Memorial Day 2010

IC RAILROADERS form the 715th Engineer Railway Operating Battalion 1942

WATERLOO, IA Daily Courier 1942

IC RAILROADERS form the 715th Engineer Railway Operating Battalion

Announcement was made Monday of the call to service of the 715th Engineer Railway Operating battalion, a part of the Engineer corps of the United States army, to be officered by employees' of the Illinois Central Railroad company. This battalion is to be under the command of Lt. Col. T. P. Crymes, Illinois Central trainmaster at Memphis, Tenn., and will have units staff of officer’s four employees of the Iowa division of the railroad, two of them from Waterloo. '

Ranking as captain will be John R. Wartchow, 1607 West Fourth street, who for the past five years has been track supervisor at Waterloo.His duties in the army will be equivalent to those of a division engineer un a peace-time railroad, having supervision over maintenance of track on an operating division. Mechanical Engineer.Ranking as first lieutenant will be Rollin J. Chinn, 339 Saxon street, who has been erecting shop foreman in the Waterloo shops for the past year. His duties in the railway battalion will be those of mechanical engineer, concerned with the upkeep-of the motive power of the division. 

Other Iowa division men who will receive officers' commissions in the new organization are V. D.Raessler, formerly of Waterloo but now bridge and building foreman for the railroad at Cherokee, who will rank as first lieutenant and have duties similar to those of a peace-time supervisor of the bridges and buildings along the right-of way of the division, and Charles E. Weiler, former member of the Iowa division civil engineering staff at Waterloo but now assistant track supervisor at Freeport. 111., who will be a second lieutenant, with duties equivalent to those of an assistant engineer, having charge of civil engineering work. Also Other Roads. 

The rest of the 20 officers of the new battalion have been appointed from the other divisions of the Illinois Central system. Similar organizations are being sponsored by several. of the larger railroads of the country and are now in training. The 715th Engineer Railway Operating battalion is similar to battalions sponsored by the Illinois Central during and after World War 1, and provides a complete force for the operation and maintenance of a 50 to 100 mile division of military railroad. It will be made up of battalion headquarters, maintenance of way company, maintenance of equipment company, headquarters and service company and transportation company, and when fully recruited will number in the neighborhood of 800 men. 

Qualified men under 45 years of age with previous railroad experience may enlist at the office of the battalion, room 300, Dowve building, Michigan avenue at Twelfth street, Chicago, between the hours of 10 a. m. and 9 p. m. All types of railroad men except clerks.

US Army red caboose

749th Railway Operating Battalion - Edwards

749th Edwards by cunningb

741st Railway Operating Battalion Monrad

741st Monrad by Nancy Cunningham

3rd TMRS Korea Old Korean Bell

3rd TMRS Old Korean Bell by cunningb

763rd Railway Shop Battalion Co. B photo

Paul Wecks' son, Paul sends us this fantastic photo of the 763rd Railway Operating Battalion Co. B marching in Europe around 1944

Solve a mystery : 3rd TMRS Korea "Roving Sally " Crime lab Korea 1954

Pat Garland is researching the "Roving Sally " a specially equipped mobile crime lab boxcar that was used by the MPs in Korea to investigate thefts at railyards.

Here is a clip about it from the 1954 Stars and Stripes

Please email me if you have any informrtion on this

Pat says ... I am researching a boxcar used by CID Agents, attached to the 3rd TMRS during 1953-54. It was called "Roving Sally" and was a crime lab, of sorts. It was made from an old boxcar and was furnished with a photo darkroom, a fingerprint processing area, sleeping facility for seven people and was hauled from place to place to supress thefts from rail yards. I would assume that the car would have been refitted by the shop battalion.

I am hoping to find better quality photos or maybe even shop drawings of the car. The Transportation Museum, at Ft Eustis has never heard of the boxcar??
Any assistance you can provide will be deeply appreciated!

