i think i copied this from the pynchon sub too.
I can still remember my History professor explaining WWI in terms of the trains. I am no expert at this, but according to what I remember, the trains and the possible use of them as troop transport required that protocols be planned out long in advance. Once the threat of war became imminent, the men were put on the trains. Once the trains were taking men to the front, it was virtually impossible to turn them around. Once there were armies at the front, war could not be avoided. Thus one of WWI's causes is truly mechanical in both cause and effect.