Fort Drum breaks ground for new railhead project

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 5:01 PM EDT
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FORT DRUM, New York (WWNY) - A $31 million project is underway on Fort Drum to help one of the Army’s busiest divisions deploy more soldiers more rapidly.

“When the nation calls, the 10th Mountain Division has to be ready, and this installation has to be ready to deploy them to meet that call,” said Eric Wagenaar, deputy to the garrison commander, Fort Drum.

Fort Drum took the first steps to answer that call Friday morning. Army officials, soldiers, and engineers were on hand for the ground-breaking of a $31 million state-of-the-art railhead construction project.

“As I often say, readiness is about what we have, not about what we don’t have. We made the best use out of what we have. But we have not had what we needed to be maximally effective,” said Major General Milford Beagle Jr., 10th Mountain Division commander.

“In future combat conflicts, the Army is going to expect us to take an infantry brigade combat team from Fort Drum, New York, and put it on this railhead, and have it off, the entire brigade, off this installation in 96 hours,” said Wagenaar.

The project includes the addition of over a mile of new rail lines, five additional loading ramps, and the construction of a 5,000-square-foot operations building.

“This is going to change their experience substantially in that they will have modern equipment. They’ll have safe and efficient locations, especially during harsh weather conditions,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Pride, deputy commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for New York.

Army officials say that this project is vital to the capability of Fort Drum to continue to deploy soldiers in a more efficient manner. The project is one of many that Drum officials believe is necessary for the future of the fort.

“We got to be able to look at 2025, 2030, 2040. This railhead project will allow us to meet those future requirements. You never really know what the next set of equipment is going to be that comes to Fort Drum. The next stationing action that going to come to Fort Drum. To have a state-of-the-art facility that can carry us well into the future to meet the future requirement of the Department of Defenses is exactly what this railhead is going to do for us,” said Wagenaar.

Completion of the project is expected by the end of 2023.

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