Chronology:    Bargery Number Main Themes:
1870-79    The dangers of the work
1890-99  225; 252; 566; 579; 687  
Uncertain  291; 300; 687  


The Songs & Poems:

May of the poems in this section were written by railway workers and informed by their personal experience. The railway worker and poet Alexander Anderson was the author of bar291, 687, 690 and 693

 Historical Background:



People on the trackside have always been in more danger than passengers or footplate men.

Of all the lineside workers shunters were the most vulnerable.
The Midland Railway company, for example, kept an ambulance wagon permanently stationed at Toton Marshalling Yard near Nottingham to give treatment to injured shunters.

During 1912, one in ten shunters was killed or injured.



Track workers (variously known as platelayers, or surfacemen) were frequently hit by trains. It is surprising to the modern ear that they did not hear the trains coming but steam locomotives are surprisingly quiet when coasting. The poet and surfaceman Alexander Anderson wrote Wylie's Stone and Jim's Whistle from first hand experience.



Sources (texts, music) & Publishing data

No data available.
Related Articles
Parting, The

Marking the separation of two track maintenance workers after 30 years of friendship. One apparently retiring and moving away.

Shunting Pole Inspector

A group of shunters celebrate the absence of their shunting pole inspector and regret his return after only one week.

Jim's Whistle

A deaf and dumb track worker is killed by a train.

Duncan Weir

A track worker is killed by a train running on the wrong line.

Bill's Length

A track worker is killed by a train driven by his brother.

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.