Tag Archives | 1914

A day like any other? Christmas Days 1911-14

Network Rail’s recent promo video about the engineering works currently taking place this Christmas is a good reminder that there’s always something happening on our railway network – and that means staff at work. Where there’s work, sadly, there’s danger, even with a greatly reduced passenger service: as well all know, there’s plenty more to […]

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Reading goods

Last week I attended an interesting workshop at the University of Reading, looking at the history of freight transport. It touched upon all modes of transport, though rail featured extensively – and occasionally safety issues cropped up, like the photograph of workers on top of a container, trying to secure a load that was in […]

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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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They started – and died – young

Volunteers working on the ‘Railway Work, Life & Death’ project have uncovered the stories of nearly 4,000 individuals who were either injured or killed whilst working on Britain’s railways between January 1911 and June 1915. Amongst the casualties was 16-year old James Beck, a ‘wagon greaser’ (someone responsible for ensuring the axle boxes of freight […]

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Did illiteracy kill James Coughlin?

We might tend to question the extent to which many of the working classes – for it is the working classes who are largely the subject of these accident reports – could read or write. For the railway industry the indications are actually that the workforce was highly literate, but the ability to read certainly […]

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