• Fort Leonard Wood, MO

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

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by SemperFidelis
I was wondering if the line to Fort Leonard Wood is a common carrier or (more likely) not. I'm assuming the line is DOD owned and operated and, with little other potential traffic along the line, wouldn't even need to consider be a common carrier. Can anyone help me out with this one?

I ask because someone brought up an interesting point about potential freight from the Saint Robert, MO area to me today and I'd just love to call the DOD to ask for a switch to be installed.

Some railroads serving military bases are private, with some being Class 1's and some being shortlines. I'm sure there's a pencil-pusher somewhere that makes these calls, but I wonder why a base like Fort Leonard Wood has its own locomotives while others rely on the services of the connecting railroad.

By the by, when I was there in '96 the rails in the warehousing area were extensive, and almost entirely unused. There were two red GP-40s (not a locomotive expert, so that might be wrong) there that didn't seem to have too much to do.
  by Deval
Fort Leonard Wood has their car management are per diem down to an science, and either the cars are spotted and being loaded/unloaded, or they are gone from the post - period. They don't have cars sitting around being unused. The post is a lot busier than it looks, and most days, it looks like there is nothing going on.

On your visit, they had a pair of GP10s - 4606 and 4607. They now have a GP40, 4654, for a total of 3 engines.

As far as your question goes, it's completely hypothetical and it's obvious you've never seen Fort Leonard Wood's mainline. It's completely rural and mountainous, with no potential for online customers whatsoever. There are no houses next to it, much less any industry that could potentially become customers.

But to answer your question, there are some military railroads that serve commercial customers. Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point regularly handles unit coal trains for a local power plant, and Milan Army Ammunition Plant's primary customer is a car shop on the base.
  by Mikejf
I remember when I was there in 1988 my guard duty was a switch by the warehouses. Don't remember which one but I always wanted to return and explore. Never a car in sight. Tracks were rust covered but not unused.

  by SemperFidelis
Thank you for the answers!

While I've never had a chance to see the mainline, only the yard tracks, I can assure you that there is potential business. As was correctly pointed out when highlighting the lack of online potential customers, the freight in question would have to be transferred from a truck to a railroad car.

I am glad to hear that FLW has their transportation functions down to such a science. My service left me with the distinct feeling that precious few peacetime functions were done with any great efficiency.

So, if a military railroad might handle commercial traffic, I wonder then what it takes to initiate such service (should this potential pan out). I've navigated the DOD on many an occassion before and, thus, assume it's going to be a lot of "fun".

Was there a surge in activity when we shipped out for the wars in the Middle East, or was most deployment done by roadway?

Thank you again.
  by kevin.brackney
When I was in the 226th Transportation Railway Operating Co.(later to be reflagged as the 1151st) at Granite City, IL the unit had explored the possibility of training MOS 88U (Railway Operations Crewmember) soldiers at Ft. Leonard Wood, but the idea was squashed by the Installation Transportation Officer (ITO).
  by Jeff Smith
News on a NG unit deploying to Irwin that was using the rail head at Leonard Wood: SDDC rail team keeps Missouri National Guard on track
When the heavy rains of March swept through the Midwest, the tracks at the Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Logistics Readiness Center (LRC) were impacted, making the rail unavailable - creating a logistical hurdle for the 220th Engineer Company as they prepared to deploy to the Fort Irwin National Training Center in Barstow, California.

When the SDDC Rail Operations team of Bill Foster and U.S. Army Capt. David Ross became aware of the issue, they initiated a plan of action that would require great cooperation and coordination on the parts of several key players.

"We saw there was an issue that could potentially cause the 220th to miss their required delivery date (RDD), which would cause a chain of events that could have far reaching effects on other units trying to deploy, we knew we had to act and act fast," said Foster.

Their plan was to move the rail upload operations from Fort Leonard Wood to the BNSF Railway yard located in Springfield, Missouri, something that had not been done in almost 30 years.