ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Construction is currently proceeding in Anniston Army Depot’s Nichols Industrial Complex to convert existing buildings to the mission of overhauling, repairing and maintaining rail stock, rail equipment and large-scale non-tactical generator equipment for the Department of Defense.
Currently housed in northern Utah, ANAD has overseen the Defense Non-Tactical Generator and Rail Equipment Center’s mission since 2000.
In September 2017, the Army announced the mission would move to Anniston to facilitate Air Force and state plans to use that portion of Hill Air Force Base for development under an Air Force enhanced use lease and public highway use.
According to Tim Smith-Lindsey, the depot engineer coordinating the renovation and construction project, three facilities totaling 92,000 square feet and an additional 64,000 square feet of field storage for new structures will be transformed into the new DGRC site.
“We think this will be adequate space for the mission,” said Smith-Lindsey.
The three buildings are currently used as warehouse and production facilities. Two rail lines and eight work bays will be constructed in one building, to facilitate the mission.
Parts storage and component repair will be housed in the other two buildings.
In an open area currently used as a storage field, an electrical load bank wash rack, blast booth and paint booth will be added to clean and paint the locomotives.
The construction contract was signed Feb. 27, 2020, and it is expected to be complete in the spring of 2022.
According to Smith-Lindsey, however, the DGRC mission will vacate from Hill Air Force Base by Jan. 1, 2021.
“The travel mission required to sustain locomotives in the field, performed by the Locomotive Rebuild Team will still be on-going. The team will continue that mission, repairing and maintaining locomotives at various installations around the country, until we are fully mission-capable,” said Smith-Lindsey, adding the tools and parts needed for the TDY missions will be stored in one of the facilities being repurposed at ANAD.
“We are trying to fast-track the changes to accommodate the TDY mission,” he said.
The construction and relocation of equipment from Utah is projected to cost $24.5 million.
Currently, employees in Utah are completing the last three locomotives to be overhauled there.
Billy Funderburg, supervisor for the locomotive maintenance operation, said the team should complete all operations at the end of fiscal year 2020.
“As locomotives are completed, whatever parts aren’t needed are being moved here,” said Lavon Stephens, division chief for the Vehicle Gun Division.
Funderburg said team members are typically on the road 60-70 percent of the time, repairing and maintaining the DOD locomotive fleet.
ANAD received the DGRC mission as a result of the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure process, assuming control in 2000.
DGRC is designated as the Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence for maintenance and overhaul of non-tactical generators, including locomotives and rail equipment, by the U.S. Army and is the sole Department of Defense facility capable of overhauling locomotives for the DOD.