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

Second World War Gallery

Choose from 129 pictures in our Second World 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.


Shunter in the wartime blackout, c.1940 Featured Second World War Image

Shunter in the wartime blackout, c.1940

Blackouts were challenging times for some GWR employees, as this image of a shunter taken at Bristol shows. Limited lighting during an air raid posed a serious health and safety risk, especially in busy depots or marshalling yards. Even in daylight the task of coupling and uncoupling wagons was a dangerous job. But at night it was even worse and during a blackout it must have been a daunting experience, even for a skilled shunter. Shunters were required to use lamps that had shades attached. This meant they were less visible to aircraft during an air raid, but it also had a negative impact on their working visibility

US 2-8-0 tender locomotive No. 1604 at Paddington Station, 1942 Featured Second World War Image

US 2-8-0 tender locomotive No. 1604 at Paddington Station, 1942

On December 11th 1942, for the very first time, an American built locomotive steamed into Paddington Station. Acute shortages of locomotives on the GW network due to locomotives being sent overseas caused operational problems that threatened to affect the service the Company could offer to both the government and the general public. This was alleviated in part by borrowing locomotives from other British Railway Companies and also reinstating previously withdrawn engines back into service. In 1942 however, a number of American locomotives were shipped over to Britain to assist the domestic transport network. In a ceremony held at Paddington Station on the 11th December 1942, United States 2-8-0 tender locomotive No. 1604, pictured here adorned with the British and American flags, was formally handed over to Lord Leathers, Minister of War Transport, by Colonel N.A. Ryan, Chief of Transportation for the American Army, who stated that he hoped the locomotive "will do as good work for you as British Engines have done already for us"

© STEAM Museum of the GWR

LMS coach no.6204 converted to an ambulance train car, 1939 Featured Second World War Image

LMS coach no.6204 converted to an ambulance train car, 1939

This official photograph of an ambulance train car was taken on behalf of the Swindon Works Drawing Office in October 1939. This is one of 16 LMS 57ft corridor third class coaches that were converted at Swindon during late 1939 for use in ambulance trains both at home and overseas. Car no. 6204, featured in this image, was converted into an administrative car that formed part of an ambulance train for use on Britain's railways. The administrative car was comprehensively fitted out with a sick officers compartment, kit store, pharmacy compartment, office and medical store. The exterior of the car was painted khaki with a white and red cross in the centre of the body on each side, and it is interesting to note that blackout precautions were taken into account during the conversion of the vehicles with all the external windows of the carriage painted black