Tag Archives | economics of safety

Applying the brakes

Yesterday our project Twitter feed (@RWLDproject) tweeted a case in which a worker attempted to apply a vacuum brake with a coupling pole. This caused a few raised eyebrows, some heated discussion, and some initial thoughts that we’d got our wires crossed: after all, these are two technologies which don’t work in the same way, […]

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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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Disability History Month – how many disabled workers were on the books? The Great Eastern Railway’s Accident Benevolent Fund 1913-23

In our previous post we looked at a few of the details we’d found about how some employees were given prosthetics to aid their adaptation to post-accident life. They were only a few of the cases in any given year, and whilst they help us start to appreciate the individual impacts of accidents and changes […]

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Jump! When can you abandon your loco?

What the ‘Railway Work, Life & Death’ database shows really nicely – and importantly – is how numerous the ‘mundane’ accidents were: the cases that injured or killed workers in their ones or twos, but which cumulatively produced a total number of casualties far in excess of the passengers who were affected by accidents. In […]

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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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