Archive | Accident reports

Rule-breaking and its consequences – 1

In most cases, the people judged (by the companies or the Railway Inspectors) to have caused an accident were the ones who suffered. Presumably this was deemed punishment enough for any rule-breaking, as the state reports rarely make reference to any sanctions being imposed – though the company records may record this, as it was […]

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Where are the workshop workers?

In the cases we’ve highlighted so far on this blog, one type of railway worker has been absent: the workshop or factory employee. These were the workers who were employed in the locomotive, carriage and wagon works at the hearts of many of the systems – Derby, Crewe, York, Eastleigh, Gorton, Swindon, Cowlairs and the […]

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A signal injury

To date, signalling is one area of railway work that hasn’t featured prominently in these cases taken from the Project spreadsheet. Signalling was of course vital to keeping trains safe and ensuring the efficient operation of the system. But behind it lay people – and those people were exposed to a variety of dangers. One […]

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Speeding up death

Around the turn of the twentieth century, the main railway trades unions started complaining about ‘speeding up’: the intensity of work being increased, whether by more work being demanded in the same time or by the requirement operate bigger and more powerful machinery (particularly the locomotives). The unions concerned were the (brilliantly and entirely Victorian-named) […]

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An unrepentant casualty maker

Although the vast majority of people documented by the ‘Railway Work, Life & Death’ project as being injured or killed were employees of the various companies operating the railways, not all were. Some were contractors, doing specific jobs for the companies – the subject of a future post. And some were ‘persons on business’, who […]

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‘Further accidents may be anticipated’

When looking at safety, risk and accidents, on the railways and more widely, many interesting questions occur. Some of them are relatively small scale – about day-to-day activities, for instance, or on a slightly bigger scale, about working, living and playing conditions. Some of them are much bigger – what role should the state play […]

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Hidden traumas

Around 20% of the accidents that were investigated by the railway inspectors and featured in this project were, tragically, fatalities. No question, then, that work was stopped for that individual. The remaining 80% of investigated accidents were, then, injuries; many of them were serious, involving amputations or other life-changing wounds, and no doubt stopping work […]

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Working 9-5? Not in 1915 – Long hours 1

In the early 1890s a public scandal arose over the hours some railway employees worked. We might conclude that the press and MPs who took up the case were very public spirited and willing to campaign on behalf of others, particularly as it resulted in the 1893 Railway Regulation Act which (theoretically) restricted employees’ hours […]

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Mrs Jane Horner and the illicit lift

It may perhaps surprise us to find women amongst the list of casualties the project has catalogued – but it shouldn’t. Plenty of women worked, including on the railways, where even before the First World War they numbered in their thousands. Though precise figures are difficult to come by, around 13,000 has been suggested, out […]

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