In the early 20th century, 96% of all jobs on the U.S. rail network were male. But by the start of WWI, it fell on women to fill in for them as ticket conductors, booth operators and even porters hauling luggage.
World War I railways proved that they could rapidly mobilize troops and deliver supplies to the front lines, but there would be a price to pay for all that efficiency. Discover the crucial role that the locomotive industry played on both sides of the conflict. See how Germany swept through Western Europe by hijacking their railway networks, and how Belgium resisted that invasion by sabotaging their own trains. By speeding up the pace of war, trains ultimately increased the body count and lengthened the war.
Watch this episode online now.
Stream hundreds of shows by starting your free trial to Smithsonian Channel Plus. Check the availability of this title and explore our vast library of original documentaries and series.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.