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770th ROB WPYR goes khaki Thunderbird Vol1 no1 2013

770th ROB WPYR goes khaki Thunderbird Vol1 no1 2013

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Published by: Nancy on Aug 28, 2013
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WP&YR goes Khaki
770th R.O.B. PAGE by Boerries Burkhardt and Mike Peltier
The history of the United States MilitaryRailway Service goes back to January 31,1862 when Congress gave PresidentLincoln authority to place the country'stelegraph lines and railroads under militarycontrol when he judged the public safetyrequired it. On February 11, 1862, D.C.McCallum, the General Superintendent of the Erie Railroad was appointed BrigadierGeneral, Military Director andSuperintendent of Railroads in the UnitedStates, by Secretary of War, Edwin M.Stanton. This included the authority to"take possession of, hold and use allRailroads, engines, cars, locomotives,
equipment’s, appendages and
appurtenances, that may be required forthe transport of troops, arms, ammunitionand military supplies of the United States."After the War Between the States, byExecutive Order on August 8, 1865, theMilitary Railway Service ceased its controlover any Railroads in the United States.After the Spanish-American war, between1899 and 1917 was a very peaceful timefor the Military Railway Service, howeverpeaceful times came to halt in May 1917when the M.R.S. was mobilized to supportthe Allied Forces in the First World War(1914-1918). The M.R.S. force comprisednine regiments: 5 constructions, 3operating and a shop regiment.Regiments were commanded by a Colonel
of the Corps of Engineers, and theExecutive Officers were experienced andpractical railroad men in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Fifty-one M.R.S. unitswith 69,000 men served overseas duringWWI.Drawing from the experience in WWI, theM.R.S. was reorganized from regiments tobattalions based on the organization of American railroads where a DivisionSuperintendent is in charge of alldepartments: track and bridges,locomotives and cars, and the operation of trains. Thus the basic unit for the M.R.S.was a battalion of four companies: "A"Company was 2 platoons of trackmen and1 platoon of bridge carpenters; "B"Company was a 2 platoon roundhouse
force and a „rip track" platoon for the
repair of cars; the largest was "C"Company, the operating companyconsisting of train crews. A fourthCompany the Headquarters and ServiceCompany provided dispatchers, operators,and telephone line repairmen, plus men formessing, housing and supply operations.American railroad divisions are groupedinto districts headed by a GeneralSuperintendent, and districts are groupedinto regions under the jurisdiction of aGeneral Manager. General Managersreport to the Vice-President in Charge of Operations. Thus the M.R.S. was organizedwith Railway Grand Divisions underSuperintendents, reporting to a Managerin command of four M.R.S. departments:Maintenance of Way and Structures,Maintenance of Equipment, Operation, andStores. In February 1939 Colonel Carl R.Gray Jr. was transferred from command of the 326 Combat Engineers 101 Divisionand assigned to duty as the Manager,Military Railway Service, with the rank of Brigadier General. General Gray served inthat capacity with full authority to effecttransfers and distribution of men andmaterial throughout WW2. He waspromoted to Major General and becamethe Director General, supreme commanderof the Military Railway Service in 1945.This article is drawn from General CarlGray's book Railroading in EighteenCountries, The Story of American RailroadMen Serving in the Military Railway Service1862 to 1953. Charles Scribner's Sons,New York, 1955 and individual interviews.Story continues with the lease of the WP&Yto the United States Military.
- 770th R.O.B. PAGE -
FEBRUARY 5, 1943
Rotary plow with engines 81 and 62 incharge of the writer, were held atCarcross from 10:30 AM, February 5thuntil 12:15 PM, February 6th, awaitingimprovement in storm conditions, atwhich time it was decided that weatherwas such as to make possible theefficient operation of the rotary.All other traffic was held at terminalsuntil line could be cleared by rotary.
FEBRUARY 6, 1943
Southbound Rotary: Rotary fleet withengines 81 and 62, while passing overnorth Fraser Loop switch, derailed leadengine trucks and all drivers of engine62 due to wide gauge of track at frog.Moderate wind from the north withtemperature 30 degrees below zero.Northbound Rotary: At 2:11 PM Rotaryextra 66-69 left the shops and plowedup as far as Mile Post 16.5. On accountof heavy snow and very high winds stillblowing on the hill, they were unable toget through and returned to Glacierwhere they tied up for the night.
FEBRUARY 7, 1943
Storm conditions increased. Very strongwinds from the north with temperature30 degrees below zero. Unable to rerailengine 62 at Fraser Loop switch due tosevere weather conditions. Engines ranlow on water and it was necessary to
- 770th R.O.B. PAGE -
"snow-up". An attempt was made toreturn rotary fleet engines 66-69 fromGlacier to Shops but was unsuccessfuldue to bad snow drifts near Mile Post11. Engine 256 was dispatched fromShops at 12:17 PM to plow out line toGlacier and enable Rotary to return toshops. Rotary and Engine 256 arrivedat Shops at 3:10 PM.
To be continued….
WP&YR Weekly Report (1943) Hq.770th R.O. Detachmend

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