• Railway Operating Battalion revival Project

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

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by Jeff Smith

Everyone stop with the personal attacks and name-calling, etc. (I don't mean to point out any one particular individual). I understand the passion involved. I was in the Army, and I too love trains. I also understand that it's not necessarily a proposal under serious consideration at this time. So for an academic exercise, and I think that's what was being pointed out by RailVet what this is vs. how it may first have been presented, it's still an interesting discussion, so I don't want to lock the topic.

So let's tone down the rhetoric just a notch; I do appreciate a good argument. I think we all have good intentions here. Thanks!
  by SemperFidelis
Aside from the short range hauls, better handled by the good 88 Mikes, I think there are some really huge cost savings available to the DOD by using rail shipments and. I wish the OP luck in seeing his proposed- if obviously far in the future should it ever implemented scheme- through as I have always felt the military lost quite a lot of money by abandoning certain rail links, and underutilizing ones that remain in place.

I spent a goodly amount of time int ej Army and the Marines trying to get my various superiors to reutilize thier rail links, but, as is the case of all DOD issues, there is so much red tape, bidding, and preexisting contracts that had to be dealt with I can only claione success by helping to initiate a move off of Lejeune of some vehicular equipment.

Food stuffs come into bases in massive quantities and, at least the dry stuff, should probably be railed. Vehicle tires, individuls vehicles and large orders (new Strykers etc.), MREs, paper products (towels, napkins etc. as nearly all paper mills have rail spurs...really the list is rather long). Hell, on a decent field day, a good Marine Corps base probably goes through a boxcar or two or paper towels...and that's every thursday.

However, the military is nothing but inflexible and dogmatic, with change coming at a near-glacial pace. I now expect nothing to change without getting someone in a higher command position really interested.

But, anyway, to the OP, best of luck. If there's anything that I can do to help your proposal see the light of day, let me know. My family still has a lot of connections with brass, Congressman, and Senators. It just might need to be pared down a litte (such as the short range base to base moves) to be made more palatable.
  by Deval
One of the main problems with this proposal / project is that it tries to go back in time 75 years. Logistics and Supply Chain Management have changed. Years ago the DoD ordered supplies and had them sent to central distribution warehouses and then sent to the bases / posts that need them. In modern times, these supplies go right from the vendor to the base, cutting out a lot of handling and middle men.

The railroads have gotten out of the LCL business years ago, and no single military base buys enough one single commodity to warrant shipping out in full car loads, much less unit trains which would interest commercial railroads. Most Vendors / Suppliers are not equipped to send out a single carload to DoD. It's best to let the logisticians figure out how to move the freight. Sometimes rail is an option; most of the time it is not. About the only commodity that is shipped by rail at the moment are new vehicles.

The DoD has been contracting out things for decades now. We're in the middle of yet another drawdown; there is no time or interest to add more soldiers when they are trying to get rid of the ones we need now.
  by usa4624
The Army (TARDEC-RDECOM) has reviewed this proposal and issued the following statement:


The ROB has a rich and vibrant history in the US Army and was an integral part of the Army’s inventory. However, based on Army needs analysis and force requirements determination, the Army ROB is no longer a viable option in the current geostrategic environment faced by Combatant Commands. The current structure, the ERC, provides the necessary advisory and management capability the Combatant Commands require to effectively utilize host-nation railway systems.
  by kevin.brackney
I concur with RailVet's assessments. Perhaps a detachment, or regionally grouped detachments could fall under the supervision of a Chief Warrant Officer with experience in all facets of rail operations, and management. I don't think however, that we will ever see more than what currently exists, at least where "green suiters" are concerned, that what the 757th ERC already provides.