RAILS OF VALOR: THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY’S WWII LEGACY
In the midst of World War II, the role of the railroad was pivotal in ways that may surprise you. Beyond transporting civilians and goods, railroads like the Southern Railway stepped onto the front lines. They sponsored Railway Operating Battalions, an initiative that was critical for the Allied forces’ success.
The Southern Railway’s 727th Railway Operating Battalion, comprised of America’s “soldier railroaders,” is a prime example of this effort. These brave men were tasked with an extraordinary mission: to ensure the prompt delivery of equipment and supplies across the varied and often treacherous terrains of North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, and Germany.
Their success was not only in their delivery but also in their valor. The Battalion was decorated with seven Legions of Merit and seven Purple Hearts. Notably, General George S. Patton himself awarded the 727th an official Battalion Commendation. General Patton lauded their “initiative and perseverance… without regard to personal safety,” which, he said, honored the traditions of the Military Railway Service and the service as a whole.
This Veteran’s Day weekend, we pay tribute to the courage and dedication of these soldier railroaders. We invite you to join us on the Missionary Ridge Local to experience a part of the Southern Railway heritage that contributed to the freedoms we enjoy today. As we ride along the same lines that were once a strategic part of the war effort, let us remember and thank all those who have served.
Together, let’s keep the memory of these remarkable contributions to our nation’s history alive. Thank you to all our veterans for your service — we owe you an immeasurable debt of gratitude.
We are honored to provide complimentary admission exclusively to Veterans at our ticket office. Additionally, our Gold Star Families will receive complimentary family admission, also available solely through our ticket office.