A special issue from Classic Trains, takes you behind the scenes of the rail industry as it served major
war efforts from the 1860s through the 1960s. This edition includes rare color photos as well as coverage
of European and Asian war zones. Softbound, 106-pages, fully illustrated.
This book reprints 14 articles pertaining to railroads and war that appeared in Trains and Classic
Trains magazines over the years. The subject mater extends from the American Civil War through
the Viet Nam conflict.
The articles deal with how railroads were used at the front on foreign soil as well as their effect on conflict
from the logistical support they lent to the armies in the field from well behind the lines – the proverbial
Of course, the titanic conflict of World War II is most heavily covered. It certainly was the finest hour for American
railroads as they carried not only 43.5 million servicemen, but an uncounted amount of materiel to back them up
as they waged a war “for civilization,” as indeed I may have been.
It is well understood that the potential for using railroads in war was brought to the fore during the Civil War. Not
only did the railroads carry the men and supplies behind the lines, but they were used in large scale for the first
time to move troops to the battlefront and in the maneuver of troops around a battlefield. From that time forward
as war developed into the modern horror of “total war,” railroads were integral in waging it.
As is usually the case with Kalmbach railroad books, this one is printed on good heavy glossy paper and the
quality of the photos in content, presentation, and reproduction is excellent.
Although WWII has been discussed and treated well in railroad historical literature, this is the first time this
reviewer has seen material on Viet Nam. The article on the narrow-gauge railroads of Hawaii and how they
helped the effort there is also unusual and interesting.
This reviewer highly recommends this book to anyone who has the least interest in railroads at war.
Thomas W Dixon, Jr.