Jump to content

JimF51

Drivers assigned to locos?

Recommended Posts

I came across a drawing of the back of a LBSCR B3 loco cab, It showed the drivers name appearing to be inscribed near the top of the back panel.

 

In the early rail days, was it common in the UK for a driver to be assigned to a specific engine?

 

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd hesitate to call in 'common practice' (as that implies it happened in the majority of cases) but there are certainly many and various cases of the practice happening. And not just in the early days of railways. As late as the 1950's, top link drivers had their regular engines (sometimes shared between two drivers). A particularly well-known example being King's Cross shed for the top link A4 pacfics. Bill Hoole was the regular driver of No.60007 'Sir Nigel Gresley', Ted Hailstone, the regular driver of 60014 'Silver Link' and so on.

 

Drivers could get quite possessive of 'their' loco. If a repair was necessary, they'd been down at the depot to 'supervise' the work and they would take their holidays whilst 'their' loco was in works (etc).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Jim

It was common practice, certainly on the early SER/LCDR locos for not only the drivers name to be painted in the cab, but also for the driver to padlock the controls when he went off shift so that no other person could use his loco

Michael dJS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Jim

It was common practice, certainly on the early SER/LCDR locos for not only the drivers name to be painted in the cab, but also for the driver to padlock the controls when he went off shift so that no other person could use his loco

Michael dJS

Seems like a lot of bother, why didn't they just take the ignition key with them... :jester:

 

Coat, hat....etc....

Edited by Ian Abel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure it was common practice... The British took that custom to India. My grand dad when he migrated from Wales to India to work on the Railways he was assigned a 4-6-2 WP steam loco till he retired  :sungum:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seem to remember there was a mention in the the Thomas book that the NBR gave the Atlantic drivers extra money and cudos.

 

Thus a specific pool of drivers existed by default?

 

In honesty the poor firemen were hopefully included too as they did have a reputation of being hungry locomotives.

Edited by DOCJACOB
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the LBSCR, it was a practice that Stroudley strongly supported (it may have existed before his reign), and when it was dismantled many years later (in the 1910s IIRC), it caused all sorts of discontent - worker displeasure at newfangled management efficiency drives isn't a new thing!

 

It was probably was quite life-disrupting change, because the same loco would be allocated to the same trains, day-in-day-out, so the driver could plan his life, and that of his family, around the LBSCR schedule. I have a feeling that the drivers may have been contracted to provide a "service of train driving", rather than being conventional employees.

 

K

Edited by Nearholmer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having a drive/crew permanently assigned to a particular loco was pretty much derigueur on the Caledonian Railway with the drivers often actively encouraged to decorate and personalize there engines with polishing parts like the smokebox wing plates and fitting ornate brass backings to the smoke box handles etc.

 

    So well known were some of the top drivers that they become minor celebrities in there own right

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the LBSCR, it was a practice that Stroudley strongly supported (it may have existed before his reign), and when it was dismantled many years later (in the 1910s IIRC), it caused all sorts of discontent - worker displeasure at newfangled management efficiency drives isn't a new thing!

 

It was probably was quite life-disrupting change, because the same loco would be allocated to the same trains, day-in-day-out, so the driver could plan his life, and that of his family, around the LBSCR schedule. I have a feeling that the drivers may have been contracted to provide a "service of train driving", rather than being conventional employees.

 

K

I believe one of the reasons for abandoning the practice was the introduction of a shorter working day at the behest of the unions, at the beginning of the twentieth century.  This meant that a single driver could no longer match the required working hours for the loco, so the day would have to be split between a couple of drivers.

On the Brighton some of the drivers did work on a separate contract.  This was primarily to run the Newhaven Boat Trains which connected with the sailings.  Before Newhaven was improved, the timing was dependent upon the tides, and thus could be any time of the day or night, and at least one driver was contracted to provide the necessary service.  I think he had to pay for his fireman and coal out of this as well, and had to be available when needed, but presumably only had to do one or two London runs in a day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is very interesting vis-a-vis working hours and Stroudley's role http://thebrightonbranchofaslef.yolasite.com/changing-times-on-the-brighton-lines.php . I'm not sure I totally understand the terms of the agreement reached, but it looks as if, in the early 1870s, a 60 hour contracted week was thought a fair deal all round.

