Re: Aberdeen Proving Ground



I have visited both Aberdeen (APG) and Fort Eustis in the past month, and saw a big rail gun at Fort Lee last summer (visible on Google Earth). Checking the Fort Lee web site, it appears the new Ordnance museum has not yet been built, but a small portion of the small arms collection is on display at the Quartermaster's museum on Fort Lee. According to Wikipedia, nearly all of the collection at APG has been moved to Fort Lee, even though the equipment lacks a home.

In the past ten years of BRAC moves, Aberdeen has become the home for a lot of electronics and command and control organizations - so it is pretty much locked down, even though the testing organization's "proving ground" still operate there.

Fort Eustis is home to the Army's Training and doctrine command. It includes a fair amount of railroad trackage and they still train troops there in railroad operations - the week I was on post a GP-n and a bunch of old boxcars (post STMFC era) were being run around post for training.

Fort Eustis is also the home of the Army Transportation Museum.

I scouted Fort Eustis a little in my free time, and the visited the museum. There are a few railroad cars at the museum that are STMFC era cars, but all of the other freight rolling stock on post appear to be post STMFC era. There are 2 or 3 LW passenger cars in one of the rail yards there - in terrible condition - they may be hospital cars purchased towards the end of WWII - I was not able to get close enough to photograph them.

In the transportation museum, which covers rail, vehicle, and army air transport, they do have a few freight cars relevant to this group.  They are under cover and in decent shape, with display stands describing the equipment. There are also two non-operational steam locomotives, and a WWII Alco diesel.

Railroad equipment relevant to this list's era includes:

Tank Car - GATC - built 1949 - 10,000 gallon - DODX - number not legible - single compartment

40 ton flat car - ACF - built "1940's" - truss rods.

40 ton flat car - Pressed Steel corp - built 1950 - truss rods! USA 460664 - for overseas service.

Brown Hoist 75 ton crane - 1952

Jordon spreader - 1953

Baldwin 2-8-0 built 1945 - originally # 5187, renumbered to 607 in 1952.

Narrow gauge 0-6-0T steam locomotive built 1946 - # V1823. Built by Vulcan???

Diesel locomotive RS-1 - #8011 built 1942 with 6 wheel trucks. ALCO #69427 (Spec E-1641).  Saw service in Iran, and later in Alaska with ADOT.

Diesel locomotive MRS-1 - #1811 - 1952 EMD product - six axle, low profile for overseas operations

Inside the museum there are interesting displays on WWII railway operations overseas. The use of Jeep's fitted with wheel hubs from 2.5 ton trucks to function as flanged wheels to pull rail cars in some theaters is pretty interesting - the original "Jeep" train. The display reports trains as heavy as 250 tons being pulled by Jeeps.  A lot of ingenuity during WWII just trying to move the freight (and using elephants to shift freight cars in rail yards in India and Burma...)

If you are interested in all forms of transportation, the early helicopter collection at Fort Eustis is also interesting, along with the trucks of various eras.

Both Fort Lee and For Eustis have visitor processing facilities at the main gate. You can visit their museums by stopping at the visitor facility, showing your driver license (which they will check against some unknown database), your vehicle registration and possibly your automotive insurance card, in order to obtain a one day access pass to the museum.

Dave Evans

---In STMFC@..., <danspachmd@...> wrote :


I have re-visited APG a number of times over the past  almost-50 years, but the former easy entry to the post's public areas has now been shut down completely following 9/11. A truly great tank and armor museum was developed in the years following my posting, of which the great line of tanks and other heavy armor about which Mike reports lining the median of the main entrance road was but a very small part     The array of armor from around the world and from all 20thC wars was mind boggling, and in a particular way was sheer manna from heaven for those enamored by Big Heavy Machinery (You know who you are!).  The huge German railway gun ("Anzio Annie") was a major attraction.


Reportedly, pursuant to the base closure act of 2010, all of this armor has now been moved from APG to new museum facilities in Fort Lee, VA. Recently, I read that Anzio Annie, after arriving at APG on its own wheels after WWII, has now also departed APG, dismantled, on trucks. As a part of the changes at APG required by the same 2010 act, a like-new, i.e. "mint" US Army EMD SW8 came by free NS transport from Aberdeen to the California State RR Museum's Sacramento Southern RR, where it now serves.

By serendipity these days, I am surprisingly often in and about Aberdeen and environs, a truly interesting place for those with railroad interests.  However, APG now is totally off limits, and I an only guess at what it is like these days.  Also, by serendipty, I recently lowered my APG Boat Club burgee for the last time and retired it. 

Denny S. Anspach MD
Okoboji, IA

Join to automatically receive all group messages.