• Current Military Rail Operations

  • A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads
A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads

Moderator: Aa3rt

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  by riffian
 
Trying to construct a list of military facilities that have active rail operations with military locomotives.

I'm aware of the Hawthorne, Nevada operation, which is operated occasionally and the Hill AFB, Ogden, UT loco repair facilities. How many others are there??
  by RailVet
 
This is probably the most current roster available online:

http://military.railfan.net/roster/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

It hasn't been updated for a while, so it's not 100% accurate. For example:

The 1205th TROB, a USAR unit, was inactivated on 30 Sep 06 and its two locomotives, USA 4601 and 4602, went to the TVA.

Hill AFB, UT, closed its base utility railway a couple of years ago. The Army rail shop, a tenant activity, is still present, however.

MCLB Albany, GA, put its two GE 80-tons up for sale, although the base may still receive some limited rail service from the connecting carrier.

MCB Camp Lejeune no longer has its own locomotive, and the one listed on the website went to a tourist railroad some years ago. NS still serves the base.

MCB Camp Pendleton's tiny amount of track no longer has a locomotive.

The track from the CSX interchange to the base at Indian Head Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, MD, was lifted in about five years ago and the route is now a paved, county-owned trail. The GE 80-ton was trucked to a buyer in Nevada and the ex-Army SW8 was bought by a dealer that moved it to the power plant at Chalk Point, MD.

The rail operation at NWS Seal Beach, CA, has closed.

Although the online roster lists two GE 80-tons at NWS Earle, only one is present, and it is inoperative. The other has been gone since some time in the 1990s.

There have been some roster changes at other bases as well.
  by riffian
 
Thanks for the link and updates. I was hoping for some recent, local reports from various military bases on the status of operations.

I know for instance, that Beale Air Force Base at Marysville, CA has not had rail ops in many years. Don't know if their 80 tonner is still there (doubtful), but the UP goes out there very infrequently, (if ever). The Wikipedia entry for Shaw Air Force Base states that it has the last active military operation of any US Air Force facility, although does not provide a cite for this statement. I believe Eilson AFB in Fairbanks AK still receives heating coal interchanged from the Alaska RR and therefore must also be active.

I was at the US Army Transportation Corps Museum at Fort Eustis a couple of years ago. There is still a great amount of rail equipment, and much trackage, on the base, but according to the curator at the museum (retired Army Transportation Corps) it is very minimally in operation by contract personnel. There is no more railroad training, but a good deal of training by other Trans Corps MOS's (mostly port facility operations) which require some railroad support operations.
  by Deval
 
The 80T from Beale went to Shaw AFB when their rail operations closed down due to the retirement of the U2.

Shaw AFB is the last operating US Air Force Railroad in the Contiguous United States - you are correct that Clear AFS and Eielson AFB still get coal in from the ARR.
riffian wrote:I know for instance, that Beale Air Force Base at Marysville, CA has not had rail ops in many years. Don't know if their 80 tonner is still there (doubtful), but the UP goes out there very infrequently, (if ever). The Wikipedia entry for Shaw Air Force Base states that it has the last active military operation of any US Air Force facility, although does not provide a cite for this statement. I believe Eilson AFB in Fairbanks AK still receives heating coal interchanged from the Alaska RR and therefore must also be active.
Your source at Fort Eustis is incorrect. Eustis is still the home of Army Rail, and the civilian operators come up to Eustis once every 3 years for recertification. In addition, the US Army Reserves use the rail system at Fort Eustis once a year for their annual summer camp for 2 weeks in the spring.

Most of the other transportation training has been sent to Fort Leonard Wood (wheeled vehicles) and Fort Lee (logistics / planning).
riffian wrote:I was at the US Army Transportation Corps Museum at Fort Eustis a couple of years ago. There is still a great amount of rail equipment, and much trackage, on the base, but according to the curator at the museum (retired Army Transportation Corps) it is very minimally in operation by contract personnel. There is no more railroad training, but a good deal of training by other Trans Corps MOS's (mostly port facility operations) which require some railroad support operations.
The owner of Military Rails Online is a good friend of mine - I'll have to get on him about updating the site.

