Wartime Rails 1918 & 1943-1950 DVD 55 mins B&W and some colour
Quite simply this is the most remarkable railway DVD I have ever seen. It starts off in mind-blowing form with around 15 minutes of very high quality footage of 2 foot gauge lines supplying the American troops during the final summer of World War 1. Included are shots of Baldwin 2-6-2s, and petro-mechanical locomotives, shunting, and running up the main line; just as you think this must be a training film shot long after the war, you pass along a very definitely French village street. And permanent way works, including track panel replacement are demonstrated.Moving on to World War 11, the first sequence was shot in occupied Lithuania by a high-ranking Reichsbahn official, and shows a trial train being run, and the rescue of a sabotaged 2-8-0.The subsequent films were all shot by two men serving with American Railway Operating Batallions - the first showing the restoration of a locomotive on the strategic Bouches du Rhône system, with it and a USATC 0-6-0 tank loco subsequently moving much needed oil-wagons. Moving north we see USATC locomotives being readied at Paris-Batignolles shed, alongside French locomotives, and a mix of French and Allied crew. Both these sequences were shot in 1945, as was the next one, covering a journey by troop train from Marseilles to Mannheim.