Overview of the Songs and Poems in this Category:

Awaiting analysis

Main Themes and Motifs

- Dangers resulting from long hours worked by signalmen
- Signalman as hero


1880-89 178; 465
1890-99 382
1900-09 654

Uncertain: 681

Historical Background


Charing Cross Signal Box c1890.

The complexity of the railways and the volume of traffic put great strain on the signalmen. (See Cabman's Railway Yarn) In 1889, the Main A signal box at Waterloo comprised 209 levers. It was worked by 3 shifts each of 10 men.  A lever had to be pulled about every 15 seconds.

Signalman - along with the drivers - were widely regarded as heroes. When the long-hours dispute was raging in the 1880s - much of the public - even middle and upper classes were on their side.


3 across Articles in this Category: click a link

Signalman On The Line

bar382a: Dates ----~1893|

Overworked signalman falls asleep and causes a crash

I Stand and Watch the Trains Go Past

bar465: Dates ----~----|

A reflection on the hardships and dangers faced by railway workers.

Danger Signal

bar074: Dates ----~1881|

Signalman dies at his post but leaves signal set at danger so averting disaster.

In The Signal Box

bar178: Dates ----~1881|

A Signalman risks his son's life to save the passengers on a train.


bar681: Dates ----~1896|

Divine intervention prevents a crash when a signalman falls asleep.

Weary Signalman

bar654: Dates ----~1900|

A signalman complains of long hours. (Fragment)

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.