Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Railway work, life and death project

I have been contacted by Dr. Mike Esbester about a University of Portsmouth and National Railway Museum project website underway entitled Railway Work, Life & Death, located at

From the home page:

Welcome to the website for the Railway Work, Life and Death project, a joint initiative between the University of Portsmouth and the National Railway Museum (NRM). We’re aiming to make it easier to find out about railway worker accidents in Britain between 1911 and 1915 – who was involved, what they were doing on the railways, what happened to them and why. Although today most people don’t realise it, working on the railways 100 years ago was incredibly dangerous, with hundreds killed and tens of thousands injured each year.

In this project a team of volunteers from the NRM, to whom we’re immensely grateful, have painstakingly been through reports produced by the state-appointed Railway Inspectorate between 1911 and 1915, detailing investigations into railway worker accidents. They’ve extracted the details found in the reports – things like names, ages, roles, companies and details of the accident – and entered them into a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet is now available, on this website, so that anyone who’s interested can easily learn more about work and accidents on Britain’s railways around the time of the First World War. We think this will be of great interest to all sorts of people: railway enthusiasts, family historians, railway museums and heritage centres, the current railway industry and academics.

The Railway Work, Life and Death project is making use of accident reports produced by the Railway Inspectorate, the body that was created by the state to oversee railway safety. It is also asking for contributions from the public on any further information that might be available. To access the database of accidents on the platform, please visit and scroll to the bottom of the page for the link.

(With thanks to Dr. Esbester)


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