Railway Number Taker

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kateAK
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Railway Number Taker

Post by kateAK » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:48 pm

Hi all,

I am working for the BBC programme Heir Hunters. I am looking for a photo or video of railway number takers. Preferably of a women, but any will do.

If you have anything to send, please email me on katea@flametv.co.uk

Thanks,
Kate

Mickey
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Re: Railway Number Taker

Post by Mickey » Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:24 pm

kateAK wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:48 pm
I am working for the BBC programme Heir Hunters. I am looking for a photo or video of railway number takers. Preferably of a women, but any will do.
Do you mean someone who worked on the railways in decades past who use to take down the individual wagon numbers in marshalling yards or do you mean train spotters?.

Mickey

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manna
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Re: Railway Number Taker

Post by manna » Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:29 pm

G'Day Gents

I don't think I've ever seen a female train spotter.......

manna
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kateAK
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Re: Railway Number Taker

Post by kateAK » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:49 am

Mickey wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:24 pm
kateAK wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:48 pm
I am working for the BBC programme Heir Hunters. I am looking for a photo or video of railway number takers. Preferably of a women, but any will do.
Do you mean someone who worked on the railways in decades past who use to take down the individual wagon numbers in marshalling yards or do you mean train spotters?.

Mickey
Hi Mickey!

The woman in question was born in 1917 and died in 2011. On her death certificate it says "Railways Number Taker." I am told this role is basically a paid trainspotter. Number takers had to stand at junctions across the country noting the movements of every wagon and carriage, and reporting back to the Railway clearing House in London. It is also possible she worked in marshalling yards/goods yard.

So ideally I am on the hunt of photos of someone in this role. But also general trainspotters would be great to get photos of!

Thanks,
Kate

giner
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Re: Railway Number Taker

Post by giner » Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:28 pm

Hi Kate,

Within this thread: https://www.lner.info/forums/viewtopic. ... =St.+Simon
there's some superb photos of railway people, including some trainspotters - no ladies though, unfortunately.

Now, this is a thread of humongous proportions and the bulk of the photos are of locomotives, etc., so it'll take a bit of sifting through on your part. Anyway, if you have a spare hour or two I think you'll find much of interest re. your project. Happy hunting!

Mickey
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Re: Railway Number Taker

Post by Mickey » Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:40 am

Ok Kate thanks for the clarification.

With reference to manna's post regarding 'women & train spotting' it's a fact that if they do exist they are a very rare group of people although I do have a memory of seeing a 'woman train spotter' one day when I was a signalman at Camden Road station on the North London line upwards of 20+ years ago. The woman concerned was clearly train spotting that day that's why she stuck in my mind.

Mickey

john coffin
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Re: Railway Number Taker

Post by john coffin » Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:17 pm

A fleeting memory from a book, would suggest that there were certainly in the First World War, and probably also the second,
Female official "asset checkers" employed by either the railway, or Railway Clearing House, to check where stock was, and how
it was being used. The RCH staff were cross checking records to ensure fair and proper payments to the various companies when
their assets were used in other parts of the system.

Railway people would be employed regularly for stock taking to ensure the year end assets list is as accurate as possible, but those
of us who have studied some of the minute books know that it was almost impossible to be properly accurate with stuff stuck all
over the place in really remote areas which often did not get inspected once in a decade.

But is the original poster looking for info on "train spotters" as we were once called, or official people. I certainly remember very few
girls at Kings Cross, or other places where boys congregated to wait for their latest "cop".

Worth checking the NRM/ Science Museum collection of photos from WW1 to see the various jobs done by women at that time. and of course
during the "General Strike"
Paul

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StevieG
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Re: Railway Number Taker

Post by StevieG » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:56 pm

Within the last year or two I feel sure a book of some sort came out about the history of women working on the railways, perhaps published by or via, a trade union or prominent unionist, but I don't at all remember a title or author I'm afraid.
BZOH

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giner
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Re: Railway Number Taker

Post by giner » Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:51 pm

And I'm sure I've seen a YouTube video of women working during wartime on the 'Ell of a Mess (that's the LMS to you, Kate :D ), cleaning locos and such.

Mickey
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Re: Railway Number Taker

Post by Mickey » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:29 am

Below an interesting photograph of a GNR signalman working on 'the frame' while his daughter is working the single needle telegraph instrument at HITCHIN. If the location of the photograph is correct and was taken at HITCHIN I presume it is inside HITCHIN SOUTH box?. Also five or possibly six s/n telegraph instruments can be seen standing in a row along the back wall behind the young woman. HITCHIN SOUTH use to do a lot of telegraph work until the early 1970s. The other two GN boxes at HITCHIN were HITCHIN YARD that stood just beyond the Down slow line platform and also CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION which stood several hundred yards further north of HITCHIN YARD in the V of the junction with the Cambridge branch and stood along the Up Goods line.

http://www.hastingspress.co.uk/railwayw ... uards.html

Mickey

Dave Cockle
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Re: Railway Number Taker

Post by Dave Cockle » Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:27 pm

Micky,

The photo of the box girl and signalman was published in Great Northern News (Sep/Oct 2014)

The box concerned is stated to have been Hitchin Yard.

Cheers

Dave Cockle

Mickey
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Hitchin Yard in 1918?

Post by Mickey » Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:30 pm

Dave Cockle wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:27 pm
The box concerned is stated to have been Hitchin Yard.
The photograph was taken inside Hitchin Yard ok Dave thanks. I was trying to workout if the box door was located in the far left-hand corner like is was at Hitchin South but it isn't clear enough to tell if there is a door in that corner from the photograph also did Hitchin South & Hitchin Yard both have a Saxby & Farmer lever frames because is that not a McKenzie & Holland lever frame?. I never visited any of the three Hitchin boxes.

Mickey

drmditch
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Re: Railway Number Taker

Post by drmditch » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:21 pm

I think I have read, (reference to be checked) that the Railway Clearing House (RCH) employed wagon number takers at the 'handover' points between companies. Prior to 1914, with relatively few common user vehicles, the cross- billing between the 15 major companies (let alone the 135 or so smaller companies) must have been considerable.

As regards employment of women by pre-grouping companies, I think that the NER did use women keepers where the lady had a husband in railway service.

65447
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Re: Railway Number Taker

Post by 65447 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:31 pm

The book is probably this one: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Railwaywomen-E ... 1904109047 I recall its publication and that the author was briefly active on the BR Yahoo! Group. I would advise not relying on it for facts because she was unable to accept that there were certain very evident and obvious geographical errors in her text.

Curiously, the BBC already has this item: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-20709871

I would recommend the National Railway Museum Search Engine staff - always helpful - and the Historical Model Railway Society for sources. The National Archives may well have employment records but that would mean searching by company, unless there is information in the records of the Railway Clearing House.

Dave Cockle
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Re: Railway Number Taker

Post by Dave Cockle » Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:40 pm

Micky,

In response to your query re the locking frame at Hitchin Yard:-

The original frame was Stevens and Co and located at the the front of the box. This is the one in the photo you attached.

A new LNER RS Co frame was installed in the rear of the box in 1946.

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