An event with

Christian Wolmar

The Liberation Line : The Last Untold Story of the Normandy Landings

Thursday 9th May 2024 at 6:30pm

Owl Bookshop

Tickets £6.00

Join us at the Owl Bookshop in Kentish Town for a talk with local author and railway expert Christian Wolmar. His latest book The Liberation Line is published on 2nd of May and is available for preorder here


‘A masterful account of the unsung heroes of the battle for Normandy. Without the valiant efforts of the British and American railwaymen, the liberation of France might have had a very different outcome. A gripping tale.’ Giles Milton

They certainly were not soldiers, yet they suddenly found themselves in uniform, in a foreign land.

But, as locomotive drivers, track-workers, conductors, porters, signalmen and engine cleaners, they knew how to run trains. And their job was to bring them back to life. The Liberation Line tells the thrilling story of the British and American railway engineers who, in the months after D-Day, worked around the clock and in great danger to rebuild the ravaged railways of Europe and keep the Allied forces fuelled as they pushed on into Germany.

As territory was taken, these soldier-railroaders were close behind, rebuilding the lines, putting up telegraph wires, replacing bridges and laying track, all the while dodging bullets, shells and booby traps. Tales of extraordinary feats and heroism abound, including how 10,000 men rebuilt a 135-mile-long railway in just three days; the reconstruction of the bridge over the Seine in two weeks while under bombardment; and the use of cigarette lighters as improvised signalling systems. Despite being critical to Allied victory, the role of the railwaymen has been largely forgotten or ignored.

In a vivid and gripping narrative, Christian Wolmar brings to life this colourful cast of generals and engineers, without whose extraordinary bravery the liberation of France and invasion of Germany might well have foundered – and the course of history changed.

Event Details

Thursday 9th May 2024 Event starts at 6:30pm

Venue address:

Owl Bookshop
207-209 Kentish Town Road,
Kentish Town,
London NW5 2JU

View on map