few North-South) running boxcars for CONUS soldiers and flat cars for OCONUS soldiers (like wise the army could fazeout boxcars or just do flat cars with 20ft containers only).

I have a great understanding of the Army's railroad and everyday it grows as i am in constant contact with many a Army railroad men including the head instructor at Ft Eustis. If you took the time and even read my proposal you would understand the reason behind the used locomotive program for any new locomotives the Army may need. I only post numbers from installation PAO's for OPSEC reasons. I will not post exact numbers unless cleared to do so by TRADOC.


With all due respect your short sightedness is really quite astounding, To say that a Spc/E-4 cannot come up with ideas is very sad indeed. now yes the Army dose use boxcars and flat cars with container loads to ship ammunition from Military Ocean Terminals to certain installations and facilities. As of now no Military ships leave MOTs but they due however leave from other facilities to conduct supply missions. moving a facility or installation to make things more efficient is nothing new and this proposal falls under this category. Why would I need to discuss the locomotive roster more then already have? Obviously I am still doing research and with the help of many Army railroaders behind me numbers will eventually be given some time later. Again it is obvious you never read the the new proposal at all as it is already clearly explained including a Figure explaing how manufacturers will ship goods to installations and the use of Military Ocean Terminals.

I am not here to win you over and understand that some people will be against it but I will continue to fight with or without your help as obviously you see it as a bad thing and I am OK with you opinion as that is what it is, an opinion and I will keep on with this project with the backing of many people already behind me.
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Re: Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

Postby RailVet » Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:48 am

["there is no reason that a railroad company cant be small, remember you need a maintenance company, MOW Company, Operations Company, and an admin company. these were made to be at their smallest number until a time of conflict then they will grow.']

- When the war comes along, they won't "grow." There will little or no time for it. They'll have to go "as is" or stay home and sit it out.

- Also, assuming the Army did set up rail battalions to run rail operations at various posts, if the battalions needed to be deployed, who would be left to run the post railways?

["the point is to have highly train soldiers in their profession, if they are untrained then they are useless which is what caused the fall of the Railway Operating battalions in the first place."]

- Rather than a lack of training, their utility in modern warfare had decreased. Concurrent with the rising use of helicopters on the battlefield was the decreased use of rail.

- Also, you'd do well to listen carefully to the advice of Deval. He's a long-time rail industry professional and knows what he's talking about. Thinking outside the box is good but it's to your advantage to listen to the rail version of the "voice from the burning bush."
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Re: Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

Postby SemperFidelis » Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:07 am

Vehicle tires would be another decent example to include. A large base like say Lejeune has thousands of vehicles assigned and probably goes through many tens of thousands of tires in a year.
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Re: Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

Postby RailVet » Thu Feb 25, 2016 5:08 pm

Rather than try to force all truck traffic onto rail cars (which simply isn't going to happen), it would be better to consider what railroads excel at hauling and focus on that.

Something else that's not going to happen is activating and bedding down small rail battalions on various posts when the Army is still faced with having to significantly cut its manning. It wouldn't happen when the Army was expanding and it's certainly not going to happen now.
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Re: Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:31 pm

With the discussion back and forth, it still looks to me like container shipments are the way to go for brassphoenix's phase 1. For the five-man deployments you mention, a 20' container is more than enough. If DOD requires that certain cargo like munitions be shipped off-base by rail only, they can still put small container lifts at bases and commission a small fleet of well cars for CONUS ops. Beyond the better operating efficiencies with a limited rail battalion presence, that means much less spotting and switching for commercial railways and perhaps more willingness on their part to take single cars.

Boxcar service isn't practical for the long term, in my opinion.

Edit to add - RailVet: Picatinny looks like an easy "get" for rail service, with a clear right-of-way from the Lackawanna/Washington Sec. to the Government arsenal border and a remnant yard at the NS line. I can't say what the clearance under either the Lackawanna or I-80 is (Plates C, F, or H), but it ought to be enough for single-stacks or chemical tankers. Relaying track would be nice practice for a ROB's MOW company. Whether such would actually be useful for the Army's purposes, I don't know.
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Re: Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

Postby RailVet » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:41 pm

To justify the reintroduction of rail service to Picatinny Arsenal, it would have to be demonstrated that an actual need for rail service exists. Apparently it didn't when both the base railway and the connecting commercial line were abandoned. It would also have to be shown that trucks are insufficient to handle what they have indeed been handling for many years now, and that the tremendous expense of acquiring the abandoned right-of-way to the arsenal, laying the tracks again (both on the arsenal and off), acquiring rolling stock, building new rail facilities at the arsenal, etc., is somehow justified by cost savings, if any. Fat chance.

Rebuilding the line with an MoW "company" (as it's proposed, consisting of only a handful of personnel, with who knows how much heavy equipment) that, even if this were taken seriously, won't even exist for years into the future, isn't a viable plan.

