Author:   Sarah Wright

Published:   2014
Edition:   Hardback
Pages:   256
Condition:   New
Genre:   Narrow Gauge, Light & Industrial

Status:   Available


Tracks to the Trenches tells the story of the birth of military narrow gauge railways and is a fascinating read for those interested in the military railways of the Great War. The book is the result of over 20 years’ research and access to the private archives of the Péchot family and others, and French Army archives.

This gem of a book, which includes 256 quality glazed pages, 300 illustrations, scale drawings, maps, photographs and drawings, explains to a new generation the forgotten system of 60cm portable railways which linked existing railway lines with the Western and other Fronts, 1914-18.

Péchot created this system in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War; after trials and development, the French Army used it. Almost immediately, the Germans copied and refined the system. During the Great War, British and American armed forces adopted it. This integrated system of supply explains why great armies were able to stay in the field for years. Heroic men, early lorries and mud-caked mules have been credited with this feat but in the field had to be replaced by railways.

At the beginning of the War, lorry transport was undeveloped. By 1920, it offered a viable alternative to rail and was retrospectively credited with transport during the War. The little railways were forgotten.