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VIRAL VIDEO: Tanks On Train Explained

Rumors were rampant about footage of military vehicles being shipped on the rail line near Watsonville.

It was a train to somewhere.

A video showing more than 100 Bradley fighting vehicles and HEMTT fuel trucks being shipped by train was shot outside of Watsonville last week. It went viral on YouTube and netted hundreds of thousands of views in five days.

Andrew Tuckman originally posted the footage, shot Jan. 19, on Facebook. Two YouTube users uploaded the video the next day, generating 134,000 and 89,000 views, respectively, by Wednesday night.

But the 2 minute, 44 second video created far more questions—and conspiracy theories—than answers. The two versions of the video posted on YouTube had about 1,500 comments between them.

"How scary!!!" Danielle Marie Baxter commented on Watsonville Patch's Facebook page, where the video was shared.

"Oh my, heading for Occupy Salinas! Turn your tanks into tractors, feed the world!" Patrick Putnam commented.

"War with Mexico??" Beverly Young suggested.

Actually it's not that complicated. Interviews with military officials and a railroad representative delivered some answers and interesting factoids.

"In the case of the recent train that was seen moving through the Watsonville area, Union Pacific made the shipment from Southern California to the Portola area," said Aaron Hunt, spokesman for the railroad.

The Portola area, where Hunt said the trains were heading, is in Plumas County, near Reno. Hunt didn't know where the vehicles may be heading from there.

But one astute videographer, who captured the same train running through Morgan Hill, explained it:

Military equipment train loaded with tanks and other vehicles of war rolls through Morgan Hill, Calif. on Jan. 19, 2012. The train originated in Oxnard and is headed to the Sierra Army Depot in Herlong. This train ran as the UP 7623 SOXHR-17 via the Coast Line.

Here's a link to his video. People also posted videos of the train rolling through Castroville and Hayward, though none were as popular as Tuckman's.

So, question answered.

Hunt, whose company owns the rail line east of Watsonville where the train chugged through, said Union Pacific regularly transports equipment for the military because shipping freight by train is cheaper than trucking it.

"A single Union Pacific train can carry as much freight as 300 trucks," Hunt said.

It's also common practice for active duty Army and National Guard units to ship their equipment as part of training exercises, according to Maj. Jonathan Shiroma, California National Guard Army public affairs.

“They train or they rail the tanks in from anywhere in the country," Shiroma said.  “What’s likely that could happen is there is a training base in the desert—Fort Irwin.”

Fort Irwin, in San Bernadino County, is one of the largest Army bases in the West.

Fort Irwin spokesman Donald Ross said a portion of training for each Army unit involves packing and transporting all of their gear, including tanks like what was seen in the YouTube video.

However, Ross didn't claim the tanks that rode the rails in Watsonville.

“Those are Bradley fighting vehicles but I have no idea where they might be going,” Ross said, explaining that the woodland camouflage pattern on the vehicles indicated they wouldn't be coming to Fort Irwin, smack in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

Shiroma offered one exciting possibility for the tanks: that they were heading to the big screen. Some National Guard tanks are being used in the filming of the new Superman movie, which got underway this week.

However, the tanks coming through Watsonville were traveling the wrong way. Shiroma said they weren't the movie extras.

Stan Johnson February 05, 2012 at 07:02 PM
They are heading to a depot to be stored. From there they are re-fitted or taken out of service. Nothing more, nothing less. Really people, you watch too many conspiracy movies, get control of yourselves. There is a war going on and material is moved in and out of those locations everyday. They have to go to storage somewhere.
rvd217 March 22, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Wake-up people, they are Bradly APC light armor fighting vehicles that will withstand any U.S. civilian owned small arms fire and had to be purchased from the U.K. where they come from and shipped here in multiple loads then loaded all together with other needed support vehicales needed to support going house to house taking our guns and sending us to the fully staffed fema-camps. It was not a train of U.S. desert brown Hum-vees! Plus re-fueling and personnel transporter trucks and they are painted for use in Nor-cal, Oregon, Washington state, Montana, others what a coincidence, Get ready now folks!
Gretchen Frink February 25, 2013 at 05:32 AM
I have lived behind rr tracks for 7 years. Starting about Sept of last year, the heaviest, loads I have ever heard have been coming thru. Some are so heavy they are moving very slow. I just saw strange looking boxcars and many tanks. Everyone can sense or knows what it going on. The jews had some warning. We won't have much.
Burt April 05, 2013 at 04:36 AM
well Gretchen if that is true Americans are ready to fight to the last man so not to worry
Burt April 05, 2013 at 04:37 AM
We probably paid GB to build all this stuff to help with their unemployment. Now we have to put it all someplace

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