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Locomotives destroyed in World War 2

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Taunton

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That’s where the Russians got it right, with their broader gauge- it took the Germans quite a bit of time to re-gauge the railways as they advanced and it then spread their rolling stock even thinner.
As I have written here before ...

Czar Nikolai I (1796-1855) was Czar from 1825. He took a particular personal interest in railway development in Russia, it was he who sent the first Russian engineers in 1840 to study the London & Southampton when under construction. The engineers described how "standard gauge" was being used all round Europe, you could soon take the train right across. This was the last thing the Czar wanted, who had been a junior army officer when Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812. Separate gauge and incompatible rolling stock please, not having that happen again. His engineering cleverness showed with a gauge just 4" wider, which made it it difficult/impossible with then-ubiquitous outside bearings to design adaptable dual gauge or convertible stock.

100 years on it was exactly this which considerably thwarted the German advance. There were no effective roads then either.
 
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Dr_Paul

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Going off topic, but if the gas chambers were made unusable due to bombing, the Nazi’s would have just used a different method. The gas chambers weren’t the start of the murders, they were just a way to make it more efficient, less arduous and less psychologically distressing for those doing the killings. So either way, the killings would have still happened.

You do have to contemplate how the German war effort may have fared differently if all that rolling stock, capacity and effort was put to productive use instead, so it may well have ultimately contributed significantly to Germany’s military defeat.
The first point is very true: some other form of mass murder would have ensued, probably the revival of the Einsatzgruppen and police department firing squads.

The second point has been raised elsewhere but has also been countered by historians who claim that the proportion of rail transport that was used to deport people to the various concentration and extermination camps was very small compared to that used for military purposes. Unfortunately, I don't have the references to hand. I think that had bombing railway lines been seen as a feasible way to clog German military transport in Eastern Europe, it would have been carried out once sufficiently close aerodromes could be established. That this didn't happen strongly suggests that the various authorities realised the technical difficulties of disabling railway lines though high-level bombing.
That’s where the Russians got it right, with their broader gauge- it took the Germans quite a bit of time to re-gauge the railways as they advanced and it then spread their rolling stock even thinner.
That's true, but it's been a right pain otherwise, adding time and therefore costs with transhipment or bogie changes at the old Soviet borders. I think that only country outwith the Soviet Union that shared the five-foot gauge was Finland. Once the current difficulties have been sorted out and Europe/China rail-borne trade resumes, the old problem will reassert itself.
 

Taunton

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That's true, but it's been a right pain otherwise, adding time and therefore costs with transhipment or bogie changes at the old Soviet borders. I think that only country outwith the Soviet Union that shared the five-foot gauge was Finland. Once the current difficulties have been sorted out and Europe/China rail-borne trade resumes, the old problem will reassert itself.
Finland was of course part of Russia when the railways were built; it only became an independent country in 1917. Until recent moments the railway there was still substantially plugged into the Russian one, with major flows of bulk freight both ways. There is an EU proposal to build a rail tunnel under the sea from Finland to Estonia, a project seemingly even bigger than the Channel Tunnel, and in best Brussels EU bureaucrat style it is specified to be standard gauge - notwithstanding that the rail networks on both sides, Finland and Estonia, are 5'0" Russian gauge.

I think the Russians would be pretty OK with various trans-shipment issues if they thereby thwarted being completely overrun in 1941 - it was bad enough what actually happened. Incidentally, there was a substantial 5'0" gauge penetrating line built through into Czechoslovakia in the socialist era to serve various heavy industries, which has actually had recent past proposals to be extended to Vienna.
 

DarloRich

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How many locomotives were destroyed before even reaching the west/ How many went down in the Atlantic as deck cargo on destroyed freighters?

One of the best examples I know of is SS Thistlegorm in the Red Sea. She went down in 1941 after being bombed. She was loaded with war supplies including 2 LMS Stanier Class 8F steam locomotives as deck cargo bound for Egyptian Railways. Here is a picture which does not belong to me:

