• 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 brassphoenix
Hello everyone, there is a movement slowly building in both the civilian and military sectors and is a true bipartisan Proposal. It really has just started so many of you may or may not know about it but one thing is for sure the Railway Operating Battalion Revival Project is a very interesting proposal. The project is a 3 Phase plan made to slowly ease the transition of switching Military shipments from truck to rail, as well as reviving the railway Operating Battalions in some Army installations. Now I will post the very core of the Project down bellow as well as a Facebook Page link if anyone wants to follow their progress.

Phase: I
1) Evaluate mass goods that can be shipped to Army facilities (JP8, MRE's, consumable goods)

A. JP8 is the number one fuel source used by all branches of the Armed Forces. Costs can be saved by shipping JP8 by rail instead of trucks. Installations that have fueled delivered by pipeline will still use the pipeline instead of rail.

B. MRE's are used in mass quantities during training missions, deployments, and emergencies. Having MRE's shipped directly from the manufacturing facilities to a Joint Supply Support facility or each Army installation for distribution to the individual units will cut costs.

C. Consumables. Most; if not all miscellaneous goods go through intermodal yards and are shipped cross country by rail before being transferred onto trucks. Cost can be saved by bypassing the civilian intermodal yards and by having intermodal rail cars go directly to Military intermodal yards.

D. SSA facilities hold the majority of all Army consumable goods. SSA facilities will make up the majority of mass goods shipped. Upon the completion of Phase 2 joint logistics Supply support facilities, SSA and arrival Warehouses will make up the vast majority of military goods shipped. Boxcars and flatcars can be unloaded from Warehouses with rail access and railroad team track.

E. Ammunition, one of the most used consumable goods in the military. Most installations still have rail access to their ammunition storage facilities. Shipping Ammunition by rail is a far safer alternative, safety can be further enhanced by requiring all railroads to not mix cars with Hazardous materials and military explosives in the same consists. Even further safety measures can be enacted by putting ammunition into a specialized shipping container to be loaded into box cars. Also brass shell casings can be shipped back to the ammunition factories for reuse or scrap.

F. Scrap and recycling. With the Army trying to reduce costs by going green, costs can be cut by shipping scrap metal, plastics and paper by rail from the installations recycling center to a large trusted recycling facility. Military installations should creating a scraping plan to accommodate small scrap metal that is currently viewed as trash (used safety wire, cotter pins, bolts, washers, nuts, ect) by collecting scrap metal that is currently viewed as trash, can save the military tens of thousands of dollars.

G. Household goods and POVs. By far the most commonly shipped goods in any installation no matter how big or small is household goods. By shipping household goods by rail the military can insure safer and faster shipments between installations while saving costs. When a soldier goes on an overseas tour their POV can be shipped by rail and stored in DoD long term parking facilities.\

2) Upgrading the preexisting Infrastructure

A. Most Military installations have preexisting rail infrastructures; to accommodate Phase 1 operations, some infrastructures need to be upgraded for rail use.

-Example- Biggs Army Airfield, Ft Bliss, TX
B. Biggs Army Airfield has rail access to fuel facilities and its own container intermodal yard. Rail has to be extended to the fuel facility and offloading pipes added. The intermodal facility doesn't require upgrading; shipments are still brought in by truck instead of rail. Ft Bliss like most Military installations still has the old warehouses and rail access to them. Rails need to be added to the small section from the main siding to the warehouse siding. Ft. Bliss also has two team tracks located near the Aviation fuel Depot. Team track sidings like these can be useful for offloading bulky items like rotor blades for an aircraft.

Phase: II
With the completion of Phase 1 and the effectiveness of The Army Railroad Transportation Corps reevaluated, phase 2 can commence.