 

When it came to de-linking men from engines, I wouldn't be at all surprised if driver-opinion was divided, with some having built their lives around the old system, and very happy with it, and others keen to see a reduction in contracted hours (would it have been from 60 to 48 at that stage?). I've read several things that hints at a distinction, if perhaps not a division, between "the old Stroudley men", and newer (younger?) drivers in Edwardian times.

 

Given the social-history and TU-history angle, someone must have studied all this in depth.

 

K

Edited by Nearholmer
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having a drive/crew permanently assigned to a particular loco was pretty much derigueur on the Caledonian Railway with the drivers often actively encouraged to decorate and personalize there engines with polishing parts like the smokebox wing plates and fitting ornate brass backings to the smoke box handles etc.

The driver of Cardean even had his own regulator handle in the end of which was a gold sovereign.  He unscrewed it and took it home with him every day at the end of his shift, replacing it with the regular, plain one.

 

Another driver had a tin with his own cork bungs in it for the oil boxes and if he was allocated another loco (e.g when his own was in for boiler washout etc.) he went round and replaced the bungs on it with his own.

 

There is the tale of the driver of a Drummond pug which went in for a major overhaul and returned with faceplate injectors fitted.  He stormed off from Balornock shed up the road to St Rollox works demanding to know 'what right Mr McIntosh had to put faceplate injectors on his engine'! (J. F. McIntosh being the CME)

 

Jim

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having a drive/crew permanently assigned to a particular loco was pretty much derigueur on the Caledonian Railway with the drivers often actively encouraged to decorate and personalize there engines with polishing parts like the smokebox wing plates and fitting ornate brass backings to the smoke box handles etc.

 

    So well known were some of the top drivers that they become minor celebrities in there own right

I have read that a variation of this continued at Polmadie, at least, into the 1960s. The big tank engines used on suburban 'commuter' trains (Fairburns and Standards class 4s) were shared by two regular crews - one early shift and one back shift.

 

Going a bit OT - bus drivers could have their own buses too. For example, in the SMT garage in Greenock, there were 'links' (for want of a better word) of 26 regular crews who rotated through 26 different weekly duties, one week early shift, next week back shift. 13 of these crews had the same bus on every duty. The other crews shared bus 1 with its regular crew one week, then bus 2 with its regular crew the next week, then bus 1..., bus 2 etc. Drivers could get quite possessive of their buses. Some had modifications made to them, some even worked on them with the mechanics.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nothing to do with trains - or buses - but I work in comms maintenace. Many years of experience with the Police, and now LU, has proven that radios assigned to a person are looked after better, and thus need less repair, than those in a pool allocated to a site for common use by everyone based there. So personally I think it is a "good practice".

 

Stewart

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is very interesting vis-a-vis working hours and Stroudley's role http://thebrightonbranchofaslef.yolasite.com/changing-times-on-the-brighton-lines.php . I'm not sure I totally understand the terms of the agreement reached, but it looks as if, in the early 1870s, a 60 hour contracted week was thought a fair deal all round.

 

When it came to de-linking men from engines, I wouldn't be at all surprised if driver-opinion was divided, with some having built their lives around the old system, and very happy with it, and others keen to see a reduction in contracted hours (would it have been from 60 to 48 at that stage?). I've read several things that hints at a distinction, if perhaps not a division, between "the old Stroudley men", and newer (younger?) drivers in Edwardian times.

 

Given the social-history and TU-history angle, someone must have studied all this in depth.

 

K

 

 

I think the 8 hour day came to the railways in 1919. Ford had introduced it in 1914 while Robert Owen had formulated the demand for it as far back as 1817 though I don't think he achieved better than a 10 hour day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all, some great info.

 

K, thanks for the link, some good reading for later oday.

 

Jim

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish I could remember the driver's name, but I can't. He was a Gorton man who was on bad terms with his missus. Consequently when he was not actually 'on duty' he was at the shed tinkering with his loco and giving the controls an extra polish. He practically lived on the job.

 

They were a different breed back then, but having your 'own' engine produced a definite pride in the job, and some of these guys were close to being fanatical. Of course eventually with the reduced hours the powers-that-be gradually did away with the system as inefficient.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.