What was it like to work on the early railways? How safe were they? Presented here are excerpts from the LNWR Regulations of 1847.
At a Meeting of the Board of Directors held on the 11th of September, 1847, it was
That the following code of Rules and Regulations be, and the same is hereby approved and adopted for the guidance and instruction of the Officers and Men in the service of the London and North-Western Railway Company, and that all former Rules and Regulations inconsistent with the same be cancelled.
That every person in the service do keep a copy of these Regulations on his person while on duty under a penalty of five shillings for neglect of the same.
By order of the Board of Directors.
CAPTAIN MARK HUISH,
London and North Western Railway.
1. No Engine shall pass along the wrong line of Road, but if, in case of accident, an Engine shall be unavoidably obliged to pass back on the wrong line, the Engineman is to send his Assistant, or some other competent person, back a distance of not less than 800 yards, before his Engine moves, to warn any Engine coming in the opposite direction, and the Assistant shall continue running, so as to preserve the distance of not less than 800 yards between him and the Engine. If dark, the man shall take his light and make a signal by waving the same up and down, and the Engineman of the Engine moving on the wrong line shall keep his Steam Whistle constantly going, and must not move in the wrong direction farther than to the nearest shunt, where he is instantly to remove his Engine off the wrong line of Road; and it is expressly forbidden that any Engine should move on the wrong line of Rails at a greater speed than four miles an hour.
2. All Engines travelling on the same line shall keep 800 yards at least apart from each other, that is to say, ― the Engine which follows shall not approach within 800 yards of the Engine which goes before, unless expressly required.
3. No person, except the proper Engineman and Fireman shall be allowed to ride on the Engine or Tender, without the special permission of the Directors or one of the Chief Officers of the Company.
4. The Engineman and Fireman must appear on duty as clean as circumstances will allow and every Driver must be with his Engine 30 minutes, and every Fireman 45 minutes, before the time appointed for starting, in order to see that the Engine is in proper order to go out, has the necessary supply of coke and water, and that the Signals are in a fit state for use.
5. The Front Buffer Light of a Passenger Train is White, and of a Goods or Cattle Train Green, except on the Liverpool and Manchester Section.
6. Every Engineman shall have with him at all times in his Tender the following Tools:―
1 complete set of Lamps
1 Screw Jack
1 complete set of Screw Keys
A quantity of Flax and Twine
1 large and small Monkey Wrench
4 large and small Oil Cans
3 Cold Chisels
Plugs for Tubes
2 Fire Buckets
Fog Signals and Red Flag
2 short Chains with Hooks
7. When the Engine is in motion the Engineman is to stand where he can keep a good look out a head and the Fireman must at all times be ready to obey the instructions of the Engineman and assist him in keeping a look out when not otherwise engaged
8. No Engine is permitted to stand on the main line (except under very special circumstances) when not attached to a Train, and the Engineman shall not at any time leave his Engine or Train, or any part thereof, on the main line, unless there be a competent man in charge to make the necessary signals.
9. No Engine shall cross the Line of Railway at a Station without permission.
10. An Engineman is never to leave an Engine in Steam, without shutting the Regulator, putting the Engine out of gear, and fixing down the Tender Break.
11. No Engine is allowed to propel a Train of Carriages or Waggons, but must in all cases draw it, except when assisting up inclined planes, or when required to start a train from a Station, or in case of an Engine being disabled on the road, when the succeeding Engine may propel the train slowly (approaching it with great caution) as far as the next shunt or turn-out, at which place the propelling Engine shall take the lead.
12. No Engine is to run on the Main Line Tender foremost, unless by orders from the Locomotive Superintendent, or from unavoidable necessity.
13. Every Engineman on going out is to take his Time Table with him, and regulate by it the speed of his Engine, whether attached to a Train or not; and when not attached to a Train, he is on no account to stop at second-class Stations unless specially ordered, or there is a signal for him to do so.
14. Enginemen are not allowed (except in case of accident or sudden illness) to change their Engines on the Journey, nor to leave their respective Stations, without the permission of their Superintendent.
15. When the Road is obscured by steam or smoke (owing to a burst tube, or any other cause) no approaching Engine is allowed to pass through the steam, until the Engineman shall have ascertained that the road is clear; and if any Engineman perceive a Train stopping from accident or other cause, on the road, he is immediately to slacken his speed, so that he may pass such Train slowly, and stop altogether if necessary, in order to ascertain the cause of the stoppage, and report it at the next Station.
16. Where there is an accident on the opposite Line to that on which he is moving, he is to stop all the Trains between the spot and the next Station, and caution the respective Enginemen, and further he is to render every assistance in his power in all cases of difficulty.
17. In case of accident to his Engine or Tender (when alone) he is to send back notice by his Fireman to the nearest Policeman on duty: but if the Policeman is too distant, the Fireman is to remain stationary not less than 600 yards in rear of his Train (until recalled), showing his Red Signal until he has rejoined his Engine. (See Rule 17, page 182.)
18. Enginemen are strictly prohibited from throwing out of their Tender any small coke or dust, except into the pits made for that purpose at first-class Stations.
19. Enginemen with Pilot or Assistant Engines must be prepared (while on duty) to start immediately on receiving instructions from the Locomotive Foreman or the Station Master.
20. Enginemen are strictly enjoined to start and stop their Trains slowly, and without a jerk, which is liable to snap the couplings and chains; and they are further warned to be careful not to shut off their steam too suddenly (except in case of danger), so as to cause a concussion of the carriages. ― This rule applies more especially to Cattle Trains, the beasts being liable to be thrown down and injured by a sudden check.
