How the birth of the railway won wars, to be explored at event

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How the birth of the railways shaped how wars were fought and won, will be the subject of a public event in London next month.

Renowned transport journalist and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Transport Research, Christian Wolmar will launch his new book Engines of War, on September 28 at the German Gymnasium in King’s Cross.

Proceeds from the event – which is hosted by the Centre for Transport Research – will go to the charity, Railway Children, which works for the runaway and abandoned children who live in or around the world’s railway stations.

Engines of War is Mr Wolmar’s 18th book and one of numerous he has written on rail and the London Underground.

It explores the way in which the emergence of the railway in the early 1830s transformed how wars were conducted, making armies more mobile and greatly increasing the scale and power of available weaponry.

The book focuses on the major conflicts which took place over more than a century, including the Crimean War, American Civil War, both world wars, the Korean War, and the Cold War.

Mr Wolmar will present an illustrated lecture outlining the book’s content, before taking questions from the audience.

Mr Wolmar said: ‘When I started researching the book, I knew that railways played a vital part in several wars. But I was totally unaware of just how great was their importance which means, in effect, that most of the wars between the mid nineteenth and mid twentieth century were in effect railway wars. The railways, that benign invention that helped generate great wealth, were also the engines of war.’

Professor John Nelson, Director of the Centre for Transport Research said: “The University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Transport Research is delighted to host this event, which will provide a unique insight from one of the UK’s leading transport commentators, into how a major development in transport, so dramatically shaped how wars were fought and won.”

The event takes place at the German Gymnasium on Tuesday, September 28 with doors opening at 6pm.

Tickets to the event cost £15 with proceeds going to Railway Children.

Tickets are available from Railway Children, contact 01270 757596.


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