752nd Railway Operating Battalion - Thomas Williams

Thanks to Dave (Thomas's son ) for sharing the great items

Fort Eustis will host a conference ("TC Week") Thursday July 8th through Saturday July 10th

To Veterans and Friends of the Military Railway Service (MRS):

This year, The Chief of Transportation and Fort Eustis will host a conference ("TC Week") from Thursday July 8th through Saturday July 10th. While the specific agenda of MRS and rail related events is still being finalized, this year's TC Week will include several significant MRS related activities. Included in this years nominees for Hall of Fame recognition are the 727th Railway Operating Battalion (ROB) and surviving unit member Allen C. Metzer. The 727th was the first ROB activated during World War II (WWII) and served for nearly three years in five campaigns from North Africa to Germany. Sergent Metzer served in the battalion's Company "B" from activation through its five campaigns receiving a Legion of Merit in recognition of his contributions. The TC Week schedule of events as of April 24, 2010 is shown below.

A major addition to the museum's rail collection thanks to the Smithsonian Institution is U.S. Army Alco RS-1 number 8011. This locomotive will be an important acquisition because it was used by the MRS in the Iranian Theater during WWII. Built for the Atlanta & St. Andrews Bay Railroad in 1941, the unit was acquired by the War Department and rebuilt for MRS service in Iran. It is one of a similar group of Alco built locomotives sent during WWII to operate the land route through Iran for sending military supplies to our Russian ally. For the 26 months (April 1943-June 1945) in which the MRS had complete control of the Iranian State Railway, the railroad handled over 4.1 million long tons of freight, including more than 2.7 million long tons of military freight for the Russians. It also transported more than 186,000 passengers. These included allied troops, war refugees, former prisoners of war, and Muslem pilgrims.

After the war, the unit served on the Alaska Railroad and then with the Department of Transportation (DOT) at Pueblo, CO. From the DOT at Pueblo the unit was donated to the Smithsonian and moved to the Pennsylvania State Railroad Museum at Strasburg, PA. Negotiations are currently underway with Norfolk Southern and CSX for movement to Fort Eustis which is currently scheduled to take place during May. The locomotive currently carries a combined Alaska and DOT paint scheme and will require restoration at Fort Eustis. Provided movement plans can be finalized, this significant MRS artifact will be on display and part of this years TC Week.

MRS battalions of WWII and Korea continue to conduct individual annual reunions. In 2010 at least four units will be meeting to renew old acquaintances and swap stories. Battalions holding reunions in 2010 include:

712th Transportation Railway Operating Battalion (Central Railroad of New Jersey RR - Sponsor)
Crown Plaza Airport
Indianapolis, IN
September 8-11
POC: MR. Robert Shannon
(910) 949-3920

729th Railway Operating Battalion (New Haven RR - Sponsor)
Westin Tampa
Tampa, FL
September 8-11
POC: MR Charles W. Buch
(813) 600-0552

732nd Railway Operation Battalion (Great Northern RY - Sponsor)
Comfort Inn Central
Williamsburg, VA
October 2-6
POC: MS Peppie Rogers
(610) 966-4029

765th Transportation Railway Shop Battalion (Erie RR - Sponsor)
Comfort Inn -Westport
St. Louis, MO
September 22-26
POC: MS Sheryl Schneider
(513) 648-0351

For those of you living in or traveling through the area of one of these reunions, stop by and thank these MRS veterans for their service to our country.

During last year's MRS event at Fort Eustis we were fortunate to have an Army History Detachment and were able to capture a record of the experiences and lessons learned by our veterans. A museum's mission is not just to collect the hardware of previous generations, but also to be a bridge for the knowledge gained in the past to be used as a learning tool for both current and future generations. Additionally, it is through the sharing of these experiences that we gain an appreciation of the true accomplishments of these MRS veterans. While to date this sharing has been largely limited to a military community, we now have the opportunity to reach the larger audience of railroad professionals and enthusiasts

Kalmbach Publishing has extended an invitation to the MRS community to share their military rail experiences in the columns of TRAINS magazine. While feature articles are welcomed, they would be most interested in receiving veteran's remembrances of their MRS service for their "Railroad Reading” in TRAINS. Articles may be as short as 300 words or as long as 1,500 words. Attached is a guide to submitting articles and/or photos to TRAINS. If anyone has specific questions please contact:

