Railroads played an integral role in the Second World War. Trains
brought food, munitions, and essential supplies. They transported
troops. They were a means of escape for those fleeing persecution. At
the same, they were used to transport innocent people to their deaths.
Yet there was one kind of train that improved the chances of survival
every time they rolled through the battle-worn towns and cities of the
European theatre of war.
Hospital trains were not a new concept in the Second World War, but
their use was instrumental in this most deadly conflict of the twentieth
century. Regular passenger trains were converted into mobile emergency
wards tending to the critically wounded. It was an elegant solution, as
train cars could be refitted with tier beds, and supplies could be
easily transported along with medical staff.
A Different Track introduces readers to the world of hospital
trains of the Second World War. From the nurses who ran them to the
factories that manufactured them, this book looks at how these trains
quietly altered the fortunes of the world. From Canada's contributions
to the role of women who both healed the sick and built the trains, this
is a fascinating look at one of the hidden nuggets of history.