Retired Army Col. Robert F. Alexander, 74, a career Corps of Engineers officer who was director of military railways in Europe in World War II, died Wednesday at Bethesda Naval Hospital. He had a pulmonary ailment.

He retired in 1961, as executive officer to the assistant secretary of the Army for logistics, manpower and personnel. A resident of the Washington area since 1954, he lived in Arlington.

Col. Alexander was born in Terre Haute, Ind. He graduated in 1928 from Rose Polytechnic Institute there, later earning a degree in civil engineering from the institute. He was a regional safety engineer for the Soil Conservation Service in Spartanburg, S.C., during the 1930s.

An Army Reserve officer, Col. Alexander was called to active duty in World War II and was assigned to General Eisenhower's headquarters in Europe, where he was in charge of military railways. After the war, he was a district engineer with the allied occupation forces in Berlin.

After duty on the West Coast, he joined a task force in 1950 that was sent to Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific to construct an atomic proving ground. He then saw duty in Panama and was transferred to the Washington area in 1954, attending the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and then serving at the Pentagon.

After his retirement from military service, Col. Alexander was a project engineer with the Southern Engineering Co. in Arlington until a second retirement in 1968.

He was a member of the Washington Golf and Country Club.

Survivors include his wife, Susan C., and a daughter, Anne Armstrong, both of Arlington; a son, Robert, of Atlanta; a brother, Kenneth, of Miami; and two grandchildren.