RS-1 Locomotive dedication Fort Eustis

The historic Army RS-1 locomotive which the Smithsonian donated to the Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis, VA was dedicated there on July 25, 2012.

Attached are two photos of the locomotive at the dedication of the new rail pavilion at the Museum and a picture when it was loaded at Strasburg, PA in December 2010.

Army Transportation Museum opens new railyard pavilion 
by Senior Airman Jason J. Brown
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

7/26/2012 - FORT EUSTIS, Va.  -- The U.S. Army Transportation Museum celebrated the 70th birthday of the Transportation Corps by unveiling its new railyard pavilion at Fort Eustis July 24. The ceremony ushered in the beginning of a wave of improvements to the museum.

The pavilion encompasses 45,000 square feet, providing permanent shelter for the museum's railroad and other macro-artifacts, protecting them from the elements and providing a more accessible museum experience for patrons.

According to David Hanselman, the museum director, the project took approximately 18 months to finish, at a cost of $517,000. The U.S. Army Transportation Museum Foundation raised the funds for the construction.

"About every five years, any work we've done to protect the artifacts is nullified by the Virginia weather we battle here. Step one was to get a roof, and step two is to enclose it in a building, complete with a concrete floor and climate control," Hanselman explained.

Ultimately, the foundation plans to add a 1940s-era rail station mock-up inside the pavilion, allowing visitors to tour the interior of the train cars and locomotives from station platforms.

"We want to fully immerse our visitors in the Army railway experience," Hanselman said. "The roof is just the first step in achieving that goal."

The specially-designed roof does not use load-bearing center beams, instead relying on 11-by-11-foot concrete footers underground around the perimeter of the pavilion to support the roof, which Hanselman said is "about the size of a football field." The roof is designed to withstand hurricane conditions, a perennial threat in the Hampton Roads region.

This roof allows the foundation to focus on raising funds to complete the railway pavilion enclosure, and move on to a similar project to enclose their 25 aircraft artifacts in a pavilion on the opposite side of the museum grounds.

Retired Army Col. James Rockey, the foundation president, unveiled the pavilion before a crowd of Transportation Corps alumni, railroad industry representatives and excited guests.

"It's so very important to preserve these relics of our history, and we're excited and honored to have been able to do that, and look forward to making our museum even better," Rockey said.

Brig. Gen. Stephen Farmen, U.S. Army Chief of Transportation, traveled from nearby Fort Lee, Va., to attend the ceremonies, and observe the foundation's accomplishment.

"I've been watching this from its infancy, and if you saw this even just two months ago, you would be amazed at the amount of work that's gone on to bring it to the level that it's at today," said Farmen, as the audience applauded in approval.

"Here we are on our 70th birthday, and to have this dedication take place, we couldn't be more thrilled," the general continued.

Hanselman and Rockey said the foundation estimates the entire project will cost approximately $5 million, and will rely on foundation fundraising to continue construction.

The U.S. Army Transportation Museum, which opened in 1959 and relocated to its current located in 1976, boasts an artifact collection of approximately 7,000 objects and roughly 1,000 exhibit props. The collection includes nearly 100 macro-artifacts, ranging from planes, helicopters, tugboats and landing craft to trucks, jeeps, hovercraft and trains.

Some of the unique items in the collection include the only surviving gun truck from the Vietnam War, and the only surviving hovercraft to see combat in Vietnam. The museum also houses a unique collection of experimental aircraft, and the first helicopter to fly at the South Pole.

Editor's note: Want to visit the new railyard pavilion and experience the Army's transportation history? The U.S. Army Transportation Museum is located at 300 Washington Blvd., and is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.