Outbound Metra passenger train passing parked freight train hauling Oshkosh Defense military vehicles near Chicago on Thursday, March 19, 2020.
The timing brought suspicions to many people when they spotted a freight train hauling military vehicles passing through Hampshire and other suburbs in Illinois on Thursday, March 19, 2020. Some people immediately assumed the vehicles were related to the Illinois National Guard activation, but the Illinois National Guard explained that the vehicles were not National Guard vehicles by a Tweet.
Late Thursday, an eastbound Union Pacific freight train was parked between Arthur Avenue in Arlington Heights and Fairview Avenue in Mount Prospect. After several people took pictures and videos, and called their friends and family to inform them of the unusual sighting, the train departed eastbound from the area of Waterman Avenue and Northwest Highway at 11:30 p.m.
Freight train parked near in Arlington Heights while hauling Oshkosh Defense Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) survivable military vehicles.
The number of military vehicles on the train, which was estimated in the 100-200 range, was far greater than the approximately 60 Illinois National Guard members that were officially announced as activated for logistical support and medical staffing by Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
The Illinois National Guard also tweeted Thursday night, March 19, 2020 at 6:29 p.m., “The Illinois National Guard IS NOT moving Chicago to enforce a quarantine. The train moving military equipment is not moving National Guard vehicles. We have 60 troops activated for COVID-19. Most are medical. The military moves vehicles all the time. Relax, folks! :)”
The Illinois National Guard IS NOT moving Chicago to enforce a quarantine. The train moving military equipment is not moving National Guard vehicles. We have 60 troops activated for COVID-19. Most are medical. The military moves vehicles all the time. Relax, folks! :)
— IL National Guard (@IL_Natl_Guard) March 19, 2020
The military vehicles on flatcars appeared to be Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) or Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicles and JLTV Utility (UTL) military vehicles manufactured by Oshkosh Defense. Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) Utility (UTL) vehicles are built to haul cargo or shelters — you might say they look more like a pickup truck. Oshkosh Defense manufactures a variety of military vehicles and airport Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting trucks (ARFF).
The Union Pacific train’s freight looked more like a shipment than a convoy or a task force assembly, which would probably have had a variety of other vehicles with the freight train shipment. The vehicles did not appear to have any official identifiable markings or external accessories installed, such as armaments. Oshkosh Defense is located in Wisconsin, so shipment of new vehicles could go through Chicagoland. The Oshkosh Defense vehicles have recently started replacing Humvees. No officials initially explained whether the military vehicles were moving for staging related to the Coronavirus pandemic response, or were being shipped ‘brand new’ to a US military unit, or were being shipped to another country. For example, the State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Kingdom for Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) and accessories in July 2017.
The freight train parking location at the border of Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect is commonly used, but people in the area at the scene didn’t recall ever seeing military vehicles on a freight train parked there.
Several young adults trespassed onto the railroad tracks, and a few even climbed onto the railway flatcars and sat on the running boards of the vehicles. Police from Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect patrolled the area, and told some people to leave the property and not come back.
Three young male adults climbed up on flatcars of a parked freight train hauling Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) military vehicles manufactured by Oshkosh Defense. The eastbound freight train was parked on the railroad tracks between Arthur Avenue in Arlington Heights and Fairview Avenue in Mount Prospect.
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