Railway Preservation News

WW I Railroaders
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Author:  brettcog2000 [ Thu Nov 17, 2011 2:41 pm ]
Post subject:  WW I Railroaders

I'm not sure if this is a good place to post this, but if you live in New England and would like to learn about the WW I railroaders, there is a new re-enactment group forming to portray the 14th Engineers (narrow gauge). They were the New England railroaders that worked on and ran the 2' gauge trench railroads durring the war on both War Department lines in England and the Combat Railway Operations sectors in France.
The command is working with a railroad in New England now to have a date for a training event in the spring. We don't provide the uniforms, but they can be purchased on line. No, we don't have an engine, the only one that I know of left here in the states is the Davenport (2-6-2T) at Ft. Benning still owned by the Army. If anyone is interested in being part of the unit, please let us know via P.M. or on the thread here. I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have or point you in the direction of someone who can.


Author:  daylight4449 [ Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WW I Railroaders

If I may ask, where will this group be centered, and if so, is the final goal? As another note, I'm aware of two 2ft gauge 2-6-2s based off of the same type of engine at Ft. Bennings that were "built" (I think they used the frames and running gear) for the Byron Railroad. Currently, they are at Railstar in Watertown, NY. Here's some links that may be of help:
http://steamlocomotive.info/vlocomotive ... play=26332
http://steamlocomotive.com/misc/images/ ... 2968-2.jpg
http://steamlocomotive.com/misc/images/ ... 2968-1.jpg

Also, here is information on the location of Railstar

http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/15779132 ... ertown-NY/

Edit: The warehouse north of the marker is the location of the storage facility. I had to do a double-take when I saw a field of nothing. Sorry if that caused some sort of problem.

Author:  Tim Moriarty [ Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WW I Railroaders

In addition to the locomotive on display at Fort Benning, I believe there is one on display at the post museum at Fort Dix, NJ, another post that had a narrow gauge railroad long ago. If you go into Google Earth and locate

6501 Pennsylvania Ave., Fort Dix, NJ 08640

you can spot it and a rail car on panel track next to the museum.

Author:  brettcog2000 [ Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WW I Railroaders

The unit will be based in New England. We are taking people from all over the area, headquarters is in VT. End goal is to survey and operate a 2' gauge system at the great war association site in PA. The whole site is trenched out to look like the western front. A look at you tube will pop up some great footage from the site. Dylan, thanks for the info on the "engines" at railstar. I have heard of these engines before, but have never been able to make contact with anyone....so I'm not so sure if they are actually the army engines or not. If they are, they have been heavily modified from the 1916 design., but I would still consider them....if I could ever find someone who has seen them or knows.... :-)
In terms of the training, we will be running a few training sessions depending in the interest and size of the unit. Right now we have a survey crew put together to go to the spring event at Newville and start looking at the possible routes for the railroad. We are a long long way away from looking for equipment, but I thank you for the leads. We will need to find equipment that is not owned by the army, but in private hands so that we will have a chance of putting it into service on a simulated combat railroad. We do have people in the unit with railroad experience in almost every aspect of railroading, but would love to have more. If you don't have experience, but would like to learn, we'll take that too.

http://www.histomil.com/viewtopic.php?f=92&t=5865 this is mostly french equipment, but still kind of cool.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxbVYUxkiUc American units on the western front

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BTtncKn ... 8g&index=4 Training on the equipment circa WWII on the post railroad at Ft Benning.

Author:  p51 [ Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WW I Railroaders

Brett (is this Brett Werner?),
I used to do WW1 back in the day, even did a couple battles in the previous location before the GWA was moved out of there. The photo below of me was from 98, all in original stuff except the boots. I did doughboy back then, sure wish I lived on the east coast, because I'd surely get involved, but I'm 3000+ miles west of you...
I've been collecting stuff from the US Army RR units for years, but mostly WW2

Author:  brettcog2000 [ Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WW I Railroaders

No, it's not Werner, it's Goertemoeller. I did WWII as well for a while, but not as a railroader. I have a friend who collects it as well. I have a lot of models, and am building a 7.25" gauge live steam S160. Sorry you're so far away, but if you ever find your way east, let us know. And if you know anyone out this way who would like to do this, let them know that we're willing to talk to anyone about it.

Author:  tomgears [ Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: WW I Railroaders

This is a really interesting idea. Please keep us posted.

Author:  brettcog2000 [ Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: WW I Railroaders

You are close to the site in Newville, even though you are a good distance away from Vermont, you are more than welcome to join the unit if you would like. I will keep everyone abreast of what we are doing, but the best way would be to get on our e-mail list and become involved. I recieved a message from someone on the list who said that they would love to be involved with it, but didn't live on the east coast. No problem. Join up and keep an eye out for rail, equipment, manuals and such. This is for any of us who would like to learn about a side of railroading that doesn't get talked about too much. (having a healthy interest in the military side of things might also help.... :-) )

Just to clarify, we are going to be set up just like any other reenacting unit, so there will be a schedual out early in the year for that "season" I don't know how many events we will be doing, but I would bet on the two events at Newville and maybe a training event or two at some sponsoring railroads. So for example, if you are Tom and join, you would be able to plan well in advance and just meet us at the event. Attached are our recruiting posters if anyone would like to put them up.