Thistlegorm - locomotive by davido69, on Flickr

The tenders are still chained to the deck of the ship and the ship is stuffed with Bedford trucks. motorcycles, bren gun carriers, ammunition, boots and all manner of other stuff.
I have seen it stated that as at the effective end of WWII German occupation of France; only one in ten of the SNCF's "on paper" locomotive fleet, was actually in operable condition. In the light of the above, that looks only too believable. (Hence all those North-American-built 141Rs, obtained and put into service as soon as possible !)
The German occupation policy of just robbing everything from occupied countries to keep things looking normal in Germany is probably partly responsible for this too. Much French rolling stock ending up on the Eastern Front in support of Operation Barbarossa, where it was probably even more likely to be destroyed than in France with it being a continuous war-zone and seeing much greater partisan activity than France.
There was a railway based resistance movement who were quite successful at buggering things up in ways that looked normal as well as ways that were obviously sabotaged. They also reported on German railway movements. Many were shot or deported. They were praised by De Gaulle at the end of the war.
His engineering cleverness showed with a gauge just 4" wider, which made it it difficult/impossible with then-ubiquitous outside bearings to design adaptable dual gauge or convertible stock.
That seems to be a myth. The Czar hired the American engineer Whistler who suggested the gauge which was supported by Melnikov based on his inspection of American railroads in the 1840's. It was an unintended consequence that it meant there was no commonality of gauge with western Europe
 

geoffk

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The loco was cut-up at Doncaster Works, but surprisingly the tender was put aside and eventually repaired. It was put back into service in 1945 attached to newly built Thompson A2/1 3696 Highland Chieftain.
A B16 4-6-0, no. 925, was destroyed in the same air raid at York.
 

Gloster

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How many locomotives were destroyed before even reaching the west/ How many went down in the Atlantic as deck cargo on destroyed freighters?

A quick skim of Tourret’s book shows 23 8F lost on the way from the UK to the Middle East. 18 USA/TC 2-8-0 appear to have been lost on their way to Europe and 6 en route to Russia; 2 USA/TC 0-6-0T were lost on the way to the Middle East.
 

DarloRich

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A quick skim of Tourret’s book shows 23 8F lost on the way from the UK to the Middle East. 18 USA/TC 2-8-0 appear to have been lost on their way to Europe and 6 en route to Russia; 2 USA/TC 0-6-0T were lost on the way to the Middle East.
intresting - thanks!
 

70014IronDuke

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Baedecker raids were attacks on locations specifically chosen for their cultural and historical significance, something that neither Castle Cary nor Westbury could ever claim. It seems to just have been one of the many raids by single bombers or small groups to cause disruption; the Germans probably has some fire-breathing code name for the type of raid. Baedecker raids tended to be full scale raids involving a fair number of aircraft; a similar single bomber raid on Templecombe station took place two days later.

You are quite correct. Apologies, somehow in my mind Baedecker raids had morphed into 'nuisance raids' mounted by one or two fighter-bombers. But as a place for a single nuisance raider, I'd have thought Westbury offered a far better range of hittable targets than either Templecombe or (especially) Castle Carry. However, maybe Westbury had the odd anti-aircraft gun emplacement.

Did the hun ever go for Yeovil? That could have been fun, explaining to the Obergruppenfliegermeister why you attacked Yeovil Town as opposed to Jcn or Pen Mill :)
Incidentally, there was a substantial 5'0" gauge penetrating line built through into Czechoslovakia in the socialist era to serve various heavy industries,
I believe the Kosice steelworks, in central-south-eastern Slovakia, has a Russian gauge connection to Ukraine. I think it used to be used to bring in iron ore - not sure about recent years.

which has actually had recent past proposals to be extended to Vienna.

Extending that to Vienna pre-Feb 24, 2022 would have been a tough ask. Since then, well ....
 

zwk500

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You are quite correct. Apologies, somehow in my mind Baedecker raids had morphed into 'nuisance raids' mounted by one or two fighter-bombers. But as a place for a single nuisance raider, I'd have thought Westbury offered a far better range of hittable targets than either Templecombe or (especially) Castle Carry. However, maybe Westbury had the odd anti-aircraft gun emplacement.

Did the hun ever go for Yeovil? That could have been fun, explaining to the Obergruppenfliegermeister why you attacked Yeovil Town as opposed to Jcn or Pen Mill :)
It was fairly common if a raid was attacked heavily by defending fighters for the Bombers to look for nearby targets of opportunity and just dump their bombs to allow a quicker flight home, in the hope the enemy would concentrate on the bombers that did press on to the target. At least by attacking a railway junction the crew could claim to have attempted to fulfill their strategic objectives as best they could, something rather harder to justfiy to your senior officers if you've only bombed a field!
 

Gloster

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Did the hun ever go for Yeovil? That could have been fun, explaining to the Obergruppenfliegermeister why you attacked Yeovil Town as opposed to Jcn or Pen Mill :)

There appear to have been ten raids on Yeovil, none of which seem to have had a major effect on the railway; only two bombs hit Westlands. I think that the Cary and Templecombe incidents were probably just aircraft doing a quick in and out raid, a bit like the RAF’s Rhubarb and Rover sorties: a railway junction is a target of some value, so just drop the bombs and clear off before the Spitfires appear.
 

