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

Exam time..

From - The locomotive engineman's and fireman's examination guide; Maurice George Vaughn, 1917

 As the book puts it "THE LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEMAN'S AND FIREMAN'S EXAMINATION GUIDE, Being a Series of Lessons on the Locomotive Engine, Practically Illustrated with Coloured Plates and Diagrams by MAURICE GEORGE VAUGHN (Member of the Assosciated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen; President of the Great Western Railway Engine Drivers' and Firemen's Class, Plymouth)"

 Mr Vaughn first wrote this handy wee booklet in 1893, when he was a driver for the Great Western Railway. My copy of the book is of the 14th edition, dating from 1917. It gives a number of practical hints and tips for engine drivers and firemen and some helpful answers for when the enginemen faced the Inspector at promotion time.  He talks in the preface of the pleasure he takes in eager young men and of the many flattering letters he has received "not only from the United Kingdom but from our distant Colonies and Dependencies". It really is a changed world..

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