Author Archive | Mike Esbester

Illicit travel

The railways were highly ordered and regulated spaces. They had to be, to ensure they ran and that (for passengers at least) they ran safely. But that doesn’t mean illicit travel wasn’t a problem. The railway companies employed their own police forces, to keep order, protect company assets and reassure the public. Of course, railway […]

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Emotion in the archive

When we started the project, we knew we’d be finding details which took us down to the individuals involved in the accidents. We’d long known the top-level figures: the hundreds who died each year and tens of thousands who were injured. Those numbers were almost too large to grasp, to feel a personal connection with. […]

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Policing the line

As we’ve noted in the past, the railway companies didn’t just run trains – their interests extended much further. As a result, they employed all sorts of staff that might not seem obvious, extending into road haulage and shipping, for example, as well as they myriad roles that were needed to keep the engines and […]

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Dying for a wee – 2

Two weeks’ ago we looked at accidents to carriage and wagon staff who were keeping the railway network’s on-train toilets stocked. Provision was clearly made for passenger comfort and convenience – but what about the staff? In this week’s post, we’re looking at those cases where operating staff had to improvise when they wanted to […]

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Dying for a wee – 1

As travellers today (when we’re able to resume travelling) we may be less than enamoured of the toilets on trains – all too often cramped, unclean or even out-of-order. But at least they’ve been provided for us. That isn’t always the case for staff – and that’s a long-standing issue. Earlier this year I wrote […]

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