Railway Operating Division

The Railway Operating Division (ROD) was a division of the Royal Engineers formed in 1915 to operate railways in the many theatres of the First World War. It was largely composed of railway employees and operated both standard gauge and narrow gauge railways.

The ROD operated their first line on a section of the HazebrouckYpres line.[1] The work was carried out by former employees of the London and North Western Railway.[1]

The ROD requisitioned many diverse locomotives from Britain's railway companies and leased several Belgian locomotives sent to France in 1914, but as the war dragged on adopted the Great Central Railway's Robinson Class 8K 2-8-0 as its standard freight locomotive to become the ROD 2-8-0. Some locomotives were also purchased from Baldwin in the United States.

They also operated narrow-gauge engines (meter gauge or 600 millimetres (2.0 ft) gauge trains).

After the war, requisitioned locomotives returned to their foreign owners.

  • the ROD 2-8-0 were stored in Great Britain and sold to several British companies between 1919 and 1927.
  • the Baldwin locomotives were sold as military surplus ; most of them ended up in Belgium and France.

See also


  1. Westwood, John Norton (1980). Railways at war. London: Ospray. p. 153. ISBN 0850453194.

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