Archive | Blog

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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Tweet us – @RWLDproject

We’ve been trying to get an update on the blog once a week since we made the spreadsheet available, drawing on the volunteers’ work and going into a bit more detail about some of the cases found in the reports. We’re going to keep on doing that, interspersed with updates and other things we’re doing […]

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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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Where are we now?

The spreadsheet has been available from the site for around 2 months now, so we thought it might be a good chance to give a brief update, thank you for your interest – and ask you for your feedback on what we’re doing. The website has had well over 3,000 views, and the spreadsheet has […]

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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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