At an office where I used to work there were a number of guys who liked to play "Fantasy Football" and they would spend a lot of their time each morning talking about it. What we're doing here is discussing "Fantasy Military Railroads," and the only place any of this is going to become a "reality" is in someone's basement on a model railroad layout, where one's railroad fantasies can be fulfilled.
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Re: Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

Postby RailVet » Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:35 am

From page 6 of the April 2016 issue of TRAINS magazine, quoting Steve Controne, president of Intransit Container Inc.: "Generally, in the past, railroads could not compete with trucks on hauls of less than 800 or 900 miles."

Read and heed, guys. When an industry professional tells you something like that, you can believe it. Converting all existing truck traffic in and out of military bases to rail is definitely not an automatic money-saver, and there's no way it would pay for the massive expenditures necessary proposed. Best to stick with HO scale train layouts in the basement where anything is possible.
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Re: Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:04 pm

RailVet wrote:From page 6 of the April 2016 issue of TRAINS magazine, quoting Steve Controne, president of Intransit Container Inc.: "Generally, in the past, railroads could not compete with trucks on hauls of less than 800 or 900 miles."

Mr. RailVet: I read the same magazine, and though I see where you are coming from (and respect your rail and military experience), I think his statement means something else. Mr. Controne says "in the past, railroads could not compete," but he is optimistic about shorter hauls today. The military would be a regular customer demanding regular service, meaning regular profits to any commercial railroad that chose to approach that traffic. To back up In-Transit's bet, Trains features multiple Class IIs and IIIs (Heart of Georgia, also Indiana Railroad in a recent issue) handling shortline freight and even containers profitably.

I don't think trains are the answer to very-short-distance transport (irregular Ft. Lee to Ft. Pickett equipment transfers would be a very hard sell to NS), but brassphoenix also mentioned long-distance CONUS and OCONUS shipments. As long as the Army Railway Service can broker a reasonable traffic guarantee between the various materiel commands and the commercial railroads, and can ensure that the last mile at the proposed railhead bases are ready to receive cars (with commercial or ROB service), the rest will take care of itself. If all else fails, the DOD would have an insurance policy against rate hikes by pipeline or truck operators, and more flexibility for mass deployments.
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Re: Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

Postby RailVet » Thu Mar 03, 2016 12:51 am

Time for a reality check.

This discussion started out with, "Hello everyone, there is a movement slowly building in both the civilian and military sectors and is a true bipartisan Proposal." I see absolutely no evidence of any movement at all, either in civilian or military sectors. When I mentioned this proposal to someone involved in TC force structure planning at the HQ DA level, I received a laugh in reply. There will be no new railway battalions - period.

Brassphoenix wrote, "Currently it is an internal DOD proposal," but it appears "internal" means himself.

He went on to write, "...the proposal has the backing of ...the SDDC in charge of all DODX rollingstock movements." And who was that? Brassphoenix wrote, "A Mr Gounley from the head of SDDC DODX railcar movement."

In reality George Gounley provided some information and guidance but made it clear his views are exactly opposite of some of what * advocated. He also told brassphoenix not to list him as backing what Brassphoenix is trying to do. Funny -- that's exactly what he did.

I don't know why we're even discussing this. It's one person's fantasy masquerading as an actual DOD proposal that's under serious consideration. It's not. It's completely detached from reality.

Let's go back to reality.
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Re: Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

Postby brassphoenix » Thu Mar 03, 2016 8:56 pm

At this point I will step in here, I had thought Mr Gounley was a supporter, a very honest mistake as another SDDC member was a supporter and had referred me to him and not once did he say he was NOT a supporter at the time and did provide me a lot of army railroad knowledge to help me along as well as several ideas that ended up in the proposal itself. It wasn't until much later did he inform me otherwise as he is a much bigger supporter of the Expedition Rail Center. Railvet if you truly think that the proposal is just a crazy rail fan fantasy then why are you keeping this topic alive?
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Re: Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

Postby brassphoenix » Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:10 am

Also to make myself perfectly clear Mr. Gounley did not at any point say to not list him as a supporter in which from there Mr. Gounley did state to not list him as a supporter from here on out. I did promptly apologize to Mr. Gounley as I was wrong to assume he did in fact support the proposal how ever once again he has given me advise as stated previously and never once state the he was against the proposal until much later.

I however will continue on with the proposal until it has been realized, i also realize plans can and will change and i expect my proposal to do the same but my mission will still be the same. To have enough rail battalions to Deploy with personnel and equipment, to effectively be able to complete the mission while being able to rotate out with other rail battalions during deployment and to more effectively use Army rail assets.
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Re: Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

Postby RailVet » Fri Mar 04, 2016 9:24 am

This topic is not worth commenting on any further. No more fantasy railroading. On to the real world. Out.
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