About the blog

British railways are run on a foundation of paperwork. Everything must have an instruction; a list; a rule. The railway was once such a huge, chaotic system that the only way to manage it was with reams and reams of paper. Today the system is much more compact but the mountain of literature upon which it is run is greater than ever. This is simply a collection of pages from railway documents. They may be old or new, interesting or tedious, large or small. Most are obscure and esoteric. Many feature interesting diagrams and all share the same strange mix of dry railway language and exotic nomenclature that has hardly changed in 200 years. I love these documents and have a large collection to share. If you want to see more of something or less of another, please get in touch or leave a comment.


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Common Carrier..

From - Rail Express Parcels Classification of Goods and Livestock; BR20919/1, British Railways Board, 1977

A hangover from the days when British Railways held common carrier status*, this is a fascinating list of the rates chargeable for moving just about anything by rail. We all have our crosses to bear and BR would have charged you C1 rate +50% (C3) for taking yours with you on the train. However, if you want to send your child's corpse then you must apply to Regional Headquarters for a price. I imagine we'll be returning to this list in the future...

*Common carrier status meant that railway companies were compelled by law to transport anything that anyone asked them to. A box of day old chicks from Weymouth to Birmingham? Of course sir. A 260 ton electrical transformer from Stafford to Inverness? No problem. This requirement was abolished with the passing of the Transport Act (1962).

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