By the outbreak of the first world war the railways had become key to any military deployment. Troops could be rapidly moved en masse with all their equipment. The early hotch-potch of railway lines had become politicised as governments saw their use for both offensive and defensive reasons. It’s not unfair to say in certain situations the laying of a new lines was done more for military reasons than economic. The importance of the train and its crucial role in the build of troops for the first world war is emphasised in AJP Taylor’s statement that the First World War was “war by timetable”.