Author Archive | Mike Esbester

Disabilities in railway service

Disability features in our project heavily. Mostly frequently it’s cases where accidents have caused disability (see here for some cases we’ve featured in the past). But another of the great things about the project data is that it’s showing where already-disabled staff were employed or re-employed. So for today’s Disability History Month post, we’re going […]

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Disability History Month: ‘very nervous and trembling a good deal’

Wednesday marks the start of 2020’s Disability History Month, something that our project speaks closely too, given the large numbers of railway staff who were made disabled in the course of their work. Over the years we’ve blogged about a number of cases involving disabled staff, detailed here, and over the coming month we’ll highlight […]

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‘Improper propping’

It seems every aspect of railway working was (is?) full of arcane practices. Shunting – moving wagons and carriages around to get them into the right place for use – seems to have accumulated more than a few of these terms: fly shunting (more on that, here), tow roping (more here), horse shunting (unlike fly […]

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Family, anxiety & accident

Today we are fortunate in that the idea of work-life balance exists – if only as an ideal, in many cases. People interested in understanding how and why accidents happen are increasingly recognising that boundaries drawn between work and home life are false. But this isn’t new. A notable rail example is the 1892 Thirsk […]

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Thrown from their wagon

For some staff, getting to or from work was a matter of walking. For permanent way staff, who might be working on track many miles from where they were based, getting to the site of work might involve riding on or in wagons. That wasn’t without risk – as William Layton and William Day found […]

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A one-way problem

Railway working produced all sorts of odd terms, specific to the industry. Some of these are less obvious than others – but one which might more easily be understood from the title is ‘tow-roping.’ Not dissimilar from towing a vehicle on the roads, tow-roping involved using a rope to pull a wagon or wagons. It […]

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Direct the project!

What questions should the project be asking? What sources should we be bringing into it? How would you want to get involved? What research would you do into railway staff accidents and ill-health if you were starting out? We’ve started with some big questions, because they’re important. We’ve always tried to be collaborative in our […]

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