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Nostalgia & History > Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station


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Date: 03/24/19 16:52
Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: Amtrak784

Thank You to the US NAVY for providing public tours this weekend of the USS PRINCETON at Seal Beach, CA.  The photos are of the old tracks at the Naval Weapons Station in Seal Beach, CA.  To my knowledge, the tracks have been Out-of-service for several years now.  Please provide any history on the Rail Operations that used to take place here.  Enjoy!








Date: 03/24/19 17:02
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: ProAmtrak

What railroad did it connect with, Santa Fe or Southern Pacific!



Date: 03/24/19 17:10
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: ATSF3751

ProAmtrak Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What railroad did it connect with, Santa Fe or
> Southern Pacific!

Southern Pacific. I believe the former Pacific Electric. 



Date: 03/24/19 17:20
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: tronarail

Although slightly off topic with the posed question of what railroad did Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station connect with, I offer this information about the facility from Wikipedia:

NWS Seal Beach occupies 5,256 acres (21 km²), has 230 buildings and 128 ammunition magazines providing 589,299 feet² (54,747 m²) of ammunition storage space. Ammunition is moved from storage to the docks on 56 miles (90 km) of railroad lineand 80 miles (128 km) of road. The base owns 130 pieces of railroad rolling stock and 230 trucks and trailers to move the ammunition which is loaded onto ships using six mobile cranes that can lift up to 90 tons (81 tonnes).[1]The station is bounded on the north by the combined Interstate 405 and State Route 22; on the west by Seal Beach Boulevard; on the south west by the Pacific Ocean; on the south east by the Bolsa Chica Channel and Edinger Avenue; and on the east by the Bolsa Chica Channel and Bolsa Chica Road. From Edinger Avenue to Interstate 405, a distance of about three miles, all roads to the east of the station terminate at Bolsa Chica Road, with the exception of Westminster Boulevard, which runs through the center of the facility, separated by a chain-link fence on both sides. Edinger Avenue enters the facility, but public access terminates at an emergency gate. On the west side of the station south of Interstate 405, Westminster Boulevard and the Pacific Coast Highway are the only public roads running through any part of the station.

The original post with the photo of the apparently seldom-used railroad tracks is probably 90% accurate. The installation's trucks probably transport more of the ammunition supplies when needed. Although the Wikipedia info says they have 130 pieces of rolling stock - what that consists of is not revealed.



Date: 03/24/19 18:40
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: callum_out

The base connected with an SP line via a USN line that went East to Wintersburg on the SP Huntington Beach branch. I believe
that connection has been completely removed.

Out



Date: 03/24/19 20:58
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: miralomarail

Yes the line to Seal Beach NWS has been out of service for a few years now.
In it's glory back in the 80's to the mid 90's they had 5 GE 80 Ton units and during that time had a Re-Built VO-1000 .
There are still 2 GE 80 Tonners stored on the base , that are started up about once a year.
The rolling stock consited of Boxcars and a few flatcars for moving Ammo down to the peir 

It's a shame the entire RR there was rebuilt in the early 80's , now unused as trucks are used.






Date: 03/24/19 21:49
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: hotrail

callum_out Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The base connected with an SP line via a USN line
> that went East to Wintersburg on the SP Huntington
> Beach branch. I believe
> that connection has been completely removed.
>
> Out
Yes, the section of track that ran west from the UP branch to the base has been removed for 1-2 miles.  



Date: 03/24/19 22:59
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: Amtrak784

Thank You for the information, and speaking of Railroad Equipment Orange Empire Railway Museum/Southern California Railway Museum has several USN Boxcars which I've been told came from the Seal Beach Base.  The Museum also has "Navy 8" an VO-1000, though I'm not sure if it came from Seal Beach also.






Date: 03/24/19 23:07
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: Lairport

Conductor Bill Hatrick was a trainman there back in the 1980's.



Date: 03/24/19 23:07
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: wattslocal

Any idea if there are any box cars still on the property?

Some 30 plus years ago, Orange Empire at Perris bought seven 40-foot steel box cars and two flats at a deeply discounted price.

One of the flat cars had a long cyndrical water tank aboard and was used for weed spraying. Neighbors on the connecting track to the SP complained that they thought the Navy was moving missiles right next to their homes. It turned out that that old flat was from the Tonopah & Tidewater, and we rucked both flats to Perris.

After new AB brake portions, repack and new air hoses the 7 box cars went out by rail, friction bearings and cast iron wheels with no problems at all. Sure couldn't do that today.

Watts local



Date: 03/24/19 23:42
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: miralomarail

The Ex USN VO-1000 , built as USN # 65-00249  , was built March 1945 71739 for the Naval Supply Center # 2 , Schumaker , OK , to  the Naval Supply Center # 2 , San Diego, Ca , to JJ Coan (D) , Salt Lake City, Utah to the Port of LA # 1 , San Pedeo, Ca  as shown in my photo seen 7-81
Then to National Metals # 1, Terminal Island, Ca   See photo , 
To Orange Empire RR Museum

The 2nd photo as seen May 1983 at Terminal Island






Date: 03/25/19 03:10
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: SanJoaquinEngr

The USN used to ship ammo in silver boxcar , forty footers, with reporting letters USN. Made one trip to the base on the Huntington Beach local to interchange cars. I just remember it was around 1971.. The track was rather antiquated then !

