Incredible color photos show the women railroad workers who mobilized the American war effort, 1943

During World War II, America's railroads were an important part of the war effort and it is estimated that from 1941 to 1945 trains transported some 44 million American soldiers.

Between the war years of 1942 and 1944, trains carried 98 percent of military personnel and over 90 percent of freight for the military.

These incredible photos show how women in America helped keep the railroads running smoothly and keep this vital part of the war effort. By the end of the war, there were approximately 116,000 women working on railroads across the United States.

The photographs were taken in April 1943 by Office of War Information photographer Jack Delano, who captured the women of the Chicago and North Western Railroad Roundhouse in Clinton, Iowa, as they cleaned, lubricated, maintained, and fixed trains Hawking locomotives .

A 1943 Clique Magazine report stated: "Nearly 100,000 women, from envoys as young as 16 to veteran railroaders 55 to 65, are keeping America's wartime trains running. They do their jobs so well. Let's assume that rail companies, which were once opposed to hiring any women, are adding others as fast as they can get".

World War II would prove to be the climax of public rail transport. More people and materials had to travel than ever before, and almost everything was carried by rail. There was a tremendous increase in demand.

Passenger miles increased from 23,816 million passenger miles to 95,663 million passenger miles during the same period. In 1944, the peak year of the war, more than 75 percent of all commercial travelers traveled by rail.

The railroad carried approximately 43.7 million military personnel, or more than 97% of all troops moved between December 1941 and August 1945.

At least 100,000 military personnel were on Army trains daily as railroads used a quarter of their coaches and half of all Pullman (sleeper cars) for military transport.

On average, more than 2,500 military trains operate each month in the United States. A quarter of all passenger cars will be reserved for military personnel, and about half of all Pullman sleepers will be used by them as well. VV

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