Ambulance Trains

Step into a forgotten first world war story


discover an untold story at the National railway museum

free entry from 7 July 2016

Our new exhibition tells the forgotten story of the ambulance trains used to evacuate sick and injured troops on an unprecedented scale during the First World War.

About the Exhibition

Step on board a historic railway carriage and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of a First World War ambulance train.

Ambulance trains carried millions of sick and injured soldiers to safety throughout the 1914-1918 conflict. Join us to discover this untold story, by moving through the carriage and exploring a ward, a pharmacy and a nurses’ mess room.

Ambulance Trains brings this little-known story to life through digital projection, film and sound. Delve into moving stories of staff and passengers told in their own words, through rarely seen wartime letters, diaries, photographs and drawings.

Take a trip on an ambulance train to get a glimpse of life on board.

Soldiers on a station platform having been unloaded from an Ambulance Carriage

Learning Resources

Explore the realm of First World War ambulance trains through our new and innovative learning programme for Key Stage 3 pupils.

Discover the significance of the railway industry and ambulance trains during the 1914-1918 conflict through our programme of activities.

Learn about the life-changing journeys of wounded soldiers and join in with our immersive theatre experience, interactive show and exciting exhibition trail. Our free online archive resources are also available for your research.

The fallen railwaymen 

A picture of a fallen railwayman as recorded in our database

W.H. Duck - Private in 8th King's Own Light Infantry. One of 20,000 railway workers that fell during the First World War.

Between 1914 and 1918, hundreds of thousands of Britain’s railway workers left their jobs to fight in the First World War – from cleaners, locomotive drivers, porters and carriage builders. Over 20,000 never returned.

Thanks to 10 years of careful research by our staff and volunteers, you can explore moving stories of the railwaymen who lost their lives through our extensive database.