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Sen. Schumer calls for new railhead at Fort Drum

Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division conducted overnight railhead operations at Fort Drum in May 2018.
Photo – Fort Drum & 10th Mountain Division (LI) Flickr site


U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is urging the Department of Defense to prioritize a $21 million project in the Army's fiscal-year 2020 budget request that would call for the construction of a new railhead at Fort Drum.

In a meeting last week with Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, Schumer said the existing railhead at Fort Drum in Jefferson County, New York, is outdated and no longer meets deployment requirements. The project is a priority of installation officials, Schumer said in a press release.

The project would "greatly enhance Fort Drum's readiness," he added.

Currently, Fort Drum has limited capability in place to simultaneously load and unload trains for mobilization. As a result, multiple missions must be staggered and delayed. Loading trains for deployment often forces Fort Drum to hold inbound trains miles away in the town of Watertown's rail yard, which increases costs, according to Schumer.

Additionally, the existing railhead has limited capacity for storage and harsh winter conditions often restrict operations.

The new railhead would improve rail loading operations by featuring 1.2 miles of loading track, as well as new ramps, a side loading area, weather protection measures, lighting and a new alert holding area equipped with a cargo inspection building.

Schumer previously pushed for the construction of the new railhead in a phone call with Army Secretary Mark Esper in October 2018.