Historic Iowa National Guard railcars preserved at Boone Railroad Museum
1 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Iowa Army National Guard Soldiers and civilian employees with the Camp Dodge Department of Public Works work to secure a historic railcar for transport at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa, on Aug. 3, 2022. Three flatbed railcars, a ramp and a short length of track were installed on Camp Dodge in the 1980s and served as a rail load training site for Soldiers for several years before railway operations became largely obsolete in the Iowa National Guard. Rather than scrapping the railcars, the Camp Dodge Training Center arranged to have them transported to the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum in Boone, Iowa, for historical preservation. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Tawny Kruse) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Tawny Schmit) VIEW ORIGINAL
Historic Iowa National Guard railcars preserved at Boone Railroad Museum
2 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Iowa Army National Guard Soldiers with the Camp Dodge Department of Public Works and Sustainment Training Center work to secure a historic railcar for transport at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa, on Aug. 3, 2022. Three flatbed railcars, a ramp and a short length of track were installed on Camp Dodge in the 1980s and served as a rail load training site for Soldiers for several years before railway operations became largely obsolete in the Iowa National Guard. Rather than scrapping the railcars, the Camp Dodge Training Center arranged to have them transported to the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum in Boone, Iowa, for historical preservation. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Tawny Kruse) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Tawny Schmit) VIEW ORIGINAL
Historic Iowa National Guard railcars preserved at Boone Railroad Museum
3 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Iowa Army National Guard Soldiers and civilian employees with the Camp Dodge Department of Public Works and Sustainment Training Center oversee the transport of historical railcars at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa, on Aug. 3, 2022. Three flatbed railcars, a ramp and a short length of track were installed on Camp Dodge in the 1980s and served as a rail load training site for Soldiers for several years before railway operations became largely obsolete in the Iowa National Guard. Rather than scrapping the railcars, the Camp Dodge Training Center arranged to have them transported to the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum in Boone, Iowa, for historical preservation. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Tawny Kruse) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Tawny Schmit) VIEW ORIGINAL
Historic Iowa National Guard railcars preserved at Boone Railroad Museum
4 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Iowa Army National Guard Soldiers and civilian employees with the Camp Dodge Department of Public Works work to secure a historic railcar for transport at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa, on Aug. 3, 2022. Three flatbed railcars, a ramp and a short length of track were installed on Camp Dodge in the 1980s and served as a rail load training site for Soldiers for several years before railway operations became largely obsolete in the Iowa National Guard. Rather than scrapping the railcars, the Camp Dodge Training Center arranged to have them transported to the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum in Boone, Iowa, for historical preservation. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Tawny Kruse) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Tawny Schmit) VIEW ORIGINAL
Historic Iowa National Guard railcars preserved at Boone Railroad Museum
5 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Iowa Army National Guard Soldiers with the Camp Dodge Department of Public Works and Sustainment Training Center secure a set of historic railcar trucks for transport at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa, on Aug. 3, 2022. Three flatbed railcars, a ramp and a short length of track were installed on Camp Dodge in the 1980s and served as a rail load training site for Soldiers for several years before railway operations became largely obsolete in the Iowa National Guard. The railcars rode on original friction bearing trucks, which are no longer used in modern, roller bearing railways. Rather than scrapping the railcars, the Camp Dodge Training Center arranged to have them transported to the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum in Boone, Iowa, for historical preservation. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Tawny Kruse) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Tawny Schmit) VIEW ORIGINAL
Historic Iowa National Guard railcars preserved at Boone Railroad Museum
6 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A historic railcar is transported for weighing at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa, on Aug. 3, 2022. Three flatbed railcars, a ramp and a short length of track were installed on Camp Dodge in the 1980s and served as a rail load training site for Soldiers for several years before railway operations became largely obsolete in the Iowa National Guard. Rather than scrapping the railcars, the Camp Dodge Training Center arranged to have them transported to the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum in Boone, Iowa, for historical preservation. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Tawny Kruse) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Tawny Schmit) VIEW ORIGINAL
Historic Iowa National Guard railcars preserved at Boone Railroad Museum
7 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Iowa Army National Guard Soldiers with the Camp Dodge Department of Public Works and Sustainment Training Center secure a historic railcar for transport at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa, on Aug. 3, 2022. Three flatbed railcars, a ramp and a short length of track were installed on Camp Dodge in the 1980s and served as a rail load training site for Soldiers for several years before railway operations became largely obsolete in the Iowa National Guard. Each railcar weighed approximately 31,000 pounds and could only be lifted by attaching an additional weight sling on the Kalmar RT 2440V2 rough terrain container handler. Rather than scrapping the railcars, the Camp Dodge Training Center arranged to have them transported to the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum in Boone, Iowa, for historical preservation. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Tawny Kruse) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Tawny Schmit) VIEW ORIGINAL
Historic Iowa National Guard railcars preserved at Boone Railroad Museum
8 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Iowa Army National Guard Soldiers with the Camp Dodge Department of Public Works and Sustainment Training Center secure a set of historic railcar trucks for transport at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa, on Aug. 3, 2022. Three flatbed railcars, a ramp and a short length of track were installed on Camp Dodge in the 1980s and served as a rail load training site for Soldiers for several years before railway operations became largely obsolete in the Iowa National Guard. The railcars rode on original friction bearing trucks, which are no longer used in modern, roller bearing railways. Rather than scrapping the railcars, the Camp Dodge Training Center arranged to have them transported to the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum in Boone, Iowa, for historical preservation. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Tawny Kruse) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Tawny Schmit) VIEW ORIGINAL
Historic Iowa National Guard railcars preserved at Boone Railroad Museum
9 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A historic flatbed railcar once used for training Soldiers at Camp Dodge is unloaded onto tracks in Boone, Iowa, on Aug. 8, 2022. Three railcars were loaded and transported from Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa, through the cooperation of Iowa National Guard Soldiers and the Camp Dodge Department of Public Works. The railcars, a ramp and a short length of track were installed on Camp Dodge in the 1980s and served as a rail load training site for Soldiers for several years before railway operations became largely obsolete in the Iowa National Guard. The railcars rode on original friction bearing trucks, which are no longer used in modern, roller bearing railways. Rather than scrapping the railcars, the Camp Dodge Training Center arranged to have them transported to the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum in Boone, Iowa, for historical preservation. (Courtesy photo by Dana Grefe) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Tawny Schmit) VIEW ORIGINAL
Historic Iowa National Guard railcars preserved at Boone Railroad Museum
10 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A historic flatbed railcar once used for training Soldiers at Camp Dodge is unloaded onto tracks in Boone, Iowa, on Aug. 8, 2022. Three railcars were loaded and transported from Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa, through the cooperation of Iowa National Guard Soldiers and the Camp Dodge Department of Public Works. The railcars, a ramp and a short length of track were installed on Camp Dodge in the 1980s and served as a rail load training site for Soldiers for several years before railway operations became largely obsolete in the Iowa National Guard. The railcars rode on original friction bearing trucks, which are no longer used in modern, roller bearing railways. Rather than scrapping the railcars, the Camp Dodge Training Center arranged to have them transported to the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum in Boone, Iowa, for historical preservation. (Courtesy photo by Dana Grefe) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Tawny Schmit) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOHNSTON, Iowa – In September 1989, Camp Dodge Training Site purchased three flatbed railcars from the Chicago & North Western Transportation Company in Boone, Iowa, and began construction on a rail load training site on post. More than three decades later in August 2022, an intriguing coincidence played out as Iowa National Guard Soldiers and Camp Dodge Department of Public Works employees worked together to transport those same railcars to the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum in Boone for historical preservation.

