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Minnesota National Guard
Local rails get Guard to mission

Ripley Rails CAMP RIPLEY, Minn - Across the state of Minnesota, more than 4,500 miles of active railroad track is used to move material, equipment and passengers - an extension of a system which started on May 22, 1857

"Burlington Northern - Santa Fe Railway has a rich history supporting our military, reaching back to the Civil War Today BNSF still works closely with the Department of Defense to coordinate movement of large equipment by rail, including to and from Camp Ripley, near Little Falls," said Amy McBeth, a spokesperson for Burlington Northern - Santa Fe

In addition to three classifications of railway systems, the federal government identified a system of railroads for the purpose of moving government equipment to support the defense of the United States

These systems are part of the Strategic Rail Corridor Network (STRACNET) It was put to the test during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm with the mobilization of military units from across the country The use of the commercial rail network proved significant as a crucial link in transporting military assets to mobilizing sites

As the infrastructure of military installations improves, the full-time use of military railroads has decreased And although troop trains are becoming a thing of the past, the transportation of heavy equipment still remains a high priority for military commanders

"Our seven miles of railway, under the responsibility of the Minnesota National Guard, is here to support the movement of heavy military vehicles and equipment on and off post," said Capt Joachim Eitenmiller, director of public safety on Camp Ripley

The uniquely-designed Minnesota Highway 115 Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River, is the only remaining bridge over the great river where vehicles and trains use the same roadway Built in 1930, and updated most recently in the late 1990s, the combined arrangement of roadway and railroad tracks allows Camp Ripley the flexibility of both methods of movement

Recently commercial railroads assisted the National Guard in the movement of military equipment from Camp Ripley to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif

"The railway was the fastest and most efficient method of moving our equipment to our training site," said 1st Sgt Danny Perseke of the 1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery

July 2, 2015
by Staff Sgt Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs



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