Author Topic: Fort Benning Georgia 2' gauge Baldwin  (Read 8839 times)

Keith Taylor

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Fort Benning Georgia 2' gauge Baldwin
« on: March 16, 2009, 02:04:57 PM »
I don't know if this has been posted before, or not, however, here is a link to a neat Youtube video of a a U.S. Army Transportation Corps Baldwin 2-6-2. It is at the Fort Benning Georgia 2' gauge line. Some neat "in cab" shots where you can see the Seller's lifting injectors and Detroit lubricators etc.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BTtncKnS9k

Keith

Glenn Christensen

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Re: Fort Benning Georgia 2' gauge Baldwin
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2009, 01:14:47 AM »
Thanks Keith, its nice to see my local two-footer in action!  At least they saved a lokie and a coach for me to visit.


Best Regards,
Glenn


Mike Fox

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Re: Fort Benning Georgia 2' gauge Baldwin
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2019, 11:25:09 AM »
While down for a 25 year reunion, I had to go find the last Ft. Benning 2' gauge locomotive. It had been by the old hospital when I was here 25 years ago, but has since been moved, along with the National Infantry Museum, to a new location to a new location. It is tucked behind the museum, out of sight to the normal visitor, but next to a rebuilt 19early barracks compound.

And, for what it is worth, the museum is an excellent place to visit for history of the Infantry soldier.









Mike
Doing way too much to list...

John Kokas

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Re: Fort Benning Georgia 2' gauge Baldwin
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2019, 12:32:28 PM »
Now that would be the start of an ideal trainset for our WW1 reenactors.
Moxie Bootlegger

Graham Buxton

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Re: Fort Benning Georgia 2' gauge Baldwin
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2019, 02:24:07 PM »
Here is the text of that plaque:
Quote
The students of the US Army's Infantry school stationed here in the early days of Fort Benning had many names for the beloved railway, the "Bull's eye Limited", the "A.E.F. Special", "Old Fuss and Feathers", the "Cinder Siesta", the "Toonerville Trolley" and of course the "Chattahoochee Choo Choo". But the railway operators simply called it the "Dinky Line". Yet to make a correct historical link with its origin, the name should have been the "Fort Benning Light Railway"!

 From 1919 until 1946 the Fort Benning narrow-gauge railway spanned much of the post, serving as a utility and as the primary means of transporting soldiers to and from their training areas. It also carried supplies and assisted in lumbering and gravel operations across the post. The railway grew from two locomotives in 1919 running on a mile of track to an eventual high point in 1923 of 20 locomotives running on 27 miles of track.

 Between the war years the aging 60-centimeter-gauge railway became ever more expensive to maintain and it was inevitable that it would soon be honorably retired. Most probably sentiment and tradition rather than requirement and utility kept the beloved Dinky Line running past the start of World War lI. Yet during the war, the railway carried as many as 2,000 soldier trainees per school day at Fort Benning. By the end of the war the locomotives and rolling stock were considered by many to be too old and obsolete and so in 1946 the word finally came down which said, in essence "Close down that relic of a narrow gauge railroad!" Due to resistance to its demise, the final disposition was not imposed until late in 1947. The locomotives and rolling stock were moved off post onto Central of Georgia tracks to await sale by the War Assets Administration. Before the final sale, some unrecorded hero with a proper sense of railroad history managed to have withdrawn from the sale one locomotive and the infantry blue observation car that had been built in the local shops in 1935. The locomotive was a Davenport 2-6-2T, numbered V-1902 in Transportation Corps designation. Unfortunately the builder plate had been vandalized, and the exact builder and USA numbers are still unresolved. Today that same locomotive and observation car now proudly stand before you, here at the National Infantry Museum, recalling the bygone era of Fort Benning's Light Railway. Over the decades the observation car have been painted and relocated several times as the Infantry museum changed locations.

