ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala --Construction continues in Anniston Army Depot’s Nichols Industrial Complex to finalize the relocation of the Defense Generator and Rail Center.
ANAD assumed control of the DGRC mission in 2000 as a result of the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure process, with the facilities housed at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. In 2017, the Army announced the relocation of DGRC and chose ANAD as the new site.
Construction of the new site at ANAD began March 2020 and is slated to be completed in the spring of 2022.
“Today we’re fifty percent complete with construction,” said Tim Smith-Lindsey, DGRC project manager and depot engineer. “The project was awarded March 11, 2020 and we’re due to be done with construction March 11, 2022.”
According to Smith-Lindsey, the construction project involves renovations to three existing buildings, which will be converted into a 33,000 square foot storage parts warehouse, a 22,000 square foot component rebuild shop with two rail lines and an additional 10,000 square foot component rebuild shop. A new facility is also being constructed which will serve as a multi-purpose space equipped with a wash rack as well as paint and blast booths.
DGRC’s mission is to overhaul, repair and maintain rail stock, rail equipment and non-tactical generator equipment for the Department of Defense, the only facility of its kind in the DOD.
Once construction is completed, a team of 22 personnel will be on-site at ANAD. The new facilities at ANAD are expected to overhaul six locomotives annually.
According to Lavon Stephens, chief of the Vehicle Gun/Generator & Rail Division, there are two primary skill sets needed to overhaul and repair locomotives. “The skillsets we primarily dispatch are electricians and heavy mobile equipment repairers,” he said.
While construction is ongoing, those who work to repair and overhaul locomotives for the DOD have not stopped fulfilling the mission.
Currently, the DOD has a fleet of 151 locomotives housed at 29 different locations. And those in the Vehicle Gun/Generator & Rail Division are responsible for maintaining the fleet.
“We have three types of funding streams,” said Stephens. “This includes sustainment, emergency calls and overhauling.”
In order to ensure the fleet is in full working order, sustainment measures are completed, including multiple inspections each year to make certain locomotives are fully mission capable. During these inspections, employees check for parts that need repair, order any necessary replacement parts and ultimately make those repairs.
Additionally, if a locomotive requires emergency maintenance, Stephens’ crew is responsible for that work.
“We do emergency calls at any of our 29 locations,” Stephens said. “If a locomotive is down, we send staff out in groups of two, including an electrician and a mechanic, and we repair them.”
Employees also work to overhaul locomotives, which Stephens emphasized requires a few special skills to accomplish.
“These locomotives are 50 plus years old, so each one has their own subtle difference that makes things a little complex sometimes,” he said. “Repairs require skills in reading diagrams and schematics as well as troubleshooting with small groups of people.”
Of the fleet, three locomotives are currently housed at ANAD, which will be a part of the first overhaul work done onsite once construction is completed.
“Once things are up and running here, we have one locomotive that is slated to start immediately,” he said.