“We’re very thankful to the Iowa National Guard for transporting these historic flat cars,” said Mike Wendel, director of the museum. “We’re in the process of deciding exactly how we’re going to utilize them, but we’re just thrilled to have them.”

The Chicago & North Western Transportation Company was bought out by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1995. Wendel said this adds to the historical value of preserving the railcars.

For several years, the loading site - which consisted of a short section of track for the railcars with ramps on either end – was used by troops to practice circus-style rail loading, during which a vehicle backs up directly to a ramp to load and unload cargo. The process was tedious and often time consuming, and as railway operations slowly became obsolete in the Iowa National Guard with the introduction of more modern transportation methods, the training site was shut down.

In June 2021, Camp Dodge Training Site decided it was finally time to dispose of the railcars to make room for future projects. Before making a decision on where they would go, they reached out to someone they knew had an appreciation for all things railroads.

Dana Grefe, Iowa chapter officer of the National Railway Historical Society, worked for Camp Dodge for 23 years before becoming a full-time railroad historian and collector.

“The facility was planning to scrap the cars if a suitable home could not be found,” said Grefe. “Fortunately, I had a place in mind for their new home and purpose.”

He contacted the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad and got them on board for the relocation.

By the time Soldiers and DPW workers arrived at the site on Aug. 3 to begin the transport process, the railcars and the trucks they’d been sitting on for years were rusty and overgrown with weeds, but still in good enough condition to be moved. Spatters of rain came and went as the team worked diligently to hook up, lift and secure the railcars and trucks onto a semi flatbed.

Lifting the railcars was a unique opportunity since it required techniques and equipment not often used in daily operations. The team used a Kalmar 2440V2 Rough Terrain Container Handler to lift them. Josh Asher, a RTCH instructor at the Sustainment Training Center on post, said the railcars weighed approximately 31,000 pounds, and the trucks they rested on each weighed about 10,000 pounds. A sling attachment had to be installed on the Kalmar to increase the carrying capacity.

“This was outside my normal job scope and it gave the grounds team an opportunity to work on a project outside of Camp Dodge that will benefit the community,” said Master Sgt. Luke Krier, Camp Dodge DPW chief.

Each railcar was built in the 1940s and 1950s respectively and rode on their original friction bearing trucks, which are no longer used. Wendel said the railcars’ history with the old transportation company in Boone and as vital training tools for the Iowa National Guard will eventually be recorded on the finished display.

“It’s really important for our community because future generations are going to learn and get a sense of what transporting freight was like in the World War II era,” said Wendel.

U.S. Army National Guard story by Staff Sgt. Tawny Kruse