 The origin of Fort Benning's railway began on the battlefields of World War I, when light narrow-gauge "trench" railways were used  by the armies of Europe to ferry troops and supplies to the front lines from standard-gauge railheads. As theAmerican Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.) arrived in France in 1917, the army quickly realized that it too needed the ability to go "up front" with these light railways. Orders were first placed with European manufacturers for narrow-gauge locomotives and equipment but as the demand increased, U.S. manufacturers were contracted. When World War I ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, these U.S. Government contracts still had to be honored. Many of the locomotives and rolling stock manufactured in the U.S. were never sent overseas and became surplus stock held at port or remained in supply depots. Some of this railroad stock would be offered to U.S. military installations for their transportation needs. Fort Benning's only surviving locomotive was built by the Davenport Locomotive Works of Iowa, one of the U.S. companies contracted to supply narrow-gauge trains for use by the A.E.F. in WWI.

 The establishment of Fort Benning's light railway must be credited to the imagination and zeal of Colonel Sam Robertson, a fabled Texas railroader who had commanded the 22nd Engineers, Light Railway, in France. Dispatched to survey 13 Army posts for railways, he arrived at Camp Benning, his first stop, on April 23, 1919. His prompt report back to Washington recommended, as a first step, a 5.62-mile utility line to serve the target range, haul freight, and to service the sawmill and gravel pit. His hastily drawn plan called for 42 miles to serve future training areas. Robertson then continued his tour to other army posts, but his enthusiasm for the Benning project was strong. He enlisted the help of Major George Lewis, who served in France with the 16th Engineers; Lewis agreed to carry out Robertson's plan at Benning. Per Robertson's request, two Davenport locomotives, 16 flat cars, and three miles of track and equipment were shipped to Fort Benning, arriving on May 27, 1919. By June Major Lewis' men had laid one mile of track and had the sawmill cutting railroad ties. As a result of Robertson's survey and the investigations of others, the Chief of Engineers decided that light railways would be installed at 19 wide-spread army posts, with trackage totaling 340 miles. Washington determined that the plan was too ambitious! In April 1920, it was decided that Camp Benning would become a permanent installation (becoming Fort Benning) and would maintain its railway. All other installation railways were disapproved.

The text is quoted from this page, which also has a "click to enlarge" image of the plaque to see larger versions of the images on the plaque.
https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=114905
« Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 02:27:05 PM by Graham Buxton »
Graham

John Kokas

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Re: Fort Benning Georgia 2' gauge Baldwin
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2019, 02:55:35 PM »
That plaque is in error.  I know for a fact that a 2 foot railway also existed at Ft. Dix, NJ.  Planned and surveyed by the same Texas Col. - a couple of pieces still exist to this day with the rail embedded in concrete around a couple of old supply buildings.  Railway actually did interchange with the PRR  within the supply warehouse area of the base with a main line that ran across the base and out to the range complex with several branch lines to serve the various weapons areas.  From old blueprints that I have personally viewed there was approx. 36 miles of railway to include sidings and service areas.  Most of the railway was abandoned and scrapped by the end of WWII.  A couple of the USATC engines were apparently sold off to a local NJ sandpit but that area is abandoned and records of the equipment has long ago been lost.
Moxie Bootlegger

Bill Sample

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Re: Fort Benning Georgia 2' gauge Baldwin
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2019, 01:22:55 AM »
My Dad went into the army 8 years to the day before I was born, joining on June 17 1942.  As he had experience in the Mass. State Guard before the US entered WW2 he was accepted to attend the Officers Candidate School at Ft. Benning.  I always enjoyed listening to his Army experiences and one included riding on the "Chattahoochee Choo Choo out to the rifle range and return.  He did have a bit of an interest in railroads and that included the 2-footers.  As a child we went to Edaville a couple of times and as an adult I took him to the MNG and WW&F in their early histories. 
At some point in more recent years I was happy to see a bit of the Chattahoochee Choo Choo had been preserved and I was happy to see Mike had found it.