Keys To Victory: USA Railroad’s Unsung Heroes Win World War I

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Keys To Victory: USA Railroad’s Unsung Heroes Win World War I | Train Fanatics Videos
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United States ingenuity on display building a narrow gauge railroad in the middle of a war!

The war to end all wars required quick construction of the a railroad to get troops and supplies to the front lines!

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In an amazing display of team work and dedication, the US Army built a light rail line to the front lines in very little time to ferry men and supplies to the front. This archival footage shows all of the basic railroad building techniques need to get a railroad up and running.

They constructed a network of two foot (60cm) narrow gauge lines that followed the landscape and went directly through villages where no train had ever been before. The main workhorse of these light railways were locomotives built by:

  1. Hudson
  2. Barclay
  3. Hunslet
  4. Baldwin
  5. Alco

The locomotive seen in this clip is most likely the ALCO 2-6-2T (tank locomotive) with the water tanks mounted side saddle, one on each side.

Some quick facts about the ALCO tank engine:

  • Wheel arrangment: 2-6-2
  • Builder: American Locmotive Company 1916-1917
  • Tank capacity 396 gallons
  • Locomotive weight: 17 tons

Due to the nature of the war with its trench warfare, the trench railway systems developed by both sides to supply the front produced the greatest concentration of narrow gauge railways in a particular demographic area ever!

After the war, most, if not all of the rolling equipment and rails were just left in place where they were last used and abandoned.

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