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Fort Benning Troop Trains

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Fort Benning Troop Trains
Posted by SPer on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 1:26 PM

How do WW2 troop trains get into Fort Benning, do they run under their own power or a switcher pull the train into the base, I know this isn't a easy task.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 3:07 PM

This is an interesting question.  Historically Fort Benning was built out without the ability to bypass traffic, and uses the road carrier (currently NS) for all switching -- the base does not have switchers or even Trackmobile capacity.  The plant was extensively rebuilt by 2014, but is still switched entirely by NS... I believe only with road power, even more highly likely with the advent of PSR.

You could contact the people who did the upgrading of the rail facility at Benning, as they might have some historical knowledge or sources:

https://www.qcik.com/about-us/#team

My expectation was that the trains would arrive and leave entirely with road power, probably with very rapid detraining and minimal dwell.  A question might be whether they backed in loaded, or ran head-in to minimize the effect of backing on a loaded consist.  Pictures will, of course, be scarce during wartime on an active military base, but some might exist.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 3:52 PM

Every photo or film I've seen of troop trains showed them arriving and leaving the posts with road power.  

This is not to say that the departing trains weren't made up with switchers or the incoming trains (especially carrying freight) weren't broken up with switchers. 

As Overmod said, photography during wartime would have been strictly controlled, typically War Department photographers only.  

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Posted by SPer on Saturday, July 24, 2021 9:34 AM

Unless a train goes to the yard and add another road locomotive on the back of the troop trains and makes it easier to go to Fort Benning rather than backing the train on it's own power.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:00 AM

Likely wouldn't have spare engines available during wartime.  The 'likeliest' approach with 'multiple engines' available would be to have a switch engine pull the empty, now unheated consist out to a yard with the engine reversing light behind it without the 'fun' of a shove move.

I can't really imagine why the train would be reversed loaded into base, as if into a stub station, simply to facilitate leaving.  It's not as if smoke or platform length were real considerations.

Departing troop movements might be more interesting.  Those would likely be backed in to simplify loaded departure.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:25 PM

Overmod
Likely wouldn't have spare engines available during wartime.  The 'likeliest' approach would be to have a switch engine pull the empty, now unheated consist out to a yard with the engine reversing light behind it without the 'fun' of a shove move.

I can't really imagine why the train would be reversed loaded into base, as if into a stub station, simply to facilitate leaving.  It's not as if smoke or platform length were real considerations.

Departing troop movements might be more interesting.  Those would likely be backed in to simplify loaded departure.

While it doesn't necessarily apply to military installations.

Frequently in station designs for 'large' cities it was common to build the station on the stem of a Wye and have most all trains back in for their station stop.  The didn't want steam engines 'smoking up' the stations.

In my experience Washington Union Station (B&O side), Savannah, GA and Jacksonville, FL were all done in this manner.  There were likely other stations set up in this manner that I did not experience.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, July 25, 2021 9:38 AM

Those were precisely the sort of 'stub stations' I mentioned: the station is at the end of the 'stub' of the wye, incidentally permitting east departure to either direction as well as keeping the smoke and steam at the far end of the platforms...

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Sunday, July 25, 2021 10:17 AM

St. Louis Union Station was probably the largest with such an arrangement.  I believe that Denver has the same arrangement.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, July 25, 2021 1:46 PM

Denver has a single ended arrangement now.  Even before the tracks to the south were removed, many trains that passed through Denver just used the north end, including the California Zephyr.

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Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, July 25, 2021 9:07 PM

This is an interesting read:

https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR2000/RR2009/RAND_RR2009.pdf

§ Fort Benning on page 16.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 6:30 AM

Thanks!!!

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