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Transportation training facility receives railcars

Jan 26, 2010

By Rhonda Seward, Fort Lee Public Affairs

FORT LEE, VA (Jan. 21, 2009) -- Some important Transportation Corps assets have arrived at Fort Lee.

Three railcars, equipment that will become part of the Multi-Mode Load Training site currently under construction, made their way to Fort Lee last week. The MMLT is part of the new joint training site where more than 2,000 Department of Defense-affiliated students will participate in rail- and air- load training on an annual basis.

The railcars provide the means for students to "train on loading, unloading and tie-down techniques," said Susan Kennedy, Base Realignment and Closure transportation coordinator. "They will also learn how to load equipment onto the railcars just as they would if the unit was deploying." Now that the railcars are in place, railroad contractors can begin laying cement and building the concrete ramps on both ends of the tracks.

They will also rebuild the wooded decks on two of the railcars and upgrade the three cars to current tie-down standards, said Ron Walkup, BRAC project manger, Joint Transportation School. Col. Tod Mellman, chief, Transportation School BRAC Office, said that he is expecting the MMLT site project to be completed by mid-summer.

He predicts that it should be up and ready for student training by the end of the year. Use of the railcars will reap considerable savings, because it will transform the current time-consuming and costly training method into one that will be user-friendly.The current training at Fort Eustis involves an engineer pushing the railcars into a ramp using a locomotive, said Mellman.

The new project is costly to install, but will pay off over time because there will be no need for a locomotive or engineer, the Army will save on fuel and training time will be cut in half said, Mellman. Transportation students will have hands-on training in areas of functional planning, deployment operations, procurement, coordination and control of the movement of personnel, personal property and materiel on commercial and military transport via rail, air, land and sea. Once the project is completed, transportation specialists will have access to a full spectrum of transportation capabilities.

The completed site will provide students with new facilities and innovative technologies. The new 508th Transportation Company motor pool will be the center of the operation and will provide storage for forklifts, trucks and other equipment essential in maintaining training. A storage facility operations shed will enable the students to produce load plans and necessary documentation for freight movement.

Renovation of the former noncommissioned officer academy is underway as the new location for the Transportation School, said Mellman. The final touches to facility completion are the placement later this year of a C-17 fuselage and a C-130 aircraft that will aid in air-load training.

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