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The Railway at War Gallery

The GWR during the First and Second World Wars

Choose from 231 pictures in our The Railway at War collection for your Wall Art or Photo Gift. All professionally made for Quick Shipping.


U.S. 0-6-0T shunting tank engine No. 1940 in its black War Department livery, 1942 Featured The Railway at War Image

U.S. 0-6-0T shunting tank engine No. 1940 in its black War Department livery, 1942

This is an unusual inclusion in the photographic collection at STEAM, being an image of a U.S. 0-6-0T shunting tank engine which never actually worked the Great Western network. Nevertheless, this class of engine is still worth a mention as part of the Great Western war story. 382 of these Class S100 engines were shipped over to Britain from America with the intention of them operating on the railways of Europe after D Day. They arrived at the Great Western's Newport Docks from July 1942 from where they were towed to GW sheds where their final assembly was completed and they were run in and steam tested. Whilst the majority of the U.S. 0-6-0's then continued on their journey to Europe, some were temporarily put to use as shunting engines at various GW locomotive depots and 42 were put into storage at the Company's Newbury Racecourse Station where they remained, unused, until 14 were acquired by the Southern Railway after the war. This image shows the rather dusty engine No. 1940 in its black War Department livery

Motor landing craft built by the GWR at Swindon Works, 1942 Featured The Railway at War Image

Motor landing craft built by the GWR at Swindon Works, 1942

In August 1941 the GWR began building the first of a large number of motor landing craft in the Carriage and Wagon shops at Swindon. No. 13, Wagon Frame Shop was where this work took place. Motor landing craft were made in readiness for the invasion of Europe. Their primary purpose was to ferry troops from transport ships onto occupied shores. This image of Motor Landing Craft (MLC) No. 153 shows the flat bottom construction that enabled the craft to run up onto a beach, and the lowerable ramp from which the troops could swiftly disembark. These GWR-built landing crafts, and many variations built by other manufacturing companies, were used during the Second World War for amphibious assaults on enemy occupied Europe, starting with the invasion of Sicily in June 1943 through to the D Day invasion of Normandy in June 1944

© STEAM Museum of the GWR

Carriage No. 4329 from US General Dwight D. Eisenhowers Alive train in 1942 Featured The Railway at War Image

Carriage No. 4329 from US General Dwight D. Eisenhowers Alive train in 1942

One of the most important areas in which the GWR was asked to support both the war effort and the US army was in the provision of what was codenamed the Alive train which was to be used by the US General Dwight D. Eisenhower whilst in Britain making preparations for the invasion of Europe. Much secrecy surrounded both the make up and the operation of this train, although some details have emerged during the years following the war, and we know that carriage No. 4329, featured in this image, was one of the sleeping coaches from the Alive train. It is understood that the order for the train was issued in June 1942 and that many additions and improvements were subsequently made over the following years, so making the train a fully equipped and self-contained vehicle from which General Eisenhower and his team could operate. During the latter years of the war the Alive train travelled extensively around Britain, and in December 1944, fully equipped with bullet proof glass, the train was shipped overseas where it operated throughout France and on many occasions travelled close to the enemy line