21. No Engineman is to start his Train until the proper Signal is given: he is invariably to start with care, and to observe that he has the whole of his Train before he gets beyond the limits of the Station.
22. It is very important that Engine-Drivers use the utmost caution when shunting Waggons into sidings, so as to avoid injuring the Waggons or other property of the Company.
23. Enginemen in bringing up their Trains are to pay particular attention to the state of the weather and the condition of the Rails, as well as to the length of the Train: and these circumstances must have due weight in determining when to shut off the Steam. Stations must not be entered so rapidly as to require a violent application of the Breaks, and any Engineman over-running the Station will be reported.
24. Enginemen and others are required to be careful in turning their Engines on the Tables, so as not to swing them round rapidly.
25. Engines running alone, or taking luggage or empty carriages, must not exceed a speed of 20 miles an hour without distinct orders in each case or some urgent necessity.
26. Enginemen and Firemen are to pay immediate attention to all Signals, whether the cause of the Signal is known to them or not; and any Engineman neglecting to obey a Signal is liable to immediate dismissal from the Company’s service. The Engineman must not, however, trust to Signals but on all occasions be vigilant and cautious, and on no account be running before the time specified in his Time-Table. He is also to obey the Special orders of the Officers in charge of Stations, when required for the Company’s service.
27. Whenever he sees the Red Signal, or any other which he understands to be a Signal to stop, he is to bring his Engine to a stand close to the Signal, and on no account to pass it.
28. In addition to the usual Red Signals, the Police have orders to place Detonators on the Rails in foggy weather, and every Engineman, when he hears a Detonating Signal, is to bring his Engine to a stand as quickly as possible. The Enginemen also are supplied with these Signals to be used in the same manner. (See Rule for Fog Signals.)
29. Ballast Engines are prohibited from passing along the Main Line in a fog, except when authorised to do so under special circumstances.
30. As a further precaution in foggy weather, no Engineman is allowed to leave a Station with a Train until the preceding Train has been started at least ten minutes; and before starting, the Clerk in charge of the Station, or the Policeman on duty, is to give the Engineman the exact time when the preceding Train started, and where it is next to stop.
31. Enginemen are at all times to use great caution in foggy weather, and especially in approaching Stations, from the difficulty of discerning the regular Signals until close upon them; and they are to be prepared to bring their Engines to a stand, should it be required.
32. No Engineman is to pass from a Branch on to the Main Line until the Policeman at the Junction Points signals the Main Line clear, and in foggy weather he is to bring his Engine to a stand before reaching the Junction Points, and not to enter upon the Main Line till he has ascertained from the Policeman how long the preceding Train or Engine has passed.
33. To avoid risk of collision on single Lines, from the meeting of another Engine, no extra Engine, with or without a Train, is allowed to pass along the Line without previous notice.
34. Every Engineman is to be careful, when he passes a Station, or when the way is under repair, to proceed slowly and cautiously; and he is also to do so whenever he sees the Green Signal.
35. Luggage, Coal, and Ballast Trains are always to give way to Passenger Trains by going into the nearest siding.
36. The Whistle is to be sounded on approaching each Station and level crossing, and on entering the Tunnels. Three short sharp whistles, rapidly repeated, must be given when danger is apprehended, and when it is necessary to call the attention of the Guards to put on the Breaks. When more than one Engine is attached to the Train, the Signal is to be given by the Leading Engineman; and in case of danger is to be repeated by the following Enginemen, who will forthwith reverse their Engines and attach their Tender Breaks. Frequent use must be made of the Whistle in foggy weather.
37. Enginemen with Luggage Trains are to approach all stopping places at a speed not exceeding ten miles an hour, when within a quarter of a mile of the stopping place, and to signal the Breaksman by two distinct Whistles to put on his Break before the Tender Break is put on.
38. Luggage Enginemen must refuse to take up waggons of goods. if they are of a nature to take fire by a spark or hot cinder; unless such goods are completely sheeted. Enginemen are to see that the cinder-plates at the back of their Tenders are in good order.
39. Should fire be discovered in the Train, the Steam must be instantly shut off, and the Breaks applied, and the Train be brought to a stand, the Signal of obstruction to the Line be made, and the burning waggon or waggons be detached with as little delay as possible. No attempt must ever be made to run on to the nearest water column, if it is more than 300 yards from the place where the fire is discovered, as such a course is likely to increase the damage.
40. The movements of all Trains are under the orders of the Guard, to whose instructions as to stopping, starting, &c., the Engineman is to pay implicit attention.
41. If any part of a Train is detached when in motion, care must be taken not to stop the Train in front before the detached part has stopped, and it is the duty of the Guard of such detached part to apply his Break in time to prevent a collision with the carriages in front, in the event of their stopping.
42. Whenever a Red Board or Red Flag is carried on the last carriage or waggon of a passing Train, it is to indicate that a Special or Extra Train is to follow; and when such Extra Train is to run at night, an additional Red Light must be attached to the tail of the preceding Train.
43. Every Engineman at the end of his journey is to report to the Superintendent of Locomotive Power, or his Foreman, or to the Clerk in attendance ―
First ― As to the state of his Engine and Tender.
Second ― As to any defect in the Road or Works Electric Telegraph posts or wires or any unusual circumstance that may have taken place on the journey.
44. He is also to see that his Signal and Gauge Lamps are taken into the Porter’s Lodge, for the purpose of being trimmed.