Songs from the Age of Steam

Railways

Signalmen

Chronology:    Bargery Number | Main Themes:
1855-59   |  Dangers caused by long hours and overwork
1860-64   |  
1865-69   |  
1870-74   |  
1875-80   |  
1880-84  178 |  
1885-89 465 |  
1890-94 382 |  
1895-99   |  
1900-94  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.

 

 

Tagged under: od023 Signalmen,

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