Light-rail ammunition train, Belgium

Light-rail ammunition train, Belgium

Although they carried a wide range of cargoes, the primary function of First World War light railways was delivering shells to artillery batteries or to forward ammunition dumps for final delivery by mule train. From its formation in February 1917 to the end of the Third Battle of Ypres in November that year, the 5th (New Zealand) Light Railway Company transported 138,000 tons of ammunition, accounting for 56% of its total freight tonnage.

This photograph shows an ammunition train hauled by a petrol tractor in the Ypres Salient in August 1917, while horse-drawn wagons and motor vehicles pass by on the road in the background.

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