Railway troops

In August 1914 the railway troops consisted of one company which was part of the Engineers in the Fortified Position of Antwerp. After the fall of Antwerp this unit came under the command of the General Headquarters and played a very important part in the provisioning and the transport of troops. In February 1915 a battalion of railway troops was established consisting of two companies, one company standard gauge (track gauge of 1,435 mm) and one company local railway (track gauge of 1,000 mm).

In 1917 the unit was expanded with an additional company, and finally in 1918 it comprised four companies, among which one company narrow-gauge railway (track gauge of 600 mm).

Overview of the most important missions that were carried out by the railway troops:


  • Building, driving and arming armoured trains.
  • Destruction of railways (‘ghost trains’).


  • As from 2 January the railway troops made sure that the main and local railways east of Adinkerke were running smoothly and they kept on doing this until the offensive in 1918.
  • Construction of a railway line around Veurne.
  • Construction of the railway line Adinkerke – Klein Leizele and the railway line Klein Leizele – Hoogstade– Linde.


  • Construction of the railway line Veurne – Koksijde – Oostduinkerke.
  • Construction of positions for heavy railway guns.


  • Construction of positions for heavy railway guns in Avekapelle.
  • Expansion of the Coudekerque railway station (France).
  • Repair of the rails destroyed by German troops in the Somme and Oise region (France) with 40 kilometres of railways and 137 metres of railway bridges.
  • Construction of railways in Avekapelle – Fortem – Izenberge – Fortem-Grognie – Hoogstade–Loo-Fortem for the Flanders Offensive.


  • Construction of a narrow-gauge railway.
  • Repair of railways.