Episode Guide

Season 1

Episode Guide

The Death Railway

S1 E1
Jun 19, 2017
It was one of the most accomplished engineering feats of World War II, but also one of the cruelest. The Thai-Burma Railway, built to supply Japan's invasion of India, cut through mountains and jungles and required over 600 bridges, including the legendary bridge over the River Kwai. But the mission came at the expense of thousands of Allied POWs who were forced to build it. This is the story of the construction of this 258-mile railway, including the notorious Hellfire Pass, through the accounts of veterans who lived to tell the tale.

Ambulance Trains

S1 E2
Jun 26, 2017
The dawn of the locomotive meant better-equipped armies during wartime, longer battles, and more casualties. Trains were part of the problem, but also part of the solution. During the Crimean and American Civil War, locomotives not only transported soldiers to the front lines, but also picked up and cared for the wounded on the return trip. See how these ambulance trains were used in the 19th century and during World War I, and learn how doctors and nurses worked around the clock to provide care while rolling in and out of war zones.

Nazi Railway

S1 E3
Jul 03, 2017
Throughout the 1930s, Germany touted the technological superiority of its high-speed trains, and during World War II, the German railway would leave a lasting mark on history. See how the German locomotive industry was used to create a fully functioning fuhrer headquarters on wheels and a deadly mobile cannon. We also reveal the Nazi railway's most shameful role in the Holocaust, and how an entire railway network, involving thousands of people, was used to carry out mass murder.

WWI

S1 E4
Jul 10, 2017
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.

WWII The Home Front

S1 E5
Jul 17, 2017
In the 1940s, Britain's railways were repeatedly relied upon to serve the war effort, and time and again, they delivered. They moved millions of children from the bombs of London to the relative safety of the countryside and rescued thousands of retreating soldiers at Dunkirk. We detail how Britain's trains functioned so well while under severe attack, and show tales of heroism involving the railway staff. We then feature a small Hampshire station that played a large role in the biggest amphibious invasion the world has ever known.

Critical Cargo

S1 E6
Jul 24, 2017
One train ride launched the career of a global leader. Another brought home a revolutionary hero. One was used to smuggle treasures stolen by Nazis while another was used to sneak out an even more precious cargo. Join us as we tell the stories of four rail journeys that changed modern history, involving Churchill, Lenin, Hungarian gold, and the Kindertransport, which saved about 10,000 Jewish children from certain death.

The First Railroad War

S1 E7
Jul 31, 2017
Locomotives transformed the American Civil War into a conflict of unprecedented scale and changed the fundamental nature of warfare for nearly a century. Discover how the combat strategies and techniques involving the railways, used by both Union and Confederate generals, helped dictate the outcome of battles, from Bull Run to the Petersburg Campaign. Then, see how trains both hastened and lengthened the war, and served as the foundation for the Transcontinental Railroad, which ultimately unified the nation after the fighting ended.

Secrets and Lies

S1 E8
Aug 07, 2017
In times of war, whoever controlled the rails had a distinct advantage, but sometimes, disrupting the railways would prove just as vital. We revisit stories of locomotive espionage and sabotage that helped shape modern history. See how Thomas Lawrence became a war hero, and Hollywood celebrity, using his pioneering guerrilla warfare against the railways of the Ottoman Empire. We also examine hidden trainspotters in Belgium, as well as a secret buried under Grand Central Station in New York City.