-Deval
  by RailVet
 
A friend of mine visited Beale AFB in November 2012 and photographed the GE 80-ton, USAF 1668, pulling a single tank car, UTLX 646468. He wrote that Beale's rail system operates about twice a month, and he didn't mention anything about its impending shutdown. Although the plan has been to retire the base railway with the U-2, apparently the U-2 is still flying. From Wikipedia:

In March 2011, it was projected that the U.S.'s fleet of 32 U-2s would be operated until 2015. The Obama administration requested $91 million to maintain the U-2 program. In 2011, the U.S. Air Force intended to replace the U-2s with RQ-4s before fiscal year 2015. Proposed legislation would require that its replacement have lower operating costs before the U-2 could be retired. In January 2012, it was reported that Air Force plans to end the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 program and extend the U-2 fleet in service until c. 2023.
  by RailVet
 
The gent in Fort Eustis museum is incorrect. Rail training still takes place at Fort Eustis for Army Reserve railroaders and for civilian employees from various posts and army depots; however, the 757th Transportation Battalion (Rwy), headquartered in Milwaukee, WI, is scheduled to be inactivated in 2015 and a new organization is to stand up. It's to be called the Army Reserve Expeditionary Railway Center, and you can read about it here:

http://www.almc.army.mil/alog/issues/Ma ... enter.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The types of railroaders in this unit won't be the same as those found in the 757th, so changes in rail training at Fort Eustis may be coming in the future.
  by RailVet
 
Be very wary of articles written by junior enlisted folks from a public affairs office. I recall an earlier article some years ago in SOLDIERS magazine that stated no railway units took part in the Korean War. This must have come as a surprise to the veterans of the rail units that were indeed there.

Let's go through some points in this article:

"Army Reserve units have run the railway system since the last active Army unit was shutdown in the 1970s." Not true. Civilian employees and contractors have run the post railway system. Reservists coming to the post are always temporary guests there for short training periods.

"226th Transportation Railway Operating Company." The actual designation is 226th Transportation Company (Railway Operating). I don't blame the author for getting it wrong because even the unit doesn't call itself by its DA-approved designation, instead using an older (and obsolete) type of designation the unit never had.

"Fort Eustis has a tremendous training history with the railroad. In World War 2, soldiers trained with replica German and French railroad signs to help the American military crews be prepared to operate overseas during the Allied takeover of French and German railway systems." These sentences give the impression that Fort Eustis was a Transportation Corps training site during WW II. It was, instead, the Coast Artillery Replacement Training Center. There were rail-mounted mortars and cannons on the post over the years, but these belonged to CA units, not TC units. TC training didn't start at Fort Eustis until 1946.

"Because no final decision has been made, the Soldiers of the 226th TROC continue to drill out of Naval Weapons Center Earle, N.J." When I was last at NWS Earle, the Navy rail employees hadn't seen any Army Reservists for some time and didn't know when they'd be back. The upstairs area of the two-floor yard office, which the Navy rail ops folks had given to Army Reserve railroaders for training and admin use, had reverted back to Navy rail use. They may have returned since then, but since the 226th has training requirements other than rail, it's quite likely the unit isn't there as often as it once was.

As for "no final decision has been made," I suspect that is the line given to unit members in order not to drive a stake into any remaining unit morale. It's not usual for leadership to withhold information regarding an upcoming inactivation so as to keep people from transferring to other assignments, thereby reducing its operational capability. One unit that comes to mind is a PA ARNG outfit that was not told it was being inactivated until the unit's final drill, and that, as of the following month, the members of the unit would all be assigned to a different unit in a different capacity.

Army rail units reached their peak during WW II and have been in a downward spiral ever since. There were once dozens of railway battalions as well as higher-echelon units, but today there is just one remaining rail battalion, the 757th (to which the 226th Trans Co is assigned), and its future is not looking good.
  by riffian
 
A bit of information on both the Clear, AK operation and the Bayonne Army Terminal. Bayonne is now in the midst of being redeveloped into residences and retail.


http://www.alaskarails.org/glance/EA-GE-80s.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by riffian
 
Trackmobile now in use at USMC Albany, Georgia.

Locomotive operations are safe at Yermo/Nebo, California where trainloads of military vehicles are unloaded for training at the Desert Training Center, Fort Irwin. Both US Army and Canadian Army units cycle through Fort Irwin, with all the vehicles coming in by train to the Marine Corps Logistics Center at Yermo.

http://www.albany.marines.mil/News/News ... track.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by RailVet
 
Let me know if you find out their roadnumbers.
  by riffian
 
The unit is reported to be at Oak Island Yard today. Since the Southern Secondary local runs Thursday afternoon only, I would look for it to go down to Earle tomorrow.
  by riffian
 
65-00647. Photo in US Navy Erle thread on New Jersey Railfan.
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