Author:  Roy Link
Published:  2014
Format:  Hardback, 256 pages

Status:  In Stock – Last 2 copies



The 60cm gauge light railways of the Great War (1914-1918) continue to fascinate almost a century after their creation. Both the Allies (Britain, France, Russia, Italy and later the USA) and the Central Powers (Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire) employed narrow gauge railways for the tactical re-supply of troops in forward areas. Whilst the French and to an extent the Germans sometimes used existing light railways, the lightly built 60cm gauge lines of the British forces were unique in concept, origins and execution.

The development of the War Department Light Railways (WDLR) was different. Never previously – or since – had any group, business or government department organised a new railway network of any gauge on such a grand scale and at such short notice. A most important point about the concept of the WDLR is that it was born within a brief window of opportunity following the successful development of small internal combustion powered locomotives but before the perfection of the robust cross-country pneumatic tyre. Within a decade, the all-wheel-drive, pneumatic-tyred, internal combustion road lorry would enter military service, rendering the light railways obsolete at stroke while tracked armoured fighting vehicles would restore mobility to the wider battlefield.

Features more than 200 photographs.