a. Railroad Operations and the Navy Mission. The use of steel rails and wheels as a
method of transporting commodities is almost as old as the U.S. Navy itself. Although the
designs and materials that make up a railroad system have evolved and been refined over the
years, the concept and advantages of rail transportation remain unchanged. It is often the most
efficient way to move large volumes of materials and lends itself to transporting bulky or heavy
The Navy's need to maintain internal material movement capability and to sustain increased levels
over potentially long periods is often best filled by rail-based operations. In addition, many
ongoing operations in production, loading, unloading, building and repair rely heavily on various
rail-based systems for transportation needs.
It should be note that much of the Navy's equipment is over 40 years old. Navy rail rolling stock
that does not currently meet FRA standards will be programmed and budgeted for upgrade as
soon as practical, considering existing Navy funding and scheduling priorities.
b. Navy Rail Operations. The installations with internal railway operations include a
wide range of physical plants and operating requirements. Naval activities that utilize rail can be
divided into three basic categories.
(1) Ordnance related: Weapons Stations, Weapons Support Centers, and Ordnance
(2) Operation Support: Shipyards, Submarine Bases, and Air Stations.
(3) Others: Construction Battalion Centers, Supply Centers, and Public Works
The Naval Weapons Stations are the largest users of rail with over 70% of the Navy's railroad
mileage. The movement of ordnance and related functions of a rail network on a Naval Weapons
Station is similar to that of a short line commercial operation complete with mainlines and
classification yards. However, there are also many unique aspects such as piers, bunkers, and
barricades that put special demands on the conduct of a safe operation.
Naval Shipyards also represent a significant portion of Navy rail with approximately 10% of the
Navy's railroad mileage. Shipyards are similar to commercial industry rail facilities, with track
going in and around buildings, shared right-of-ways with roads, many depressed switches in the
roads, and many close clearances and tight curves, both vertical and horizontal. However, there
are also many unique features to shipyards, including the transport of a variety of hazardous
commodities, ranging from radioactive water to various petroleum products, shared rails with
cranes, and the need for coupler extensions on some extremely tight curves. The wide variety of