MS Angela J. Pusztai-Pasternak
Assistant Editor, TRAINS Magazine
21027 Crossroads Circle/P.O. Box 1612
Waukesha, WI 53187-1612
262-796-8776, ext. 449
fax: 262-798-6468

Have Bailey Bridges that were widely used by the MRS for quick repairs become a casuality of the "Green" movement:

"Axion International Holdings has won a $957,000 contract to replace two bridges on the Fort Eustis rail network. The new bridges will be made from a thermoplastic composite and recycled plastic. The plastic materials should allow the weight limit of the structures to be increased to 118 tonnes, giving greater scope for military equipment to be transported by rail. Parsons Brinckerhoff is managing the project, while Axion International Corp is supplying holdings, I-beams for pilecaps and main girders, cross-ties and curbing. Axion CEO Jim Kerstein explained that the bridges would make use of tons of recycled products that would normally be destined for landfills. This includes household items such as milk jugs, detergent bottles, and car bumpers. The plastic bridges replacements are touted as being faster to build and less expensively than what could have been achieved using wood, steel or concrete."

The TC Museum continues add new exhibits telling the story of Army transportation through various eras. If you have never visited or haven't toured in recent years, your trip will be worth the effort. We expect to finalize the specific MRS schedule of events within the next several weeks. A detailed agendia will be published in the Spring Newsletter and via a supplemental e-mail update. In the meantime, make your plans to join us at Fort Eustis for TC Week to participare in the activities, renew friendships, and be park of sharing and preserving the history of the MRS.

Mark Metz, LTC-TC, USAR-Ret.
(717) 597-2636


Thursday 8 July 1530-1700 ---- Transportation Corps Regimental Association (TCRA) Meeting ---- FE Club

1700-1800 ---- TCRA Social ---- FE Club

Friday 9 July 0700-0815 ---- General Officer Breakfast ---- Location TBA

0830-1030 ---- Warrior Recognition Ceremony (Induct DMOR's' Recognize Regtimental Off/WO/NCO/Civ of the year: Farewell outgoing COL, SGM and Civilian of the Regiment; Induct new Honorary COL, SGM and Civilian of the Regiment: and Casing of the Regimental Colors. ---- Seay Plaza.

1130-1330 ---- Hall of Fame Luncheon and Induction Ceremony ---- FE Club

1400- 1700 ---- TC Museum tours and MRS programs

1800-2100 ---- Regimental Picnic ---- FE Club

Saturday 10 July 0700-UTC ---- Regimental Golf Scramble --- Pines Golf Course


Thanks to Ed for sending this !

Amtrak tells the story of trains in America on May 8, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amtrak will host the third annual National Train Day on May 8, 2010, with events across the country to celebrate America‘s love for trains. National Train Day commemorates the 141st anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad‘s inception by bringing to life the rich narrative of how trains transformed America. Large-scale, family-friendly events will be held in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles.
―National Train Day celebrates the train‘s impact on our country and provides an opportunity for Americans to further understand the influence rail has on the future of transportation in America,‖ said Emmett H. Fremaux, vice president, marketing and product management, Amtrak. ―With a greater national focus on energy efficiency in travel, trains are already a leading alternative with 20 percent more fuel efficiency than commercial airlines and 28 percent more efficiency than car travel per passenger mile.
―Trains have always been an important part of this country‘s fabric and with the spotlight on green and increasing options for intercity and high-speed rail growth, it‘s clear that they will continue to drive innovation in transportation.‖
On May 8, Amtrak will host free events, from 11:00am – 4:00pm, in four of its gateway stations across the U.S.: Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles. In addition, local communities across the country are encouraged to develop and host their own National Train Day celebrations. More than 140 local celebrations took place in 2009 and Amtrak expects even more in 2010.
National Train Day Exhibits and Festivities
As part of National Train Day, each major market event will feature live entertainment, interactive and educational exhibits, kid‘s entertainment, food demonstrations, model train

