U.S. railroad history during World War I, in both its civilian and military aspects, is a fascinating and incredible story. Domestically, the federal government actually “took over” the Class I railroads until 1921. Overseas, the United States Army operated its own trains with American equipment in France. It constructed over 1,000 miles of standard gauge rail in France and hundreds of miles of narrow gauge to the trenches. The Army also sent soldiers to north Russia and to Siberia to operate and to protect American locomotives and freight cars. U.S. production of tracks and equipment was absolutely astounding not to mention the logistics of transporting locomotives and cars to three regions of the globe. It is a little-known fact that the U.S. railroad operations in France brought the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918!
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