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Narrow gauge railways at Ypres


kebabking
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Having been inspired by the photo on De Diggers site (51) and being a lapsed railway buff I wish to start a new project.(If anyone can put forum link in please do)

What I wish to do is make a complete picture of the railway system at Ypres including narrow gauge.

I am assuming that the system was "fluid" and therefore wish to make a snap shot of the area on one given day.

From the brief investigations so far it would appear early 1918 would be the time when the system was at its most intricate.

So when would be the best date to focus upon where the most information is available.

I would appreciate any ideas from those conversant with maps of the time, and from those with any other suggestions.

I have "searched" the site and have what little info there is herein

What am I letting myself in for?????

EDIT

There is some confusion of where the pic is

Classic threads-Harvest with the diggers....... post 51

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You're a better man than I am.....

Might I suggest start with one of the detailed trench maps for the period - they are avaiable through the IWM

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You're a better man than I am.....

Might I suggest start with one of the detailed trench maps for the period - they are avaiable through the IWM

Cheers delta

Thats how I figured it too.

Not having seen many trench maps ( where I got the idea) I was hoping that the more informed pals could provide the date which would glean the most info.

If anyone has photos of narrow gauge in Ypres not just trains but just tracks as well e.g. The picture of Menin Gate with track running through it, ( have this one)I would be gratefull for a peep.

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post-20694-1177505036.jpg

After several attempts my son has loaded picture

Phew! Hard work this

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Keba,

This is from the History of the 8th Royal Scots,Pioneers to the 51st(Highland)Division.

Ypres

"Also worthy of note was the fine performance of constructing the light railway from Morteldge Dump,past "Minty"and "Palace"farms,Mon du Rasta,to the Langemark Road,which in the battles of September and October 1917,proved to be of invaluable service".

A few place names someone may bwe able to find on a Map.

George

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If you can get hold of them, here are two books to look for:

Light Railways of the First World War, By W.J.K Davies. Published 1967.

Chronicles of the 20th Light Railways Train Crews Co., Royal Engineers with the BEF France 1917-19.

Also you could look for the 'WD' at the 'NA' Kew.

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The Ypres League map of the salient shows broad and light gauge. Used to be (may still be) available from the Western Front Association.

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Cheers Monstar

Have ordered a great raft of books from library

Will add "Chronicles" to the list.

What I am hoping to do is record the Main Railway/Light Railway/Narrow Gauge network so to build a picture of how supplies were delivered to The Front.

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Thanks Chris. How do I contact them.

Have had a PM from Frans (diggers) who is inquiring for me next week at their Records Office as to best way to proceed.

Any suggestions here would be very appreciated still

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The Ypres League map of the salient shows broad and light gauge. Used to be (may still be) available from the Western Front Association.

OK found them

£22 to join

What do I get that I dont here please anyone

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I don't know enough about railways to know if this is a help or not.

There is a WW1 light railway in daily use on Hythe Pier, Hampshire. I don't know if it is the same as the sort of light railway that they had in France/Belgium?

It was obtained as "War Surplus" and carried mustard Gas at Avonmouth:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNJqRAF1I28

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Thats terrific Beppo

Thanks very much

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WJK Davies is the classic on the subject - but copies seem to change hands for silly money and one specialised railway dealer once told me he had a list of six customers lined up for any copies he could find. The most I've seena copy advertised for is a little over £400 but £50 - £90 is typical. Good luck with the library request. There is also an american volume on the topic, but probably of less help for the Ypres area. Good starting places to look at "the real thing" are the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway and the line with which it is twinned in France APPEVA or CFD (Chemin de fer Froissy-Cappy-Dompierre). The developing Moseley Railway Trust and its website may also prove useful.

Good Luck

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I have'nt heard of the WJK Davis book so its one that I will keep a lookout for however having a railway interest I have copies of Narrow Gauge at War Vol's 1 & 2.

Whilst Vol 1 is out of print and going in excess £50, Vol 2 is still available from Plateway Press at Plateway.co.uk. Good number of photographs of narrow gauge engines and the

sort of work they were use for.

Best wishes with the project.

Malcolm

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There's a great little book called "The light track to Arras" which you should be able to, ahem, track down. It's about 31st LROC RE.

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Thanks to all you guys keep the info coming

I think I had better explain what I have in mind.

First many thanks to Croonaert for the use of maps from the excellent

www.pathsofglory.co.uk

In the above extract page 3 on Paths Poperinge July 1918 you can see the MAIN railway (Standard Gauge line built before tThe War started) running up through Pop and west towards Ypres.

Running north from this line appears an extensive network of what I assume is Light Railway ( Standard Gauge but built to a lower spec).Exchange sidings etc are shown.

At the botton (south of Main Line) is what I assume is a narrow gauge line.More details are available on PATHS

In the second extract ,(shown next post) PATHS page 3 Ypres to Hellfire Corner July 1918 similar can be seen ( focus on Pickering and then the Narrow Gauge can be seen.

What I want to do is construct the details of the whole Salient.

Not easy but possible if I focus on one date from the Trench Maps.

Now the hard bit

Upon the skeleton of the Rail Network I wish to put the flesh of who was where.

I want to take one date and try and record where the units were on that date.

It will be more an excercise in those NOT fighting ,showing all the backup facilities for the Front Line.

Any info about anything Railway will help no matter how insignificant.

I intend to restrict to Ypres Salient and the British network however if anyone has info on German system it would be gratefully received

I would also be pleased to recieve any advice from anyone (good or bad)

This is where you PALS come in with your intricate expertese.

I know it appears a mammoth task and will take years not months but I am willing to give it a go.

post-20694-1177923031.jpg

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Ypres To Hellfire Corner July 1918 from www.pathsofglory.co.uk page 3 Trench map extracts

post-20694-1177923243.jpg

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Hi,

Interesting project! As Frans allready suggested get in contact with the In Flanders Fields documentation center in Ypres, they will have some interesting trench maps that can help you a lot further. Only problem is that you will have to go down there to look at them, as they don't supply photocopies anymore...

They also have a very large collection of aereal photographs, but they are mostle 1915-1916-1917. May I suggest you contact the Imperial War Museum? Their aereal reconnaissance library should hold a great deal of information for you.

regards,

Bert

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  • 4 weeks later...

Have a look in the Landships Forum. From time to time there has been quite a bit of discussion and postings on trench railways and there are a couple of specialists who contribute from time to time. You'll probably need to use the search facility which is a little erratic but seems to have settled down recently

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You might also find the Linesman system of use, as it has a huge number of early 1918 secret editions which show the British railway system behind the lines and right up to the battlefield area.

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Thanks for the help lads

Toffo

Shame some of the links are redundant but whats left is nice

Centurion

Am unsure of your meaning of Landships forum. Is it on here or another web site??

That link to trainweb.org is UNBELIEVABLE. Special thanks for that.

Paul

Am going to IWM to view what they have. I just want a snap shot of one day in Ypres Salient. As far as I can tell the Linesman thingee is too broad for my needs,(Unless you know otherwise).

Bear in mind that my interest lies behind the lines with all the supporting units and not the front line trenchs although the trench tramways would have supplied the trenchs.

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