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

709.—Other Railway Servants (not elsewhere enumerated)

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ash boy, lad
a shed boy q.v. engaged as ash filler q.v. or assisting ash filler.
ash filler, ash loader, ash man, ash pit labourer, ash pit man ; pit cleaner
shovels ashes out of ash pits, in engine shed and yard, on to sides or pits and thence into wagons ready for removal; also removes grease and dirt from engine pits; in small yards work done by fire dropper q.v.
ashpan man, ashpan raker
see fire dropper.
axle box attendant, axle box cleaner
examines axle boxes, cleans them, and when necessary, fills or orders to be filled, with grease, etc.; reports if axle has been dangerously overheated.
axle oiler
see greaser.
bar boy (engine shed) ; firebar lad
a shed boy q.v. who assists bar man q.v. in an engine shed or who does work of bar man.
bar man, bar layer, bar setter, firebar man
examines fire bars, cooled down, after removal from engine fire grates by fire dropper q.v.; replaces those defective with new bars.
boiler filler
see steam raiser.
a cleaner q.v. whose work is confined to cleaning and polishing brasswork, i.e. handles, etc., of passenger coaches.
brusher, tube
see cleaner, tube.
call boy, caller, caller-up ; staff caller
knocks-up staff, e.g. drivers and firemen (701), guards (702) q.v., (usually at their homes) in time for their turns for duty as laid down in depot shed, etc., roster; must receive answering call from each man knocked up; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. guard caller; graded as porter (706) q.v. if attached to stations; cf. caller (706).
carriage lampman, carriage lighter
is responsible for lighting railway carriage oil or gas lamps, opening roof shutters, applying torch, etc.; or operates switch in electric lighting.
cinder sifter
an ash filler q.v. who sorts out from ashes good and useful coal and half-burned cinders for reuse, using a hand sieve or automatic riddling screen.
cleaner, boiler
see washer, boiler ; cf. boiler scaler (952).
cleaner, carriage
see washer, carriage.
cleaner, fire
see fire dropper.
cleaner, pit
see ash filler.
cleaner, road and yard
a labourer who sweeps all roads and yard areas in and around railway depot or station.
cleaner, tube ; tube brusher, tube runner, tube sweeper
removes plate from front of engine; cleans tubes which pass through boiler from fire box to smoke box, by working rod from smoke box end to fire box end, thus removing soot and giving fire free draught.
coaler, coal filler, coal man ; fuel man
shovels coal from coal stage or from trucks into engine tender; is responsible for proper packing of coal and for ensuring that tender contains required amount of coal for journey.
coal picker
collects, with rake and shovel, pieces of coal which have fallen on to permanent way from wagons at places where coal is handled.
coal stacker
a shed labourer q.v. who piles up stock of coal at a railway locomotive depot by building up with walls of large coal; marks with whitewash brush to prevent pilfering.
constable, railway constable ; policeman, railway policeman
a sworn-in policeman, employed by railway company, who keeps order in a railway station and assists in marshalling of queues of passengers in hooking hall; sometimes collects tickets.
control reporter
reports to controller (700) q.v., chiefly by telephone, notifying him of the number of guards, wagons, etc., required within a specified area; similarly is in touch with goods depots, locomotive sheds, etc.
drawer, fire
see fire dropper.
enquiry office attendant ; train information attendant, train information officer
answer enquiries of passengers about train services, fares, connections, etc., at enquiry office of railway station where copies of all timetables, regulations etc., are kept.
examiner, brake
examines brakes of goods wagons and passenger coaches in marshalling yards and sidings, to ensure that they are in working order; reports defects for repair; cf. examiner, carriage.
examiner, carriage
examines train wheels, couplings, brakes, steam heating apparatus, lighting, and train generally, either in station (en route or at terminus) or at depot; records damage to carriages or trucks and arranges for repair; cf. examiner, brake.
examiner, shoe (electric railway)
examines contact shoes which collect current from live rail; ensures that perfect contact with rail is maintained; adjusts, as necessary, with spanner, etc.; sometimes done by motor examiner (electric railway) (308) q.v.
examiner, tool; engine tool examiner
see tool man.
examiner, wheel ; tapper, wheel tapper
tests soundness of wheels of passenger coaches during halt at a station, or of goods wagons in a yard or siding, by tapping edges of wheels with long-handled steel hammers; reports immediately if a wheel sounds cracked, so that coach or wagon may be removed from train; also feels axle boxes for heated bearings.
firebar lad
see bar boy (engine shed).
fire carrier, fire lad
see fire lighter.
fire dropper ; ash pan man, ash pan raker, fire cleaner, fire drawer
drops live fire by removing loosely fitting slotted bars from fire box and rakes ashes and cinders from fire box into ash pit with long metal rake, on arrival of engine at shed after journey; in small sheds also does work of ash filler q.v.; on some railways work done by fireman and occasionally by engine cleaner (701) q.v.
