• Vandenberg AFB, CA rails pulled

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

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by RailVet
A visit to Vandenberg AFB, CA, on January 31 revealed that the rails have been pulled from the base all the way out to the interchange. A contractor said they started in October, with some work having already been done by a National Guard unit (possibly an engineer battalion). By last week rails and ties were gone from everywhere but some grade crossings. Two employees were tasked that day with separating spikes from tie plates in the large piles adjacent to the right-of-way.

The base was served at one time by GE 80-ton USAF 1680, the last motive power on the base. Earlier the base also had USAF 2104, an Alco/GE MRS1 which left in early 1991 for the San Diego Railroad Museum in Campo, CA.

Vandenberg AFB was where the MX Rail Garrison missile trains were being developed when the program was canceled in mid-stream by the end of the Soviet Union. Information on the program can be found in Trains magazines for October 1988 (page 32) and September 1990 (page 25) as well as Railfan & Railroad (page 44, July 1991).

An article in the January 1990 issue of Retired Officer magazine stated: "The Air Force has announced plans to rebase its MX Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missiles in the rail garrison mode. Plans call for 50 of the missiles, two each aboard 25 trains, to be garrisoned on secure, existing Air Force installations. When deployed by National Command Authorities during time of national need, the trains would have access to more than 120,000 miles of commercial tracks. This deployment will offer enhanced survivability and potential for prompt retaliation vital to successful deterrence of war.

"Six bases have been named to join the main operating base of F.E. Warren AFB, WY, as rail garrison locations. They are Barksdale AFB, LA; Dyess AFB, TX; Fairchild AFB, WA; Grand Forks AFB, ND, Little Rock AFB; AR, and Wurtsmith AFB, MI.

"Initial operating capability of one train (two missiles), under control of the Strategic Air Command, is scheduled for 1992. Missiles to be used are currently operational in modified Minuteman silos at F.E. Warren AFB."