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This book covers how railways have transported the sick and wounded from the earliest days of railways. Ambulance trains used in times of conflict in the 19th and 20th centuries moved millions away from front lines to relative safety and treatment. Practice in the two World Wars and the contributions of the railway companies and their workshops are covered in particular detail with illustrations. The book concludes with how trains are now providing hope and medical treatment for communities in developing countries. 

A special exhibition of an Ambulance Coach was opened at the NRM in 2016 in time for the 100th commemoration of the end of the Great War in 1918. Many of these coaches were built or converted from existing vehicles to carry home the wounded from the battle fields and it was found that no book had ever been written specifically on these invaluable vehicles which saved so many soldiers’ lives. Trains of Hope describes the story of those who built them, travelled on them and worked on them during many different conflicts. The first ambulance train was actually hauled by Rocket, when it was pressed onto service to carry William Huskisson MP to hospital in 1830 after being hit by a passing train. Sadly, he didn’t make it to the hospital, only to pass away in a nearby house soon after the accident.  This book covers ambulance trains right into the 1950s cold-war period, when they were on standby.  All are now stood-down.

Trains of Hope

  • The history of ambulance trains from the nineteenth century to the present day, with many illustrations, by Mike Peart.
    (64 pages, 30cm x 21cm, Softback)

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