Posted from Android



Date: 03/25/19 11:34
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: gcw

wattslocal Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Any idea if there are any box cars still on the
> property?
>

There were several hundred of those things at NWS Seal Beach, which were scrapped on site in 2011. I don't think any are left. I was told there are still some at NWS Earle in New Jersey, and they are still in use (updates to this info would be appreciated).

Edit: I double-checked some information, the USN boxcars that were scrapped were from NWS Concord. It appears there are still some left at NWS Seal Beach.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/25/19 13:24 by gcw.



Date: 03/25/19 13:45
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: MyfordBrowning

TO member eirelacawanna post photos from a September 2006 (9-6-06 TO post) open house at the Seal Beach base where a GE locomotive and a group of boxcars were displayed on the dock. This was shortly after the on base railroad was mostly. if not completely, out of service.

A factor in the end of rail delivered munitions by rail may have  been influenced by a September 27, 1990 derailment of the Huntington Beach Local that included two boxcars loads heading for the Navy Base. Local officials, including the Westminster Fire Chief, expressed concern about the movement through their town (no concern about trucks?).

Besides the connection at Westminster that was on the SP Smeltzer Branch when the base was established (the PE acquired the line in 1948), 
I recall seeing a connection off the PE's Newport Beach line at Seal Beach than seemed unused at the time (late 50s). Donaldson & Myers Rails thought the Orange Groves, Vol. 2 has information on the Seal Beach installation with a roster of locomotive used there.



Date: 03/25/19 14:42
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: callum_out

Cliff, it would be interesting to clear up the PE thing because Interurbans 60 shows no evidence of a connection
with the base either in maps or pictures.

Out



Date: 03/25/19 17:18
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: TipsyMcStagger

wattslocal Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Any idea if there are any box cars still on the
> property?

Google overhead still shows several on the east part of the base, tucked away in the berms.



Date: 03/25/19 19:16
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: miralomarail

The ones still there are for the most part were rebuilt 50 foot cars



Date: 03/25/19 20:23
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: ExSPCondr

callum_out Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Cliff, it would be interesting to clear up the PE
> thing because Interurbans 60 shows no evidence of
> a connection
> with the base either in maps or pictures.

From being an ATM on the SP at Anaheim between 1973 and 1977, I  offer the following:

The NWS Seal Beach was originally served by the PE's Newport Beach line, until it was shortend up to Long Beach about 1966.  At that time the line was run to Wintersburg, where a pair of interchange tracks between the base and the SP were built.  The Navy did the hauling between the base and the interchange until they had a train/auto accident.  When the motorist discovered he had been hit by a US Navy engine that only had one headlight and a squeaky little whistle,  the crossings had no active warning, and he had the Navy where it was very tender,  the Navy asked the SP to do the switching.

The SP agreed, for an hourly fee, if the track,  crossings and signals were upgraded to modern standards.  Gates were installed on all crossings, along with all new ties and heavy stick rail, ABOUT 1972.  The crews said the track was good for at least fifty, but the crossing circuits weren't.

Between 1973 and 77, I only got to make one trip into the base with a forty foot boxcar of pistols, so I don't give much creedence to an embargo by one of the cities enroute, but more to a lack of business.  The last traffic on the line was several hoppers of large-grain sand to help control erosion at Seal Beach.
G




 



Date: 03/25/19 22:55
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: wattslocal

Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station, southern California

I was told the ships docking in Long Beach harbor and TI all had their munitions removed at Seal Beach NWS and when leaving, reloaded again at Seal Beach..

With the closure of the shipyards and drydock on Termiinal Island, the need for Seal Beach NWS was lessened.

Also was told that duriing WWII the rail at Seal Beach and Norton Air Base in San Bernardino came from the Tonopah and Tidewater. Thirty years or so ago (we)  Orange Empire track gang removed the railroad at Norton, which have six bolt joints and I saw a few at Seal Beach also.  Seal Beach also loaned us their spike puller -- a dangerous machine but if used correctly works fine. We had no problems, pulling out 22 barrels of spikes.

And yes, good 'ol Bill Hatrick was an engineer at Seal Beach for a while. Check with Bill for more info.

Watts local



Date: 03/26/19 00:21
Re: Old Tracks: Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
Author: MyfordBrowning

I found a 1952 aerial photo that shows the connection off the Newport line and it was still shown on a 1965 Topo map.

callum_out Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Cliff, it would be interesting to clear up the PE
> thing because Interurbans 60 shows no evidence of
> a connection
> with the base either in maps or pictures.
>
> Out






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