1) Joint installation Railroads

A. All Air Force, Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard rail heads will switch over to The Army Railroad Transportation Corps. Phase 1 will then commence on all installations upgrading and restarting rail service on all Military installations. If rail service is still active in another installation all non-Army service men will be grandfathered out and replaced by The Army Railroad Transportation Corps

B. Installations like Camp Lejeune/ MCAS Cherry Point, Shaw AFB, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, ect. These installations railroads will now fall under the Army Railroad transportation Corps.

C. Installations with local businesses that have access to rail or wanting rail access should be accommodated by the Military railroad. By serving local businesses on military railroads will generate revenue for future projects or plans into giving back to the community creating a stronger bond between military and civilians alike.

2) Connecting close proximity installations and joint bases

A. Military installations that are within 25 radial miles of each other will be connected by a Military rail line between installations for an increase of rail transportation efficiency, while keeping needed personnel and equipment low.

-Example- joint base installation railroads
B. Ft Bliss Triad (Ft Bliss, Biggs Army Air Field, McGregor range, White Sands Missile Range, and Holloman Air Force Base), Camp Lejeune/ MCAS Cherry Point, and Ft Eustis corridor (Ft Pickett/ Ft Lee/Ft Eustis, Yorktown naval weapons station and supply yard, Langley Air Force Base, Norfolk naval yard and Naval Air Station Oceana)

3) Enlarging the Ft Eustis Army Railroad Transportation Corps school house

A. Increasing the size of The Army Railroad Transportation Corps school house to include the addition commonly found overseas locomotives, rolling stock, signals, and track. This will make The Army Railroad Transportation Corps a deployable and valuable unit again.

4) Joint Support Supply Center

A. Ocean Terminal Facilities will become Joint Supply Support Center. These Installations will stock consumable goods from paper, uniforms, and ammunition, to engines, and rotor blades for all branches of the Armed Forces and their Installations. These Support facilities will provide quick and efficient way to transport consumable goods to installations around the world.

B. The purpose of these Support Centers is to stock the most used consumable parts and goods for all branches, to order and receive supplies from the suppler and or manufacturer, and to receive and ship orders from different installations by rail. From the manufacturer supplies will get shipped to the closest military installation for transfer onto rail to be shipped to the Military Ocean Terminal and Joint Support Supply Centers (JSSC) for warehouse storage and to be shipped to CONUS and OCONUS installations around the world. From the JSSC supplies can be shipped by ships to OCONUS installations or by rail to CONUS installations. For Installations without rail access, supplies will be shipped by rail to the closest installation with rail access and will be transferred onto a truck to be shipped to that installation. These transfers can also be made at Airfields with rail access onto an aircraft delivering supplies to OCONUS and CONUS installations without rail access.

C. The JSSC will also have their own phase plan that will mirror the Military's Railroad 3 phase plan.

Phase 1
Phase 1 will be to convert all existing warehousing facilities in DoD installations to except all inbound goods directly from the closest manufacturer. These warehouses will store consumable goods to be shipped by rail to all installations.

Phase 2
Phase 2 is the construction of two JSSC facilities in the preexisting Ocean Terminal Facilities, one on the East coast and one on the West Coast. As the JSSC get completed all Warehouses apart of the Phase one plan will only be used for transferring goods from the manufacturer to rail, to be shipped to the two JSSC facilities for storage.

5) New engine facilities

A. New engine shops, Locomotive parking, Maintenance equipment parking and storage to be built to handle the increased freight traffic. Civilian contractors will be given the older smaller engine facilities for heavy locomotive and car maintenance.

Phase: III
With The Army Railroad Transportation Corps reestablished, the Army Rail Corps can further increase its efficiency to react to emergencies and natural disasters.

1) Replacing an aging fleet GP10s, 80-ton locomotives and rolling stock

A. Old DoD rolling stock nearing their 40 year limit has to be replaced and, or go through the Association of American Railroads (AAR) Rule 88 rebuild. Old locomotive facilities on installations can perform this role. With the expansion of military railroads new Boxcars and Flatcars need to be acquired.