Lloyds siding

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It is- the Allies were dropping the same tonnage on Germany by the end of the war in a month as what the Axis powers dropped on the UK in the entire war.
In the blitzes of 1940-41, on many British cities, some 4.600 tons of bombs were dropped. In comparison: the Allies dropped over 2 million tons of bombs on occuped Europe . In other words the Nazis dropped 2% of the amount the Allies dropped.
The Nazis did however drop 765,000 tons on the eastern front (the Soviets dropped 6.700 tons on Germany).
 
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Taunton

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Losses at sea happen periodically, whether war or not. 16 GM Canada diesels were lost in 1972 from a ship taking them to Morocco, and I believe the New Zealand railways had more than one en-route loss of steam locos built in Britain.
 

Gloster

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Losses at sea happen periodically, whether war or not. 16 GM Canada diesels were lost in 1972 from a ship taking them to Morocco, and I believe the New Zealand railways had more than one en-route loss of steam locos built in Britain.

Sixteen, possibly seventeen, 141R destined for France were lost when the Belpamela was lost in April 1947.
 

randyrippley

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There appear to have been ten raids on Yeovil, none of which seem to have had a major effect on the railway; only two bombs hit Westlands. I think that the Cary and Templecombe incidents were probably just aircraft doing a quick in and out raid, a bit like the RAF’s Rhubarb and Rover sorties: a railway junction is a target of some value, so just drop the bombs and clear off before the Spitfires appear.
Don't think it made much difference to Westlands......my mother was there
Apparently they all ran out of the machine shops to have a look at who was bombing them........they only ran for cover when things started to go bang!

It's surprising that Westland never got more attention from the Germans given the key role in building Spitfires. Westland were the design authority for the Merlin engined versions. When you consider how heavily Bristol Aircraft at Filton were attacked, Westland got off lightly. Yet the Germans knew the plant was there: it was photographed on one of the pre-war Zeppelin spying missions
 
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neilmc

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Forward twenty years from the end of the war and Britain is busily destroying its own railway network and infrastructure, with many of out great steam classes already extinct. In contrast, in Germany hundreds of beautiful red and black Kriegsloks built during the war were still chuffing around on a largely intact network and would do so for around ten more years. Schadenfreude anyone?
 

randyrippley

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I'm trying to remember.........wasn't there a story a couple of years ago of a shipwreck found off Lundy carrying WWII locos which couldn't be accounted for? All the supposed ship borne losses were supposedly known and then these appeared?
Or am I imaging things again?

There appear to have been ten raids on Yeovil, none of which seem to have had a major effect on the railway; only two bombs hit Westlands. I think that the Cary and Templecombe incidents were probably just aircraft doing a quick in and out raid, a bit like the RAF’s Rhubarb and Rover sorties: a railway junction is a target of some value, so just drop the bombs and clear off before the Spitfires appear.
I wouldn't be so sure of that
Break the line at Castle Cary / Westbury and Templecombe and you block both direct lines to Plymouth. Both are potential choke points.
 
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Gloster

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I'm trying to remember.........wasn't there a story a couple of years ago of a shipwreck found off Lundy carrying WWII locos which couldn't be accounted for? All the supposed ship borne losses were supposedly known and then these appeared?

The one off Lundy appears to be SS Balvenie, which was sunk on 24 July 1917 after a collision when carrying locos from Glasgow to St Nazaire, which suggests they were 140C. There is also the SS Saint Chamond which was torpedoed north of St Ives on 28 April 1918 with six 140C on board. (All from wrecksite.)

However, only the six 140C lost on the Saint Chamond are listed on Monsieur Wikipedia’s page, so perhaps there has been some confusion. Could they have been among the ten Pershing lost en route; some were presumably lost on the SS Wilmore on 12 September 1917? We need a railway historian-diver.
 

Sm5

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Extending that to Vienna pre-Feb 24, 2022 would have been a tough ask. Since then, well ....
Austria is not in NATO and has been somewhat sympathetic to Russia often in the past, and the recent present.
OPEC also chose the country as its home.

it might be in the centre of Europe and the EU but its not totally western aligned. You could say similar of its neighbour Hungary, to which their was once political alliance.
 

topydre

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Stats for the British zone of Germany from official reconstruction reports:
1000 track kilometers intact out of 13,000km at the end of WWII. By November 1946 12,000km were operational.
1,300 rail bridges had been destroyed (nearly all of them). By November 1946, 1100 had been rebuilt.
Over half of power units were non-servicable.
5,000 out of 12,000 carriages had been destroyed or had to be written off.
It was also noted that engines were affected by years of neglect and that many sheds were destroyed or roofless with no materials available to repair them.