Thanks for all the interest

14th Engineers (Narrow Gauge)

Recruting poster.pptx [117.1 KiB]
Downloaded 191 times

Author:  daylight4449 [ Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: WW I Railroaders

I found this site with info on some of the trench railways, including the WDLR.

Author:  brettcog2000 [ Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: WW I Railroaders

Thanks Dylan,
I have a copy of the Military railway manual dated 1917 that we can work from. I'm not sure out of the records and diaries that I'm going through at the moment wheather or not the 14th used the British rules or not. The Army used the Standard Code of Rules, which is based on time table operations. If I can find some referance to them using Brittish Standard as well, that would be a big help....but as you can imagine finding anything from the Railway Battalions is hard as it is, let alone looking for things from just the 14th.

14th Engineers (Narrow Gauge)

Author:  brettcog2000 [ Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: WW I Railroaders

We are pleased to formally welcome our first recruit from the forum, and would like to say thank you to Dave Lathrop for joining the 14th Engineers (Narrow Gauge) A.E.F. Dave is from North Carolina and will be assisting us in resurch and looking for equipment. I hope that he is the first of many new Army Railroaders in the 14th. Thanks Dave!


Author:  Dave [ Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WW I Railroaders

I've just been advised of the availability of 4 - 2 foot gage 2-6-2+2-6-2 Garrats in South Africa. Might be the basis for recreating 2 trench engines from a single Garrat? leave the junk boiler and bunker behind...


Author:  brettcog2000 [ Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WW I Railroaders

I gues it could be, there would be quite a lot of expense in it though. The frames would have to be cut apart and extended, also moved to the "inside" as all the Garrats I have seen are outside frame. Between the purchase and importation of the locomotive, I would guess that for it to be worth while, they would almost have to be giving them away. That's just my initial thoughs though. Having a working Garrat in the states might be cool too, although not much of anywhere to run it.

Author:  KevinO [ Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WW I Railroaders


I am a GWA member with the 109th AEF. I applaud your efforts to make the trench railway a reality. I do wonder, however, about the best approach to bring the railway system to Newville. While others suggestions about the railstar 2-6-2s or cutting up a scrap garrat for parts are good options I think the quickest solution might be to think outside of the box. We all know that the original American/British made equipment is all but impossible to find on this side of the pond. What about something like the Chinese 0-8-0 locomotives that are 30" gauge and their corresponding freight cars. While not a match to the AEF/BEF railway equipment the 0-8-0 could be cosmetically modified to resemble one of the German trench tank locomotives. I believe there was some evidence of their use by the French after capture. By utilizing these "off the shelf" components, the railway system could be made functional in far less time and without a wild goose chase for nonexistent originals. I wish you the best of luck with this project. I hope I can be of some assistance when it comes time to start laying rail at Newville.

Kevin O

Author:  brettcog2000 [ Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WW I Railroaders

Good to see you on here. We have been chatting about that very idea on the GWA yahoo group a little bit. The issue comes down to the authenticity thing, but you are very right. I can get Axis equipment for a dime a dozzen here in the states but no AEF/BEF stuff, or at lest it has seemed to remain in hiding quite well. I will say that I am still very open to any ideas that come out, and of course everything will have to go through the G-8. (for thoes not fermiliar with this the G-8 is the board of directors of the Great War Association). I do know of 3 Imperial German Army 0-8-0 design locomotives that are around and may or may not be aquireable for that side of the line. As cool as it is to be discussing that whole side of things at the moment, we are still trying to get the unit together. Would you like to join up and help us out? Since you already have the gear it shouldn't be hard to do two impressions.
Before we delve into equipment, we still need to finnish the surveys from the parking area into the combat areas, and figure out how to get around both sides of the lines and such. I'm planning on starting the survey with the unit at the spring event in April, as that should give us enough time to finish standing up the initial group of people. As long as we don't get pounded too hard by the Hun, we should be able to get the drawings all done during the spring event. You're idea about the 0-8-0 does work well though, and I do know for a fact that the 14th used some of the captured IGA gas mechanicals. A small 2' davenport diesel or alike could be made to look like a Fieldbahn turtle without too much issue. If you check out the youtube video I posted, you will see that the rolling stock is not too big of a deal as there wasn't really any passenger stuff. Mostly flat cars and pinoget equipment. Shoot me your info and I'll put you on the e-mail list for the 14th so that you can stay up to date with the rulebook and everything. For the time being we'll use the Army Standard Code of 1917 with some modifications for safety.
Thanks for the input!


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