B. 80-ton Center Cab locomotives are some of the oldest vehicles in the Army inventory. To meet the Demand of yard switching and Dockside service, New Genset type center cab locomotives need to be acquired. These locomotives will be used for Conus only service. Center Cab locomotives provide extra safety to the crew by providing better visibility then other locomotives.

C. GP10 locomotives in the army's roster where made in the late 70's. Deployable locomotives that can change their gauge and are made to a European standard will take the place of the aging GP10s. These locomotives will be of a mid-range type general purpose locomotive. Changeable gauges should be between 3' 6” and 5' 6”, with American Standard gauge 4' 8 1/2” being the standard. Cabs should be up armored or have the ability to install outer armor with bullet resistant windows.

D. Old locomotives in good running condition will be distributed to civilian run facilities, other locomotives will be donated and sold. Old rolling stock that has exceeded their lifespan or found to damage to repair, will be scrapped and donated.

2) Give back to the community

A. when natural disasters take out large portions of track often times the railroad has to file for bankruptcy and close its doors. In the event a railroad cannot afford to repair track damage the Army Railroad Transportation Corps can “deploy” to fix the rail line. This gives the Railroad Corps real world experience in deployment like setting.

Example –Tillamook Railroad-
B. In 2007 a large storm took out several portions of track and some bridges. The Tillamook railroad had to file for abandonment and the town of Tillamook has been slowly dying ever since.

3) Rail Ambulatory and Army Disaster Relief Train

A. During times of emergencies or natural disasters, hospitals can be over crowded, understaffed and too far to reach. During these times an Army Disaster Relief Train can be called in to supply medical aid, food, tents, provide mobile landing pads for helicopters, and emergency power by using the locomotives as a mobile power station.

the Facebook group also talks about switching over Army Food shipments to rail as well and the Admin is currently working on a brand new more in depth "book" to fix any errors and to explain more in detail about each step. https://www.facebook.com/ROBRPRevival/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by mtuandrew
Very interesting. Has there been any thought given to intermodal terminals at major military rail hubs (Charleston, El Paso/Bliss, Leonard Wood, etc.?) If you're packing MREs and personal effects for overseas shipment, containerization is the obvious choice, and that could be greatly facilitated by container lift facilities at each.
  by brassphoenix
@mtuandrew yes actually there has been a lot of thought on that subject and is the reason Military Ocean Terminals where picked to be a major logistics hub. All OCONUS shipments will still be by Containers, A future Rail Ferry is being planned in a future proposal that will be a lot more in depth. the Reason behind the Ferry is to be able to easily transport rail assests from Ft Lewis Washington to Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson in Alaska as well as to be able to ship assets to Korea and possibly Europe. (European Army Assets will be on a European standard however only two locations can possibly house a Rail unit, one is in Germany and the other in Italy) Soldiers household goods state side will be loaded into containers as well if PCSing to an overseas base.
  by mtuandrew
brassphoenix: The rail ferry seems like a job for the Alaska Railroad as an auxiliary or a contract operator, since they have the Whittier - Sea/Tac route already and are (were?) partly Fed-funded anyway. Like, commission a ferry as part of the Auxiliary Reserve fleet.

Since I am hardly on Facebook, can you give a short description of the potential CONUS and OCONUS ROB bases?
  by SemperFidelis
It's about damn time the military got back to shipping/recieving by rail.

