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Home Front – Troop Train Redux

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From Penney Vanderbilt…..

Although I write many articles on scheduled train travel, I’m really much more interested in special movements (Presidential specials, circus trains and the like). One type of special movement important throughout American rail history has been troop trains. The first war in which trains were used to carry Americans to battle was the Mexican War in 1846. Trains were first used on a large scale to transport armies in the Civil War. Extensive use of trains to carry troops occurred in both World Wars. These trains were referred to by railroad personnel as “mains”.

Equipment on board

Between 1941 and 1945 almost all American soldiers rode a train at some point (over 40 million military personnel). In addition, military personnel on leave as well as POW’s rode the rails. During this period, railroads committed on average a quarter of their coaches and half their Pullmans to running troop trains ,of which there were about 2500 a month. Some months they carried over a million riders and on some days as many as 100,000 traveled. Many of these trains ran over normally freight-only lines, especially if accessing a military base.

Mansfield, MA

Railroads such as the Pennsylvania and the New Haven committed even more of their equipment because of their strategic locations. Filling an ocean liner in New York or Boston harbor with 13,000 troops involved as many as 21 trains. These might require over 200 coaches, 40+ baggage cars and over 30 kitchen cars.

Troop movements of over 12 hours were assigned Pullman space, if available. Pullmans sometimes slept 30,000 members of the armed services a night. This effort was helped by the fact that Pullman had about 2,000 surplus cars, mostly tourist sleepers, which had been stored instead of scrapped. When extra equipment was required for larger-than-normal troop movements, the government would request removal of sleeping cars from all passenger runs less than 450 miles. This resulted in extra standard sleepers for those times when, for instance, many troops from Europe were being transferred to the Pacific.

In 1943 and again in 1945, the government ordered 1200 troop sleepers from Pullman-Standard and 440 troop kitchen cars from ACF. These designs were based on a 50-foot box car equipped with “full-cushion” trucks capable of 100 mph. The center-door sleepers slept 30 in three-tiered, crosswise bunks. While not up to the same standards as the rest of its equipment, Pullman treated these cars service-wise as if they were the same – linen and bedding changed daily, etc.

To view the original post…..

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Norman Rockwell’s Life on a Troop Train – 

‘Night on a Troop Train’ 5843

 

 

 

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Military Humor – Rockwell’s “Wilbur the Jeep” – 

Uuh…. ?

Uuh… guys…?

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ronald Addis – Vanderbilt, PA; US Navy, WWII, 3rd Cl. Petty Officer, radioman

Fred Bacot – Mobile, AL; US Navy, WWII

Wreath ceremony, Hawaii

John Bunton – NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII, 2nd Independent Brigade

Bernard D’Orazio – NYC, NY; USMC

Norman Edwards – Cheboygan, MI; US Navy, WWII / US Coast Guard, Korea & Vietnam

Ralph Johnston – OK; US Army, Korea

Upson Kyte – Akron, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Korea, 11th Airborne Division

John Roberts – Palm Beach Gardens, FL; US Navy, Korea, Medical Corps

Norman Rosenfield – Chelsea, MA; US Army, WWII, PTO

Robert Simpson Jr. – Philadelphia, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Ensign

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