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Models Publications Journal 39 Book: British Military Railways Overseas in the Great War


We (principally Julian Rainbow) have made a collection of OO and HO models of War Department locomotives and rolling stock. The full collection has been exhibited at Globalrail and at the Maldegem Steam Festival in May 2018 and is scheduled to appear at Tracks to the Trenches 3 on 13th to 15th of July 2018, Gaugemaster Open Weekend on 1st and 2nd September, CFV3V Steam Festival on 22nd and 23rd September at Treines Station and at ExpoNG at Swanley on 27th October 2018.

Since we want as many people as possible to see the collection, we are open to invitations to display it.

Photograph © Julian Rainbow.

The photograph above shows models of equipment used on the Western Front and in the Palestine, Salonika and Mesopotamia Campaigns. All are OO and OO9 scale with the exception of the Western Front train on the bottom shelf headed by ROD 704, which is HO scale.

Photograph © Julian Rainbow.

In the photograph above the top row shows metre gauge wagons for the Western Front and a 3ft 6in gauge locomotive used in the South-West Africa Campaign. The other locomotives were standard (known to the army as Broad) gauge locomotives for the Western Front. All are HO scale.


The BORHT Council, at a meeting in 2012, discussed a programme of actions to mark the forthcoming Centenary of the Great War. The Chairman proposed a book to introduce the military railways which British forces built and operated around the world during the Great War. A team of members of the Trust was formed to compile the book which eventually became BRITISH MILITARY RAILWAYS OVERSEAS IN THE GREAT WAR, planned for publication at Tracks to the Trenches 3 in July 2018. It was agreed that any interesting material which went into too much detail for the book would be published in special issues of THE BRITISH OVERSEAS RAILWAYS JOURNAL or booklets if too large for the Journal.


The first fruit of this work was the publication in 2014 of a special issue of The British Overseas Railways Journal devoted to World War One which contains articles on the WD Light Railways, ROD 2717, Salonica and the NSWGR 2-8-0's, which were requisitioned for service in France.

BRITISH MILITARY RAILWAYS OVERSEAS IN THE GREAT WAR was published as planned at Tracks to the Trenches 3. It contains, in 400 A4 size pages, 30 chapters on every theatre in which there were railways operated by Imperial British forces. The Chapters are as follows:-

Ch 1, Introduction,
Part 1. Belgium, France and Italy.
Ch 2, The Work done by the Railway Troops in France during 1914-19.
Ch 3, Railway Operation in France.
Ch 4, Railway Workshops.
Ch 5, War Department Light Railways.
Ch 6, Forward Communications and Military Mine Railways.
Ch 7, The Cross Channel Train Ferry Service.
Ch 8, Empire Railway Troops on the Western Front.
Ch 9, British Military Railway Work in Italy, 1917-18.
Ch 10. The Mediteranean Line of Communication.
Part 2. The Levant.
Ch 11, British Military Railways in the Gallipoli Campaign.
Ch 12, Railways in the Salonica Campaign.
Ch 13, Military Railways in Egypt, Palestine and Syria in World War 1.
Part 3. Middle East.
Ch 14, Military Railways in the Mesopotamian Campaign 1914-1918.
Ch 15, "Those Barren Rocks": The Building of the Aden Railway during World War 1.
Ch 16, Persia.
Part 4. Africa.
Ch 17, Military Railways in East Africa in World War 1.
Ch 18. West Africa.
Ch 19. The Campaign in German South West Africa.
Part 5. Southern Ocean Islands
Ch 20, Southern Ocean Islands.
Part 6. Locomotives and Rolling Stock.
Ch 21, Broad Gauge Locomotives.
Ch 22, Ambulance Trains.
Ch 23. Armoured Trains.
Ch 24, R.O.D. Broad Gauge Rolling Stock on the Western Front.
Ch 25, Metre Gauge Locomotives and Rolling Stock.
Ch 26. Narrow Gauge Locomotives and Rolling Stock.
Part 7. The Aftermath.
Ch 27, The British Army of the Rhine 1919-1929.
Ch 28, Russia.
Ch 29, Railway Policy in Relation to General Policy in the Middle East.
Part 8. Epilogue.
Ch 30, W.W.1 Preservation.

WW1 cover

There are numerous maps, drawings and photographs.

The price including postage for a single copy is:-

UK rrpUK Second ClassEuropeWorld Zone 1World Zone 2
Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific

Please refer to if you are in any doubt which zone you are in.

Members of BORHT can deduct £5 per copy, but please give your membership number with your order.

Please send a sterling cheque payable in London to "B.O.R.H.T." with your order to our Registered Office, not forgetting to give us a delivery address.

Please initially email your order to for a lower price if you wish to buy more than 1 copy, if you wish to pay by bank transfer, or if you wish to pay by cash.

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