fire lighter ; fire carrier, fire lad, kindler, lighter-up
carries live coals from fire hearth in shed to engine fire box; cleans fire with hand rake periodically, to make it burn brightly; in small sheds also does work of steam raiser q.v.
foreman, carriage shed; carriage foreman, carriage stock foreman
directs and controls carriage cleaners q.v., repairers and other workers at carriage sidings or shed.
fuel boy
a shed boy q.v. employed as coal filler q.v.
fuel man
see coaler.
gas filler ; gasman
fills gas tanks of railway carriages in a siding, or in platform of larger stations, by means of flexible piping from gas branch supplies at various points.
gas filler, oil
as for gas filler.
gas foreman
in charge of gas fillers q.v. who work on a siding or station platform; ensures speedy filling so that trains are run to time scheduled.
gas man
see gas filler.
gland packer
packs glands of steam regulator valves and pump valves of engine with greased hemp or asbestos packing to make steam joints steam-tight or water-tight; cf. gland packer (278).
greaser, carriage greaser, wagon greaser ; axle oiler
fills axle boxes of rolling stock with lubricating oil or grease as required.
see fire lighter.
labeller, coal
a truck labeller (706) q.v. labelling coal trucks in coal siding ready for sending forward to coal merchants.
ladies' waiting room attendant
in charge of ladies' waiting room and lavatories at passenger station; ensures cleanliness; issues towels, soap, etc.; collects fees and hands to station master (700), to cashier (939), or to leading ladies' waiting room attendant q.v.
leading ladies' waiting room attendant
supervises ladies' waiting room attendants q.v. at large passenger stations; ensures cleanliness of lavatories, renewal of towels, etc., and sometimes also collects fees.
see fire lighter.
policeman, railway policeman (not at level crossing)
see constable.
point cleaner, point oiler
attends to oiling and cleaning of points on section of railway track, or in sidings or yards.
runner, tube
see cleaner, tube.
sand dryer, sand man
shovels sand from railway trucks into stove or oven in which it is dried; attends to furnace fires during drying; shovels dry sand into bins for use by enginemen (701) q.v., in shed or depot; loads dry sand into trucks for removal to small depots having no sand furnace.
sergeant (railway police)
is in charge of a section of railway police at station or depot.
shed boy
general term for boy under age 18 employed in railway engine shed as ash filler, coal filler, or assisting ash filler, coal filler or bar man q.v., or in other general shed work; cf. ash boy, fuel boy, bar boy.
shed chargeman
in charge of a gang of shed labourers q.v. under direction of shed foreman (700); cf. chargeman engine cleaner (701).
shed labourer, loco. shed labourer
general terms for any man engaged in labouring work, e.g. ash filler q.v., in railway engine shed.
sheet marker
a sheet collector (706) q.v. who marks, and writes names and numbers on tarpaulin wagon sheets, with brush and paint, and stencils.
slip lad
asists [sic] slip checker (706) q.v. by collecting slips, etc.
smoke box lad
removes soot from smoke-boxes of locomotives in an engine shed by scraping and sweeping down; obsolescent; work now done by fire dropper or by tube cleaner q.v.
staff caller
see call boy.
steam raiser ; boiler filler
is responsible for seeing that fire is lighted under boiler and for filling boiler with water before engine leaves shed; also sees that proper head of steam has been raised by the time driver (701) q.v. takes charge; in small sheds also does work of fire lighter q.v.
sweeper, tube
see cleaner, tube.
swing bridge man
in charge of swing bridge over river or canal; opens bridge to allow water traffic to pass, and closes, when required, to allow train or locomotive to cross; is responsible for seeing that section of rails on bridge is in exact alignment with running lines on each side before allowing tram or engine to pass.
tapper, wheel tapper
see examiner, wheel.
tool man (engine) ; engine tool examiner, tool examiner
in charge of tool store and responsible for stock of tools; issues new fire irons, shovels, buckets, hammers, etc., required by engine men (701) q.v., in exchange for damaged or defective tools; records issues and receipts of tools, requisitions tools from appropriate department; receives key of engine tool-box, containing spanners, oil can, etc., from fireman (701) q.v. after journey and is responsible for its custody until again required.
train information attendant, train information officer
see enquiry office attendant.
washer, boiler; boiler washer-out ; boiler cleaner
runs-off water from boiler by removing plugs; floods boiler with clean water to wash it out; removes scales accumulated round plugs by working iron rods to and fro; re-fills boiler in readiness for next journey.
washer, carriage ; carriage cleaner
washes down outside paint of carriages in sidings and passenger yards; sweeps, dusts, cleans windows and brasswork of rolling stock after journey, and generally prepares carriages for next journey.

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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.