How Would the railways of today - across Germany, Belgium, France, Britain, Austria, and all other combatants - fare if they were faced with the challenges their counterparts a century earlier were?
Without the railways for the Great Powers, the most terrible conflict the world has ever known would have taken a very different form – if it had happened at all. In a remarkable historical railway journey through Britain and Europe, author Andrew Roden tells the story of the men and women who manned the tracks and the trains, and who relied on them to get them to battle and back home again. Drawing on diaries, memoirs and archive material he reveals the personal stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and pays tribute to their overlooked contribution.
Supported with remarkable illustrations and photography, Roden interweaves memories of his own present day travels by train with diary excerpts of ambulance train nurses, returning POWs, drivers that put their lives in danger for everyone on board and other key voices. Roden takes the reader on a gripping journey, from the secret planning rooms in Berlin, through to the killing fields of the trenches, as well as the home fronts of the key combatants. Looking at defining moments of railway history on both sides of the Great War they build a unique and very human picture of a wartime railway across Europe.
ANDREW RODEN is a railway journalist and campaigner now based in Cornwall. He has worked on a range of railway magazines over the past decade from Rail to Hornby Magazine and the prestigious International Railway Journal as Contributing Editor. In 2005 he led the campaign to save the ‘Night Riviera’ sleeper train to Cornwall from closure. He is author of the highly successful books Flying Scotsman, A History of the Great Western Railway and The Duchesses, all published by Aurum Press.