The speed of track reconstruction seems quite impressive. You'd think there were 4 world powers trying to outdo each other in their various zones of control...
 

etr221

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Finland was of course part of Russia when the railways were built; it only became an independent country in 1917. Until recent moments the railway there was still substantially plugged into the Russian one, with major flows of bulk freight both ways. There is an EU proposal to build a rail tunnel under the sea from Finland to Estonia, a project seemingly even bigger than the Channel Tunnel, and in best Brussels EU bureaucrat style it is specified to be standard gauge - notwithstanding that the rail networks on both sides, Finland and Estonia, are 5'0" Russian gauge.

I think the Russians would be pretty OK with various trans-shipment issues if they thereby thwarted being completely overrun in 1941 - it was bad enough what actually happened. Incidentally, there was a substantial 5'0" gauge penetrating line built through into Czechoslovakia in the socialist era to serve various heavy industries, which has actually had recent past proposals to be extended to Vienna.
The gauge difference between Soviet and European railways worked both ways - while it hindered the German advance to the east, later it was hindering the Red Army as they advanced to the west.

But I do wonder how much of a hindrance it actually was - the impression I have is that a lot of the Soviet network in the German occupied areas was converted to standard gauge, and contrariwise the Soviets were able to run broad guage trains to Berlin in 1945...

And in modern times there is talk of converting railways in the Baltic states (and other ex Soviet countries) to standard gauge.
 

zwk500

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The gauge difference between Soviet and European railways worked both ways - while it hindered the German advance to the east, later it was hindering the Red Army as they advanced to the west.

But I do wonder how much of a hindrance it actually was - the impression I have is that a lot of the Soviet network in the German occupied areas was converted to standard gauge, and contrariwise the Soviets were able to run broad guage trains to Berlin in 1945...
Not helped by both sides deploying railway demolition plows as well, of course.
And in modern times there is talk of converting railways in the Baltic states (and other ex Soviet countries) to standard gauge.
Not overly serious talk, it must be said. The new rail Baltica will be standard gauge, but AIUI there is no expectation of widespread regauging of the existing networks. Finland recently had a report that looked into it and advised it would be such a poor value investment not to bother asking the question again.
 

Dr_Paul

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Not helped by both sides deploying railway demolition plows as well, of course.

Not overly serious talk, it must be said. The new rail Baltica will be standard gauge, but AIUI there is no expectation of widespread regauging of the existing networks. Finland recently had a report that looked into it and advised it would be such a poor value investment not to bother asking the question again.
I imagine that dealing with the non-compatibility of gauges in Eastern Europe and beyond will be influenced by the geopolitics emerging from the current war in Ukraine. If, as I suspect will be the outcome, there is a 'frozen war' with a de facto new Russia/Ukraine border more or less where the front line is today, under political conditions which militate against east/west trade, then the pressure would be for rebuilding Ukrainian infrastructure in a way to be compatible with its western neighbours, including regauging railways to standard gauge. There might also be pressure to regauge the Baltic states and Finland to standard gauge, as their trade and political orientation would also be be increasingly westwards. I'm presuming that Byelorussia will remain a Russian ally and would stay at five feet. For its part, Russia will almost certainly 'look south', and might come under some pressure from a much stronger China to regauge at some point to standard gauge if this suits Beijing to do so.

Perhaps we should move this end of the thread to 'Speculative Discussion'.
 

zwk500

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I imagine that dealing with the non-compatibility of gauges in Eastern Europe and beyond will be influenced by the geopolitics emerging from the current war in Ukraine. If, as I suspect will be the outcome, there is a 'frozen war' with a de facto new Russia/Ukraine border more or less where the front line is today, under political conditions which militate against east/west trade, then the pressure would be for rebuilding Ukrainian infrastructure in a way to be compatible with its western neighbours, including regauging railways to standard gauge. There might also be pressure to regauge the Baltic states and Finland to standard gauge, as their trade and political orientation would also be be increasingly westwards. I'm presuming that Byelorussia will remain a Russian ally and would stay at five feet. For its part, Russia will almost certainly 'look south', and might come under some pressure from a much stronger China to regauge at some point to standard gauge if this suits Beijing to do so.

