Train Layout

The Plateau Line was constructed as far as ‘Loop’ to support the Somme offensive of July 1916. The front at that time passed between Maricourt and Trones Wood. The line was extended to Trones Wood by October of 1916. In November of 1917, most of the tanks assembled for the attack at Cambrai were staged on the Plateau Line near the ‘Loop’ sidings. Albert and the whole area of the line were taken by the Germans in the offensives of 1918.

The layout plan is significantly compressed from the prototype. The turntables shown on the plan (and which may be added later) do not appear on the maps of the line. Since there are no obvious facilities for turning engines, trains may have been run tender first either outbound or returning. Tank engines were not common on ROD lines. In the early war years most engines were 0-6-0s, and many of those were Belgian.

There was no aerodrome on the Plateau Line. The nearest aerodrome I am aware of was at Baizieux, about 15 miles WSW of Albert. It has been relocated to the plateau to provide a display area for 1/144 scale aircraft models. The current Albert airport is located on the plateau.

References:

“Transportation on the Western Front,” A.M. Henniker, Imperial War Museum, 1937, 1992, ISBN 0-89839-179-2.

“The Railway Operating Division on the Western Front,” W.A.T. Aves, 2009, ISBN 978-1-900289-993.

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