• Fort Belvior and Railroad MOS?

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

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by Gilbert B Norman
I must wonder now that I've learned Ft Belvior is out of the railroad business, does the Army even have any railroad related MOS's anymore?

In Viet Nam, US Forces operated trains over their railways. If Sgt. Statkowski is "out there" might you wish to comment? While railroads are used in Iraq to support our military presence, the recent TRAINSarticle suggests they remain under Iraqi civilian control.

  by jhdeasy
One of my Army colleagues (I'm Navy) here at the Defense Logistics Agency HQ, a tennant at Fort Belvoir VA, provided the following list of Army MOS:


The majority of Army positions in this field are closely related to similar civilian occupations. Potential civilian employers are trucking firms, marinas, airports, railroads and intra-coastal shipping companies.


88H Cargo Specialist

88K Watercraft Operator

88L Watercraft Engineer

88M Motor Transport Operator

88N Transportation Management Coordinator

88P Railway Equipment Repairer (USAR)

88Q Railway Car Repairer (USAR)

88R Airbrake Repairer (USAR)

88S Locomotive Electrician (USAR)

88T Railway Section Repairer (USAR)

88U Railway Operations Crewmember (USAR)

88V Train Crewmember (USAR)


Thus it apears there are several MOS for railroad skills, but (according to one source) the billets with these MOS are all Army Reserve rather than active duty Army; another source indicates they are USA as well as USAR. The Army's Advanced Individual Training schools for these MOS are probably at Fort Eustis, Virginia.
  by RailVet
The Army still does have railway MOS; however, the list posted above is way out of date by perhaps a decade or more. Consolidation has left only three: 88U (rail operations), 88T (track maintenance) and 88P (locomotive repair). The Regular Army deleted rail MOSs in May 1976, leaving them only in the Army Reserve. The National Guard has never had rail MOSs or rail units. The last active duty railway unit, the platoon-sized 1st Railway Detachment, was inactivated at Fort Eustis on September 30, 1978. Together with civilian employees, it had been in charge of running the post utility railway and providing training for reservists during their summer training increments. When they left, the handful of civilian employees remained behind to run the line.

Fort Belvoir's line had long been a civilian-manned railway by the time it ceased operations and was pulled up in the early 1990s.

US Army rail operations in Vietnam were extremely limited. Statkowski's rail operation was primarily a short utility line, not mainline operations over the national railway. As a former US Army rail liaison officer from the early stages of the war stated, the more they used the national railway, the more it was attacked, so the Army declined to use it much.

In Iraq, there was a British Army railway unit involved in restoring rail operations at the port of Umm Qasr in the wake of the invasion two years ago. Later there was a small detachment of the Army Reserve's 757th Transportation Battalion (Railway), plus there was other Transportation Corps involvement in overseeing rail operations. Restoring and conducting rail operations, however, has mainly been turned over to contractors and Iraqi employees.

As posted under another Military Railroads topic, there are only a few USAR rail units left.

- 757th Trans Bn (Rwy), headquartered in Milwaukee, WI, with subordinate companies in various states. It is the only overseas-deployable rail unit.

- 1205th Trans Railway Operating Battalion, headquartered in Middletown, CT. This specially-configured unit only has about 50 authorized slots, although it may have about 70 assigned via double-slotting of personnel. Its mission is to provide rail operations (88U) and track maintenance (88T) support at stateside bases, usually Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, NC, but also MOT Concord, CA, and other selected locations. Currently it's set to be inactivated in 2006 as the Army Reserve revamps its force structure to focus on overseas-deployable units.

- 226th Trans Co (Rwy), headquartered at Westover Air Reserve Base, MA, just east of Springfield, MA. Attached to the 1205th for peacetime admin purposes, it is configured for overseas deployment and would be assigned to the 757th when mobilized.

- Two USAR Garrison Support Units (GSUs) have a handful of rail operations personnel to support mobilizations at Fort Hood and Fort Eustis.

  by jhdeasy
A week or two ago (approximately 12-01-2007), contractors removed the rail, ties and rubberized grade crossing material where a remnant of the abandoned Fort Belvoir rail line crossed John J. Kingman Road near its intersection with VA Route 7100 Fairfax County Parkway.

Last time I checked, about one-third of a mile of Fort Belvoir track was still intact from the interchange with CSX at Newington VA to the vicinity of Telegraph Road.
  by kevin.brackney
I've been reading the posts concerning the future, or lack of, soldiers engaged in Army rail operations; I cannot say that I'm surprised, or shocked, though deeply saddened and somewhat bewildered. I dedicated 13 years of my Army career in the 88U MOS. I enjoyed every bit of it; something I cannot say about other things I have done in my military career. It has been six years since I left the 226th TC Co. Since that time I have been in the Army National Guard; currently on my second deployment; this time to Afghanistan. I have even considered coming back to the 757th if they will have me (I have beau coup years of service).

I know I'm preaching to the choir when I say I feel that it is a mistake to eliminate Army Reservists from Army Rail Ops. Even though the deployments were limited, we provided a ready asset whenever an installation needed back-up to its civilian work force. In one year alone, I performed seven weeks of active duty to run locomotives on different installations. How much would the government have had to spend on contractors (and legal action) to get this work accomplished? I know. That doesn't seem to matter. Hopefully, I can get back in the fight before it's over; if not, I'll remember the good times and move on.
  by Jeff Smith
Kevin, thanks for your service, and stay safe if AF. Thanks for carrying the flag for those of us who've moved on (I'm retired Army 97E).