$7.5 million railhead expansion completed at Fort Benning

benw@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 6, 2014 

April Simons, project engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers at Fort Benning, pounds in a ceremonial golden spike to symbolize the completion of the Ochillee Railhead Expansion Project on Harmony Church Thursday. The $7.5 million project included four miles of track, a switching system, ballast and cross ties alongside the Norfolk Southern right of way. The added rail storage increased the railhead's railcar capacity from 65 cars to 131 cars. The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team uses the cars to transport heavy equipment, such as M1A1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles. The project began in September 2012, with about 38,000 manhours without an accident, according to Simons. 02.06.14

ROBIN TRIMARCHI — rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com Buy Photo

A 3.9 mile expansion of the Ochillee Railhead makes it easier for M1A1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and other equipment to move into and out of the railyard at Fort Benning.

The $7.5 million expansion was completed Thursday with a “Golden Spike” placed into the railhead during a 11:30 a.m. ceremony in Harmony Church.

The expanded railhead will primarily serve the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, at the post to make moving equipment easier, said Alan Bugg, area engineer for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“The existing railhead was a little bit too small to sufficiently handle all the vehicles that had to be loaded on railcars everytime the 3rd Brigade mobilized,” Bugg said.

Before the expansion started in 2012, the railhead could store up to 65 railcars before waiting for a train to move them. “They would have to wait on a train to move it,” Bugg said. “It just delays the overall work.”

The expansion allows the brigade to double its capacity, moving up to 131 railcars into the yard before they have to be moved.

“It just speeds up the movement of the 3rd Brigade,” Bugg said.

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