ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. — To ensure continued industrial base munitions readiness across the globe, the Joint Munitions Command Safety Office is leading an initiative to assess the condition and compliance of all rail infrastructure throughout its ammunition enterprise.

The goal is to assist in rail assessment, modernization, training and reduction of all potential safety issues. The JMC Safety office is committed to assessing the condition and compliance of all Army rail facilities in the next two years. Upon completion of inspections, the safety team will provide guidance and recommendations to the eight JMC installations that use rail to provide lethal munitions to the Joint Warfighter.

The JMC Safety Office’s core mission is to “properly manage risk and reduce accidents,” said Mike Styvaert, director, Safety and Risk Management Directorate. “It is our goal with this initiative to reduce Army rail accidents 50 percent by FY2021. “This rail assessment will provide multiple benefits,” added Styvaert. “Safety is always goal number one, but it also gives us an opportunity to obtain the information needed to modernize rail infrastructure.”

Recently, the JMC safety team partnered with the U.S. Army Transportation Rail Safety office from Fort Lee, Va., to perform an assessment of the 17 miles of track at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Radford, Va. The assessment focused on four main areas: mechanical; maintenance of way (track); train and engine service; and rail-loading procedures.

“The overall rail program at RFAAP has immensely improved since the last assessment,” said Howard Mayhew, chief, Transportation Corps Regimental Safety Office. “It has been four years since the previous rail safety survey and Radford is satisfactory in conducting safe operations.”

Letterkenny Munitions Center is currently equipped with a 23 mile freight rail network that is limited by aging infrastructure in need of modernization. LEMC's existing rail lines date back to 1842, when 80 lb. and 90 lb. lines were the industry standard. Critical upgrades to the freight rail system, approved in 2019, are currently being installed. This track upgrade project will remove maintenance requirements associated with the existing lines, reduce overall cost and permit the use of more modern freight by upgrading to 115 lb. rail lines.

LEMC has identified a second project to finish a 4-mile stretch of incomplete track. This section of track, called the South Line, is a critical piece of infrastructure. Upon completion, LEMC will support future workload requirements and increase efficiency by allowing access to facilities currently inaccessible by rail.

Tooele Army Depot has 54 miles of track dating from 1942. Thanks to a dry climate and regular maintenance, the track has served for almost eighty years. However, the majority of this rail is rated at 70 pounds per yard. The current Army standard is 115 pounds per yard. In the early 1990s, Tooele began replacing segments of track that receive the most traffic, a process that has continued as funds become available. To date, approximately 75 per cent of the rail at Tooele has been upgraded to Army standards, allowing for heavier workloads in support of the Army mission.

In addition to assessments, JMC’s rail improvement initiative includes refresher training in rail safety skills to ensure proper Army certification for both government and operating contractor staff. This training is being provided at no cost to the installations.

Safety and rail contractors from various states attended a Rail Safety Operations Class at Blue Grass Army Depot. “The class provided an interactive experience with an introduction of rail rules and regulations with safety being the number one priority,” said Tim Cumberworth, JMC safety specialist. “The class highlighted protection procedures of 50 feet during maintenance operations; rail terminology; and components of rail to include the railcar, the engine and the track itself.”

Instructors also shared first-hand experiences of accident investigations and lessons learned. These efforts increase rail operations safety at BGAD and installations across JMC’s Industrial Base.

As the JMC safety team continues to review rail infrastructure, this effort assists in providing the Joint Warfighter with ready, reliable and lethal munitions at the speed of war.

A U.S. Army train locomotive at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant was recently inspected to ensure equipment is maintained and operates safely during munition off-loading.
1 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A U.S. Army train locomotive at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant was recently inspected to ensure equipment is maintained and operates safely during munition off-loading. (Photo Credit: Radford Army Ammunition Plant) VIEW ORIGINAL
Safety and Rail contractors from various states attended a Rail Safety Operations Class on Blue Grass Army Depot. This training increases safety operations of railways at military installations across the Joint Munitions Command Industrial Base.
2 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Safety and Rail contractors from various states attended a Rail Safety Operations Class on Blue Grass Army Depot. This training increases safety operations of railways at military installations across the Joint Munitions Command Industrial Base. (Photo Credit: Blue Grass Army Depot) VIEW ORIGINAL
Safety and Rail contractors from various states attended a Rail Safety Operations Class on Blue Grass Army Depot. This assessment increases safety operations of railways at military installations across the Joint Munitions Command Industrial Base.
3 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Safety and Rail contractors from various states attended a Rail Safety Operations Class on Blue Grass Army Depot. This assessment increases safety operations of railways at military installations across the Joint Munitions Command Industrial Base. (Photo Credit: Blue Grass Army Depot) VIEW ORIGINAL
LEMC deployed this Railway Track Laying Machine to assist in the upgrade of a portion of their 23 mile freight rail network. This track upgrade will replace functionally obsolete track dating back to 1842, and replace it with a more modern track capable of handling a heavier load.
4 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – LEMC deployed this Railway Track Laying Machine to assist in the upgrade of a portion of their 23 mile freight rail network. This track upgrade will replace functionally obsolete track dating back to 1842, and replace it with a more modern track capable of handling a heavier load. (Photo Credit: Letterkenny Munitions Center) VIEW ORIGINAL
Track workers replacing a portion of the existing LEMC rail line. The 80lb rail pictured here is scheduled to be replaced with a more durable 115lb rail. A more modern freight rail capability will provide LEMC with the ability to safely and efficiently move ammunition on Depot. Investments in this kind of infrastructure are necessary to ensure the timely delivery of munitions for years to come.
5 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Track workers replacing a portion of the existing LEMC rail line. The 80lb rail pictured here is scheduled to be replaced with a more durable 115lb rail. A more modern freight rail capability will provide LEMC with the ability to safely and efficiently move ammunition on Depot. Investments in this kind of infrastructure are necessary to ensure the timely delivery of munitions for years to come. (Photo Credit: Letterkenny Munitions Center) VIEW ORIGINAL
As LEMC continues to identify ways to increase efficiency, safety, and capability of operations in order to deliver munitions to the Warfighter, projects like these are critical to achieving future mission readiness.
6 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – As LEMC continues to identify ways to increase efficiency, safety, and capability of operations in order to deliver munitions to the Warfighter, projects like these are critical to achieving future mission readiness. (Photo Credit: Letterkenny Munitions Center) VIEW ORIGINAL
Tooele Army Depot rail junction.
7 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Tooele Army Depot rail junction. (Photo Credit: Tooele Army Depot) VIEW ORIGINAL
Tooele Army Depot rail line under repair.
8 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Tooele Army Depot rail line under repair. (Photo Credit: Tooele Army Depot ) VIEW ORIGINAL
Tooele Army Depot rail line newly repaired.
9 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Tooele Army Depot rail line newly repaired. (Photo Credit: Tooele Army Depot) VIEW ORIGINAL
Tooele Army Depot rail line under repair.
10 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Tooele Army Depot rail line under repair. (Photo Credit: Tooele Army Depot ) VIEW ORIGINAL
Tooele Army Depot rail lines under repair.
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Tooele Army Depot rail switch under repair.
12 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Tooele Army Depot rail switch under repair. (Photo Credit: Tooele Army Depot) VIEW ORIGINAL
Tooele Army Depot rail line under repair.
13 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Tooele Army Depot rail line under repair. (Photo Credit: Tooele Army Depot) VIEW ORIGINAL