Tag Archives | booklet

Steam vs horse power

What place did the horse have in the steam railway? Perhaps surprisingly, a big one. Horses were essential for shunting wagons in yards and for moving goods to and from railheads. This was particularly the case in the pre-internal combustion engine era – though they lasted long after the introduction of the motor vehicle too, […]

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Multiple Scottish casualties – the Flying Scotsman & Sandilands Viaduct cases, April 1914

April 1914 saw 2 railway accidents which raise interesting issues about the differences between worker and passenger incidents – particularly as both involved multiple casualties. On 14 April 1914, the Flying Scotsman train (not to be confused with the loco!) collided with a goods train at Burntisland in Fife, killing 2 (the driver and fireman […]

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Portsmouth-London, in accidents

Each case in our database is interesting (and often sad) in its own right. But one of the powerful things the database allows us to do is to make connections – whatever our interest, we can search the data and make the links that interest us. So, it might be by a particular family name, […]

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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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Explore your Archive week – a case from the archive: road safety on the railway

As well as this being ‘Explore your Archive’ week, it’s also Road Safety Week, run by the charity Brake. Road accidents remain a major source of casualties in the UK, and a part of this relates to occupational road risks. Although we might not expect it, road accidents are a source of concern for the […]

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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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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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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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