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I’m wondering if it’s possible to set up an accurate point to point military operation on a model railroad.

After having seen quite a few pictures of DODX (Department of Defense Railroad) equipment on Burlington Northern and BNSF, I’ve begun to consider constructing several DODX flatcars loaded with Corgi M48 Patton Tanks (Corgi claims that these tanks are 1:50th scale, but I’ve found that they are closer to 1:60th scale-close enough to ‘S’-scale 1:64th).

HO decals for these flatcars (I intend to adapt them for S-scale)

While looking for pictures of these flatcars, I stumbled across many pictures of US military engines, including 25 tonners and 44 tonners (both engine models are available in S-scale).

On the History Channel show “Mail Call” I remember seeing DODX equipment used to transport outdated and damaged military equipment from bases back to the manufacturer for major repairs and upgrading.

I was wondering if it would be possible to set up an accurate “point to point” operation in which tanks are transported from a base to the private manufacturer for an upgrade and then back to the base.

Unfortunately, I don’t have many pictures of the track work within a military base (where the DODX engine would be stationed) and no pictures of the facilities where the tanks would be transported for upgrading.

Would any of you have pictures of or information on either of these ends of a military railroading operation???

If I can find this information, I’ll begin to speed up my construction of my DODX train, look into building a DODX engine, and begin building two module blocks with either end of the military operation.

Obviously, I only intend to construct the aspects of the base and the maintenance facility that relate to railroading, not the entire facilities.
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Milw Road in SW Wisconsin
The DODX flat cars you are picturing are the 'modern' era cars with M1A1 or M1A2 'Abrams' tanks on them. The M48 'Patten' tank is a 50's era tank, and was produced up through 1959. Upgrades through the 60's(diesel power plant/90 mm gun). There was even a limited upgrade to a 105mm gun in the 1970's. The M48 was phased out of US service in the 1990's(many are 'targets'). Paint jobs should be basic 'Olive Drab'.

What flat car are you thinking about using? The tank weighs about 50 tons, so you may not need those super heavy duty flat cars that carry the almost 70 ton Abrams tank.

Hi Jim,

I’m actually an S-scaler (1:64) and merely hang out on the HO forum because I keep kicking around the idea of joining one of the local HO clubs (you guys run more often) and because there are many more of you (and thus more people to help me when I get stuck while researching a prototype). Don’t worry; I’ve helped plenty of HO guys with their research projects as well while I’ve been on the forum.

***I did mention all this in my original post…so please don’t accuse me of hiding anything***

Because of the lack of available models in S-scale, I’m planning to build the car from scratch, something I’ve done many times before, and decal it with HO decals (you guys always print them too large for HO and only a tiny little bit too small for S…which works out for me).

Since I have the most pictures of the heavier 3 axle DODX flatcars, and these are the only flatcars I’ve seen with a tank load (and because I’d have to make any DODX flatcar from scratch anyway) I had decided to model these cars. Furthermore, I’ve actually had a chance to see one of the prototypes and found that there are actually four sets of painted lines on these cars to illustrate where tiedowns are to be affixed for various models of military vehicles; one being for the M1Abrams, another for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the M113, one for the M60, and one for the M48.

However, if you have pictures of M48’s on lighter flatcars, I’d really like to see them so that I could make some of those cars as well and add to the diversity of the train.

The Corgi M48’s I plan to use are supposed to be 1:50th scale but after taking measurements of the model and comparing them to the prototype, found them to be about 1:60th scale, and thus close enough to 1:64th to “fudge it”.

These tanks would still have been in service in the mid 1970’s, the period I model*, and, better yet, are actually painted in Vietnam era paint schemes. Also, since these are supposed to be damaged tanks which have been brought stateside for major repair, I intend to include RPG, landmine, and fire damage on many of the tanks (I’ve actually read storied of the M48’s being used to clear the-usually underpowered-VC landmines by simply running over them until the tank could run no more-thus saving more valuable tanks).

Thanks to an answer I received on Yahoo Answers, I discovered that the facility I saw on Mail Call was the Anniston Army Depot. While I’ve found several pictures of the railroad operations on this base and even a video, any additional information any of you might have would always be of help.

I would only be modeling the southern tip of the base where the tracks are located.

Furthermore, I have next to no information about the various bases from which the damaged tanks would be shipped (and to which they would return, presumably…) If anyone has any information on those I’d really like to see it.

Thank you again…


*I know it’s the era of Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter, and yes, I’d rather model the mighty Regan era too, but Burlington Northern had some of their most interesting equipment in the mid 1970’s and had scrapped most of the more interesting pieces by the 1980’s.


I was researching information about how the military moved armoured vehicles,by rail, some time ago, and found an online manual by the MILITARY TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT COMMAND.
It shows how,and with what materials, to go about transporting any vehicle,on a rail flatcar, from a pick-up truck, to an Abrams MBT. Its a pdf file,about 2.5 mb, if you like I can email it to you.


HO & O (3-rail) trainman
I would think a cool idea would be to have a point to point military layout that goes from depot/arsenal/assembly plant to military post to disembarking point. The depot could be where tanks are either built or refitted. The military post could be a Fort, Camp, or National Guard installation. The disembarking point could be a seaport for loading onto ships and sending them overseas.

Couple that with an interchange with a Class I or regional, and you'd have some more operational possibilities.


Guy with the Green Hat
The "Bird's Eye" function on Windows Live Local gives a pretty good view of the network of railroad track at Fort Lewis, WA.

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