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A Railway War Begins

World War I was a railway war. Michael Portillo finds out how the railways helped to precipitate a mechanised war, shaped how it was fought, conveyed millions to the trenches and bore witness to its end. He takes to historic tracks to rediscover the locomotives and wagons of the war that was supposed to end all war and hears the stories of the gallant men and women who used them in life and in death.

Michael travels through Britain and northern Europe uncovering railway stories from the Great War. He begins his quest in the French city of Metz on European tracks built with war in mind, charts the birth of the railway war at a small station in Luxembourg and discovers how Britain's railways coped with the challenge of sending thousands of troops to join the conflict from Southampton. Finally, he returns to France to learn how the early war of movement gave way to the stalemate of the trenches.

Release date:

30 minutes

Last on

Mon 5 Feb 2018 19:30


Role Contributor
PresenterMichael Portillo
Executive ProducerJohn Comerford
Series ProducerAlison Kreps

Featured in...

World War One on TV and Radio


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