It would be interesting to see some of the bases with neglected trackage brought back to life. Aberdeen, Edgewood, Picatinny, warehousing areas of Lejeune, Pendleton, just off the top of my head could all be brought back on line pretty easily.
  by Jeff Smith
I'm around the corner from Hunter AAF; they have some trackage that comes in off a CSX yard. Years ago I served with a Port Security Detachment that nominally protected Reforger shipments which went out in the summer (a lovely time of the year in Savannah). A lot of that equipment came in via rail, whether it was Abrams, Apache's, or Bradley's, as well as I'm sure other supplies such as the nasty first-gen MRE's (crackers that didn't crack when tossed out of an M151). Savannah is a major port, along with of course Charleston. I drive through post a lot, but haven't seen any rail activity.
  by brassphoenix
@mtuandrew Currently Rail ferry operations by the Alaskan railroad will not be to handle the new proposed volume of traffic for the Army. the plan calls for a ocean worthy train ferry that will be able to take a direct approach from Joint Base Lewis-McChord to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson as well as to be able to deploy rail assets to Korea and Europe. Proposed CONUS ROB bases are Ft. Eustis, Ft Hood, Ft. Bliss, Ft Lewis, Ft. Carson and both Ocean Terminal Facilities, these locations were chosen based upon size of installation and possible rail corridors to other installations. Proposed OCONUS locations would include Ft. Wainwright, Camp Darby (maybe its only a satellite installation now),Camp Humphreys, and Grafenwoehr training area. please note these are proposed plans and are not an official plan as of yet.
  by SemperFidelis
Is there a bill in congress this is attached to so I can bother my congressman about it, or is it all DOD internal stuff?
  by brassphoenix
SemperFidelis wrote:Is there a bill in congress this is attached to so I can bother my congressman about it, or is it all DOD internal stuff?
@SemperFidelis Currently it is an internal DOD proposal, I can give you the current Version 3 of the proposal however Version 4 of the proposal is underway and will go more in depth to the current proposal. It is expected to be at least three times the size of the current proposal as it will cover everything.
  by mtuandrew
SemperFidelis wrote:It's about damn time the military got back to shipping/recieving by rail.

It would be interesting to see some of the bases with neglected trackage brought back to life. Aberdeen, Edgewood, Picatinny, warehousing areas of Lejeune, Pendleton, just off the top of my head could all be brought back on line pretty easily.
Oh, good ideas re: the arsenals and proving grounds. Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst also comes to mind as an easy enough "get," as do Pensacola NAS and Eglin AFB for jet fuel and other sundries. Maybe Quantico?

Note to all: I'm not a service member nor a veteran, just an interested observer with some knowledge of military history and ops.

brassphoenix: My mistake - I meant to propose Alaska Marine Lines as a contract operator of a USNS auxiliary Pacific Ocean rail-ferry fleet, from which the Alaska Railroad could purchase service TAC - Anchorage. Their oceangoing barges (not rail, I think) already serve Honolulu biweekly, so a rail ferry vessel from Tacoma or Long Beach via Honolulu to Korea (or direct TAC or LB - Korea) wouldn't be out of the question.
  by RailVet
When you say, "Currently it is an internal DOD proposal," exactly which office or organization is dealing with this proposal? Is it one military person's proposal outside of any DOD organization actually dealing with rail matters?
  by brassphoenix
RailVet wrote:When you say, "Currently it is an internal DOD proposal," exactly which office or organization is dealing with this proposal? Is it one military person's proposal outside of any DOD organization actually dealing with rail matters?
Yes it is a proposal from a military member currently working as a mechanic and Aircrew member on the UH-60 Blackhawks but the proposal has the backing of Fort Eustis Railroad Schoolhouse and the SDDC in charge of all DODX rollingstock movements. the proposal is still in it infancy stages however support seems to be growing rapidly in both the military and civilian community.
  by brassphoenix
RailVet wrote:Which office or individual in SDDC is involved?
@RailVet A Mr Gounley from the head of SDDC DODX railcar movement. heard of him RailVet?
  by brassphoenix
Alright everyone the new "un" Official proposal is up and is many times larger then the previous proposal. Two links will be provided one will be a direct link to the download and the other link will be to the Railway Operating Battalion's Facebook Page.

http://www.pdf-archive.com/2016/02/22/r ... l-project/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

https://www.facebook.com/ROBRPRevival/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;