New material is continually coming to light regarding WW1 light railways. As a keen preservationist I am always eager to learn of new items available. I have found many works drawings and photographs for British WD railway equipment, as I get permissions from the various owners of the copyrights, I will endeavor to make some public. My own research has found relevant information from Andrew Barclay & Sons, Gloucester Carriage & Wagon, Kerr Stuart & Co and Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon to name but a few. If you know of other WW1 collections (both British & Others) please contact me info(AT)wdlr.org.uk (to prevent SPAM - please replace (AT) with @ to make e-mail address work). Please feel free to suggest further good internet resources for WW1 material.
A very good online resource for WW1 light railway photographs is the Australian War Memorial Web-Site. The online database has a huge selection of WW1 related photos. I would recommend searching the database using keywords like;
light railways, WDLR, decauville, baldwin, simplex, etc.
A very concise list of what became of the WDLR Hunslet 4-6-0T locomotives is being compiled by fellow researcher, Ian Hughes. Please contact him if you have knowledge of anything that is mentioned in the Hunslet 4-6-0T information page.
Recently there have been several excellent books on 'Trench Railways' or related equipment published new or as reprints. Where possible I have added these to my own collection. For the benefit of others who may not yet have these books, what follows is my own opinion on them.
Narrow Gauge at War (Vol. 1) By Keith Taylorson (ISBN 0 9511108 1 0)
Although sadly out of print at the moment, this book offers a good introduction into the British involvement in the Light Railways used during WW1. An excellent collection of pictures taken from the time including supporting text, gives a good account of what equipment was used and for what purpose. A fitting tribute to the narrow gauge railway's 'Finest Hour'. Included as an appendix is a reasonably complete list of extant WDLR locomotives, and their current location.
Narrow Gauge at War (Vol. 2) By Keith Taylorson (ISBN 1 871980 29 1)
This second volume of 'Narrow Gauge at War' continues the story of the War Department Light Railways. Although a 'sequel', this book is a good read in its own right. A thorough introduction brings the reader up to speed with the events which led up to the introduction on Narrow Gauge Railways on the Western Front and beyond. Taking a similar format to Vol.1, Vol. 2 takes a deeper look into WDLR operations in France, Italy, the Balkans and Palestine. The reader is introduced to the role Australian, Canadian and American forces played within the WDLR.
Why not order 'Narrow Gauge at War (Vol. 2)' today?
The Light Track from Arras By T. R. Heritage (ISBN 1 871980 40-2)
The excellent quality reprint by Plateway Press, is entirely devoted to the reminiscences of a front line WDLR soldier. T. R. Heritage served with both the 19th and 31st Light Railway Operating Companies between 1917 - 1918. In his engaging narrative, Heritage describes the first experiences with the unfamiliar locomotives and petrol 'tractors'. A well laid-out book, with many excellent archive photographs makes this a must for any WDLR enthusiast or WW1 historian.
Order 'The Light Track from Arras' today!
Heeresfeldbahnen By Alfred B. Gottwaldt (ISBN 3 613 70818 3)
Although only available in German language, this large (413 pages!)hardback book is a must for any student of narrow gauge military railway history. Covering the German involvement with 'Feldbahn' from the late 19th century, the book covers in great detail most aspects of railway operation through to the end of WW2. I have to admit that my German is very poor, but I find this publication fascinating research material. The photographs (many of which I have never seen), cover all types of locomotives, from the Zwilling 0-6-0T+0-6-0T loco's used up to (& through WW1) to the huge 760mm gauge 2-10-2+T used in WW2. Also covered are the military railway operations of WW2, and a good section on all known ex-German preserved equipment
I have only found this book available on the Amazon.de site. Please don't be put off by the German language, the page layout is the same as the Amazon.uk versions. eg. =
At the current exchange rate, this book is exceptional value at cú10.00 (DM29.80, EUR 15.23)
As the Amazon.de site is in German, I strongly recommend non-German speakers to visit the Amazon.uk site & follow the procedure for buying a book - the two sites (as you would expect) are very similar in layout. As time allows I will post screen shots here.
Why not order your copy of 'Heeresfeldbahnen' today?
An excellent web-site providing many period pictures of WD railway equipment in use is the Australian War Memorial. They have pictures of most aspects of WW1, a good search facility is provided - This site is well worth a look. To find the railway pictures - go to the research section & search the photograph database (keywords: WDLR, light railways, etc).
Ashover Light Railway
Further research would not be complete with out mention of the Ashover Light Railway. This line was completed in 1925, using primarily ex-WDLR equipment. The loco roster boasted a total of 6 ex-WDLR Baldwin 4-6-0T locomotives, and later 2 rebuilt Dick-Kerr type petrol-electric locos. Almost the entire amount of rolling stock was based upon the WDLR bogie open wagons.
The Ashover Light Railway By Robert Gratton & Stuart R. Band (ISBN 0 906867 72 X)
Published in A4 hardback format, this book is THE complete history of the line from inception to demolition. Included are many excellent photographs and details of the line in its heyday through the freight only phase to closure. The section of drawings will be of particular use to WDLR followers, depicting Baldwin 4-6-0T's, Class 'D' & 'E' open wagons, the elegant Coaches and the Petrol-Electric locomotives. The book is of the same standard and quality we have come to expect from the publishers - Wild Swan.
Order 'The Ashover Light Railway' today!
Please note that the reviews on this page are the site owners own opinion, unless stated.