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Home > STEAM Museum of the GWR > The Railway at War

The Railway at War Gallery

The GWR during the First and Second World Wars

Choose from 225 pictures in our The Railway at War collection for your Wall Art or Photo Gift. All professionally made for Quick Shipping. We are proud to offer this selection in partnership with STEAM Museum of the GWR.


Great Western Tender, No. W84, formerly No. 2641, 1941 Featured The Railway at War Image

Great Western Tender, No. W84, formerly No. 2641, 1941

Great Western Tender, No. W84 is featured in this official image taken in April 1941. Formerly No. 2641, this 4000 gallon engine tender was requisitioned by the Government for use with a fire fighting train. Fire fighting trains were located at key points across the network to react quickly in the event of an air raid. The water in the tenders was used to put out fires and one of the fire fighting trains had 6 tenders attached which held up to 15,000 gallons of water, enough to supply water to attached petrol motor pumps for up to two and a half hours

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

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