Perhaps we should move this end of the thread to 'Speculative Discussion'.
Yes, the outcome of the War in Ukraine is very far from certain. However I do not see Russia regauging - for one thing, if it's in a position to have that level of pressure applied by Beijing, it won't have the money to regauge. But yes this is speculative and very far from the topic.
 

70014IronDuke

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Austria is not in NATO and has been somewhat sympathetic to Russia often in the past, and the recent present.
OPEC also chose the country as its home.
I'm quite aware of Austria's military neutrality.

It was part of the 1955 treaty which saw the Soviets leave Austria after occupying chunks post WW2.

(Although I'm told that had a general conflict broken out during the Cold War, in fact Nato would have co-operated with the Austrian defence forces to stop the tanks reaching Germany and Italy - I don't know how true that is, however.)

OPEC and the UN settled in Vienna partly on the basis of Austria's neutrality.

I also have some awareness of how Austria and the Austrian business elite played (and still play) something of a double game with the Soviets/Russians and the west. However, when it comes to the ordinary Volk, I'm sure 98% would want nothing to do with the USSR or Russia. And for good reason. Tens, maybe hundres of thousands of Austrians alive today know that their grandmother or her mother was raped by Red Army troops in April-May 1945.

it might be in the centre of Europe and the EU but its not totally western aligned.
But, for any new link from Kosice to Vienna to be built, you can be sure Slovakia would want EU funding. That would not be available for a Russian-gauge line.

Just for the record, I find it hard to believe any such line could be justified commercially. There is not much between Kosice and Bratislava, unless you dip into Hungary and serve Budapest. BICBW.
You could say similar of its neighbour Hungary, to which their was once political alliance.
Totally different situations, both in 1867 and today.
 

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The loco was rebuilt and ended up at Longmoor as Sir Guy Williams.
I must admit that I had no idea that it ended up as part of the Longmoor fleet. Very interesting.
 

Taunton

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I also have some awareness of how Austria and the Austrian business elite played (and still play) something of a double game with the Soviets/Russians and the west. However, when it comes to the ordinary Volk, I'm sure 98% would want nothing to do with the USSR or Russia.
I view things somewhat differently, having quite an awareness (posts elsewhere here) of Eastern Europe and Vienna. The city in socialist times was quite surrounded, close in, by Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia. Nowadays it's only about 30 minutes by taxi from Vienna airport to the Slovak border. It, along with West Berlin, became a principal "transit" point in cold war times between the two ideologies. The Austrian airline probably served more of socialist Eastern Europe, including multiple Soviet cities, than any other airline. Vienna as a capital is out of all proportion in size for Austria. Of course, it had before 1918 been the capital city of all these countries, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and even nowadays you can find many reminders of this, and a little wistfulness.

Out by the airport is the vast Schwechat oil refinery. When I first saw this in the 1970s, being used to UK refineries only being on the coast, it seemed odd to find such in the middle of a continent. It was a 1950s joint Austrian-Soviet project, at the end of oil and gas pipelines from Siberia, and supplied Austria and many of the surrounding countries. Such a pipeline set seems a close parallel to proposals for a 5'0" gauge rail line.

Incidentally, the tram museum in Vienna (do visit if there, it's a good one) has quite a lengthy presentation about the Marxist near-revolution in Austria (principally Vienna) in the late 1920s, which the tramway crews played a significant part in. I actually haven't seen much mention of this elsewhere, but it's extensively described there. And it's a wonderful city to visit all round.
 

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There was a railway based resistance movement who were quite successful at buggering things up in ways that looked normal as well as ways that were obviously sabotaged. They also reported on German railway movements. Many were shot or deported. They were praised by De Gaulle at the end of the war.
Maquis were general members of the resistance, one of their acts was to sabotage signalling on the Paris to Lille line, causing a head on collision between two German troop trains, over 200 died.
Cheminots were specifically railway workers. The movement began sporadically and uncordinated then becoming more organised. Favourite tactics were to swap wagon labels, or label wagons of German supplies as defective, in order to delay or lose them.
Many French locomotive depots were roundhouses, another favourite was to derail a locomotive on the turntable, better still for it to fall into the turntable pit, which would hold everything up until a crane could rerail the locomotive.
A single incident during La Batile du Rail was to destroy 14 locomotives with explosives at one shed.
Around 100 Cheminots were either executed or sent to concentration camps.
As well as the 1964 film, The Train, La Batile du Rail was a 1946 film on the subject, using several real French railwaymen
 
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