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RE: [FJGRailroad] Iraq railway

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  • paul larner
    Nothing for Amtrak though; or the electrical distribution infrastructure. PKL
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 27, 2005
      Nothing for Amtrak though; or the electrical distribution infrastructure.


      >From: "Stephen G. Myers" <Knixrule1@...>
      >Reply-To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com
      >To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: [FJGRailroad] Iraq railway
      >Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2005 11:42:23 -0500
      >On The Road to Reconstruction
      >U.S. Army spearheads project to help Iraqis repair dilapidated,
      >war-damaged rail system
      >By Walter Weart
      >It�s 7 p.m. in Iraq. First Lieutenant Joseph Wanat answers his cell
      >phone, ready to fill in a reporter on U.S. efforts to reconstruct the
      >country�s national railroad. The U.S.-Iraqi war has done more than cause
      >damage or destruction to hundreds of buildings, homes and roads.
      >Combat actions � including bombs thrown by Iraqi insurgents � and years
      >of neglect have wreaked damage on track, communications and signal
      >systems, rolling stock and train stations owned by the Iraq Ministry of
      >Transportation and operated by the Iraq Republican Railroad, Wanat says.
      >Attached to the 888 Movement Control Team, a reserve unit from
      >Providence, R.I., that�s now part of Multi National Force-Iraq, Wanat is
      >stationed in Baghdad, where his primary assignment is rail operation and
      >The U.S. Army is heading a $210 million project designed to rehabilitate
      >Iraq�s rail system and restore it to full operation. It wasn�t so much
      >damage from bombs, but deferred maintenance, looting and vandalism that
      >did in the railroad, Wanat says. Economic sanctions against Saddam
      >Hussein�s regime in the 1990s made it difficult for the Iraqi railroad to
      >obtain replacement parts, leading to maintenance deferrals.
      >�Many kilometers of track have missing ties, no ballast and large gaps
      >between adjacent track sections,� he says. �[Our] military was very
      >careful to avoid damaging the lines and only about 10 percent of our
      >rebuild project [addresses] weapons damage.�
      >In a decade-long decline. The U.S.� project budget includes $57 million
      >for reconstruction work and $153 million for maintenance equipment,
      >rolling stock and spare parts (which are under solicitation or scheduled
      >for delivery). Because the Iraqi railroad�s locomotives were produced in
      >six countries � including China, Turkey and Germany � most spare parts
      >will be purchased from original suppliers located in those countries.
      >Rail will be purchased from sources in Poland, the Ukraine and Russia.
      >Dating back to 1888, when Germany began building track, the Iraqi
      >railroad wasn�t always in dire straits. Despite a construction slowdown
      >during World War I, the road continued to build branch lines until 1987.
      >However, the railroad�s condition began to deteriorate after the 1991
      >Gulf War.
      >Now, railroad officials are trying to manage operations while Iraq aims
      >to settle its political future, says Wanat, who has to hang up and get
      >back to work. Days later, he�s available via phone again. The Iraqis are
      >attempting to keep 250 locomotives and 2,000 rail cars going, Wanat says.
      >Shortly after the U.S.� initial combat operations ended in May 2003, the
      >railroad operated about 70 trains per week. However, in spring 2004 �
      >after insurgent gorillas began full-scale operations � weekly trains
      >dropped to about eight, many of which are used for reconstruction
      >efforts, he says.
      >The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers � working with the U.S.-run Iraq Project
      >and Contracting Office (PCO) � is providing quality assurance and
      >oversight for the railroad reconstruction, with work being done by Iraqi
      >firms using Iraqi workers. Some project funding also is coming from the
      >Iraqi government.
      >Overseeing the services, supplies and infrastructure work funded by the
      >U.S. government�s $18.4 billion Iraqi Relief and Reconstruction Fund, the
      >PCO is responsible for managing the project, including finances and
      >assets. A key project aspect is rebuilding 76 stations, including one in
      >Baghdad, says Wanat, who needs to put down his phone again � duty calls.
      >A few days later, with time for one more cell phone call, he describes
      >the condition of the facility in Iraq�s capital. Baghdad Central Train
      >Station, the Iraqi railroad�s headquarters and largest station, is in
      >extremely poor shape, Wanat says. The plumbing doesn�t work, there�s no
      >central heating or air conditioning system, and most of the building�s
      >doors and windows are broken or missing.
      >On the double. The project has another key component, he says. American
      >and Iraqi forces want to finish double-tracking the railroad�s mainline �
      >a project the Iraqis began prior to the war. The mainline stretches 1,600
      >miles south from the Syria-Turkish border to Umn Qasr, the primary port
      >for marine cargoes.
      >�We plan to have the double-track line from Basrah and the Turkish border
      >in service by 2008 or 2009,� says Wanat, moments before he pushes the
      >end-call button to finish tending to his day-long duties.
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