A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921.
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Sub-order 1.—Railway Workers


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assistant signalman
see underman.
assistant signalman, relief
see signalman, relief.
block boy
see signal lad.
bridgeman (railway)
directs water traffic through water way, crossed by moveable railway bridge, when bridge is open; attaches fenders to bridge piers to protect latter from damage; sometimes moves levers which open and close bridge, and if it is also a pedestrian bridge, locks and unlocks gates giving access thereto; sometimes relieves in signal box; graded as signalman or as porter (706) q.v. according to exact nature of duties.
bridge master
a signalman q.v. working in a signal box which controls railway traffic over a swing or moveable bridge crossing a waterway; gives signal to bridgeman q.v. to open bridge to allow water traffic to pass, or to close it upon approach of train.
charge signalman
is in charge of a signal box in which two or more signalmen are employed; obsolescent; signalmen now generally take charge in turn, in such a box.
learner, signal
(i) a signal lad q.v. working in a signal box, under supervision of signalman q.v., learning duties in preparation for taking over full responsibilities;
(ii) a boy sent to School of Signalling to learn signalman's duties before entering signal box; usage confined to one railway; obsolescent.
relief man (signalman)
see signalman, relief.
signal lad, signal clerk ; block boy, telegraph lad, train booker, train recorder, train register boy
works in signal box under supervision of signalman q.v.; transmits minor telephone and telegraph messages; records in block book movements of trains into and out of section; at age of 18 is graded as porter (706) or as porter signalman q.v.
signalman (railway)
works in a signal box, controlling movements of trains over a section of line; receives and despatches, by telephone or telegraph, messages as to movements of trains; accepts trains, i.e. allows them to enter his section, or, refuses them, i.e. keeps signal against them if line not clear; pulls levers to move signals and points along section of line under his charge; is responsible for keeping block book; cf. signal lad.
signalman, district relief
see signalman, relief.
signalman, porter ; signal porter
a porter (706) q.v. who performs duties of signalman q.v. in order to learn duties in preparation for promotion to that grade.
signalman, relief; sick relief signalman, spare signalman, travelling signalman ; district relief signalman, relief assistant signalman, spare man, special staff man
a signalman q.v. available to take place of an absent signalman, at any signal box in a particular district; when not on relief duty.- is posted in a busy box, which he has not relieved for a considerable time, to keep in touch with work.
signal porter
see signalman, porter.
signal porter, relief
a porter signalman q.v. who takes place of an absent signalman or porter signalman.
spare man, special staff man (signalman)
see signalman, relief.
staff man
a signalman q.v. who delivers special staff to engine-driver (701) q.v. on single line, authorising him to travel over next section, and receives from him staff for section just passed; obsolescent.
tabletman (railway)
a signalman q.v. who works electrical tablet train blocking apparatus used on single lines; receives tablet from engine driver (701) q.v. for last section, and hands him one to clear him for next section.
telegraph lad (railway signal box)
see signal lad.
telegraphist, signal (railway)
a signalman q.v. who sends and receives telegraph messages in a large signal box; does other work of signalman as necessary.
towerman (railway) ; train reminder
a signalman q.v. who stands on a tower, bridge, or other vantage point, and informs signalmen of movement of trains, especially those being shunted, by flag signalling.
traffic regulator
a signalman q.v. of higher grade, available to go to any signal box in a particular district and to regulate precedence of trains during a breakdown or a delay on line; gives instructions to signalmen working in box; sometimes is permanently posted in a very busy signal box.
train booker, train recorder, train register boy
see signal lad ; cf. train recorder (706).
train reminder (railway)
see towerman.
tunnelman (railway)
a signalman q.v. whose box is at mouth of a tunnel.
underman (signalling), under signalman ; assistant signalman
a signalman q.v. who assists another signalman in a box requiring more than one operator.

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From: A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921,
Ministry of Labour, 1927. Digitised by Peter Christian, August, 2016.   This text is in the Public Domain.