Falkirk East MP Martyn Day yesterday opened an important new exhibition in Bo’ness - one very different from its typical displays about the great age of steam.
Called From Scotland to the Somme it explains in detail the role that Scotland’s railways played in the First World War, and also the stories of railwaymen (at least one of whom was posthumously awarded the VC) who fought at the front and never came home.
At home, railways moved troops north to Scapa Flow and took wounded soldiers home in ambulance trains, while dealing with additional, often complex freight requirements.
As in every other major contending power in the Great War the railways were also used to convey millions of troops to the killing fields of the 1914 - 1918 conflict.
It has been estimated that no army could survive for long if more than 70 miles from a railhead (supply point), as the colossal quantities of war materiel needed to feed, equip and arm the huge armies of the Great War depended utterly on rail freight.
Ambulance trains operated behind the scenes at the different fronts, and many Scottish locomotives, including the Scottish Railway Preservation Society’s own Maude, were used abroad.
Visitors are being encouraged to take part in the museum’s commemorative art project - which involves creating a poppy to mark each of the Scottish railwaymen who never came back from the war.
The exhibition runs from now until November 11 - the date on which the war on the Western Front ended in 1918.
For more information about the museum visit www.bkrailway.co.uk