Tag Archives | rule-breaking

Forgotten pasts at Glasgow Queen St

At the moment, Glasgow Queen St station is undergoing a major redevelopment, which has included exposing the Victorian glass frontage, concealed for the last 40 years by a concrete carbuncle now demolished. However, what isn’t so easy to see is another hidden past: the human cost of working on the railway, in employee accidents. This […]

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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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A question of trust

How far could workers control their own fates? In the 19th century and well into the 20th it was believed by many – certainly the railway companies’ managers – that workers were ultimately responsible for the vast majority of the accidents that befell them, as they made choices and acted ‘carelessly.’ What was rarely taken […]

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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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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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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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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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Why break the rules?

  A guest post, by Arthur Moore, one of the project’s volunteers   Having spent some time inputting Board of Trade accident reports on to the project spreadsheets as a volunteer, it was interesting to find a photo which showed the disparity between the rules and actual working practices. ​The reports said that on 5th […]

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