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British Rail Work Gang Pix Back In The Day
JackInCT - 25-6-2017 at 01:08

British Rail Work Crew July 19, 1983

London-Waterloo

Attribution: Photog Phil Cotterill

Aside from the attire, or lack thereof, the other very interesting aspect of this pix that non-rail fans would not likely notice, is the virtual complete lack of powered mechanical devices that would expedite the speed at which the work would be finished.

Totally different, powered equipment wise, from what one would see in the USA in that era.

And in the USA in this day and age, hardly anything gets done, track work wise, without heavy machinery involved (and very often contracted out to some private company).

By the way, I take it that the man in the lower right hand corner is the crew foreman, i. e., who else in the crew would have the audacity to strip down to his skivvies, but than again this is merry Olde England, and we foreigners do have our preconceived prejudices what it means to be English!

I seriously doubt that any of the passengers in the passing train complained about that man to British Rail management--yes another preconceived notion.

There are very few pixs on Railpictures.net of track maintenance type operations of the crews that are involved in the work; but there are rarely any of these with female workers. The pixs are seldom close up shots where you can see inside the machinery cabs; the heavy machinery cab operators are likely the highest paid members of a crew, and those positions are the most sought after, and likely have the least employee turnover re new openings. I have no idea where these cab operators get their training; there's quite a bit of skill involved in operating this type of machinery, and I would doubt if it could be done simply by on the job type training.


marymary100 - 25-6-2017 at 07:33

British workmen know that summer lasts a couple of days here so will endeavour to get "taps aff" whenever that happens.

My friend's husband repairs the lines. It is still physically demanding and often involves shift work. He is in his 50s and asked for early retirement as he doesn't feel fit enough to keep doing this until 67. The answer was no.


LSemmens - 25-6-2017 at 09:43

That photo looks like a railway station in India. Are you sure that it's a repair crew? They could be stealing the line to make wire rope. ;)


Katzy - 26-6-2017 at 09:35

Funny to see on old 317 unit. They were known as "Dusty Bins" :)

As there's a possession, there, under the control of a PICOP (Person In Charge Of Possession), there's not really much need for the Hi-viz stuff. If a jobsworth saw them, he'd probably whinge, though.

The railways, in those kinds of places, aren't terribly accessible from anywhere, other than the railway. So, getting heavy plant in can be a bit tricky. Especially as that section's quite a way above ground level.

'course, in those days, the gangs were employed by the BR P-Way. No outside contractors buggering things up, like they do, now.


marymary100 - 26-6-2017 at 16:06

Quite.