January 20, 2010
Contact: Tracy Connell
Stephanie Aenchbacher
– more–
displays, and tours of notable private railroad cars, Amtrak equipment, freight, and commuter trains. Train enthusiasts attending National Train Day events will enjoy the following exhibits: Trains Move our Economy Exhibit: Discover how upgrades to Amtrak‘s infrastructure and expansion of intercity and high-speed corridors will create jobs and establish a greener, world-class rail transportation system. Go-Green Express: Eco Exhibit: Learn about how Amtrak is providing greener options for travel, including energy efficient locomotives, reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and alternative fuel trials. National Park Service Trails & Rails Exhibit: National Park Service, Trails & Rails, Volunteers and Rangers will be stationed throughout the event to meet with the public and highlight how trains have historically impacted the National Park Service and explain its current partnership with Amtrak. Culinary Exhibit: Explore the history of dining on trains, view live-cooking demonstrations from Amtrak chefs and sample meals offered in Amtrak‘s dining cars. Train Equipment Displays: At the newly expanded train displays, get up close and personal with Amtrak equipment to experience first-hand the modern amenities and accommodations offered by passenger rail. Then get an inside peek at how passengers traveled in generations past by touring a variety of historic train cars and privately-owned luxury coaches. Model Train Displays: Delight in the craft of model train displays and take a closer look at these miniature masterpieces. Amtrak Brand Display – Enjoy the Journey: Learn more about Amtrak‘s range of connectivity, routes, train technology, amenities and onboard offerings. AmtraKids Depot: Enjoy magicians, face painters, arts and crafts, interactive games and giveaways at the AmtraKids Depot. Snapshot Station: Snap a photo in front of custom train-themed backdrops for a fun National Train Day keepsake.
Most major market events will also feature experiential exhibits that narrate each region‘s rich history with trains. These exhibits include: History of Baseball‘s Travel on Trains (Philadelphia)
o In the early days of America‘s favorite pastime, trains helped baseball teams travel across the country to meet their rivals on the diamond. On National Train Day, Philadelphia‘s 30th Street Station will feature an exhibit showcasing memorabilia, photos, video and audio depicting the memories of former players from a variety of leagues. A prominent sports personality will host a panel discussion with former players. Photos from the recent ‗Amtrak Series‘ will also be displayed.
The Blues Journey and Connection to the Railroad (Chicago)
o Train travel played an important role in the emergence of blues as a major American art form and the development and migration of the sound from the Mississippi Delta north. On National Train Day at Chicago‘s Union Station, Big Bill and Larry ―Mud‖ Morganfield, the sons of celebrated blues musician Muddy
Waters, will be joined by legendary Mississippi Delta blues musician Bobby Rush to perform train-themed blues songs. This will be the last stop in a five-state tour aboard Amtrak, originating in Muddy Waters‘ birthplace in Mississippi. The Chicago Blues Museum will also display a special blues exhibit at the station with a brief historical presentation by the museum‘s curator, Gregg Parker.
Railroad Bracero Exhibit (Los Angeles)
o During World War II, thousands of Mexicans came to the U.S. to work legally under the ―Railroad Braceros‖ program to build and maintain our nation‘s passenger railroad system. At National Train Day in Los Angeles‘ Union Station, an exhibit will honor the Hispanic contributions to the national railroad. Steve Velasquez, associate curator, National Museum of American History, will present on the braceros and their role in railroad history.
For more information about National Train Day and about the opportunity to host a National Train Day event in your city, visit
About Amtrak
As the nation‘s intercity passenger rail operator, Amtrak connects America in safer, greener and healthier ways. Last fiscal year (FY 2009), the railroad carried 27.2 million passengers, making it the second-best year in the company‘s history. With 21,000 route miles in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces, Amtrak operates more than 300 trains each day—at speeds up to 150 mph—to more than 500 destinations. Amtrak also is the operator of choice for state-supported corridor services in 15 states and for four commuter rail agencies. Visit or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information.