Clement Edwin Stretton.

The history of the Midland railway online

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respect at his grave at Belper will never forget the passing of a great
railway genius.

MR. G. H. TURNER, the present General Manager of the Company,
has distinguished his tenure of office by many reforms and improve-
ments of a very practical character, which have been attended with
great success, and his general administration has proved most gratifying
from a financial point of view. He began his railway career at the
bottom of the ladder, and the greater part of his fifty years' railway
experience has been on the Midland system. The story of his career
reads like a romance, and forms a notable example of what may be
achieved by ability and determination. His entrance into the Midland
service was in the capacity of a goods clerk at Bristol in 1853, previous
to which he had had some railway experience on the Bristol and


G. H. TURNER 287

Exeter Railway, which he joined on its completion in 1849. After
six years' service on the Midland he was transferred to Birmingham,
where he became chief clerk at that important depot. His next step
in the ladder of promotion was at Nottingham, where, in 1875, ne
undertook the duties of Chief Goods Agent, and three years later
the position of Chief Goods Canvasser at Derby. So successful were
his efforts that he was chosen by the Glasgow and South Western
Railway Company for the important post of Goods Manager, and
success again crowning his efforts, two years later he re-entered the
Midland service to occupy the position of Goods Manager on the
Midland line. In this larger sphere he had the distinction, after .a
period of great depression in trade, of so attracting the stream of
returning traffic to the Midland system that the revenues of his
department rose to an unprecedented height. Following upon this
achievement Mr. Turner, in 1891, was called upon to assist Mr. John
Noble in the position of General Manager, Mr. Noble's health having
given way under the strain and anxiety of his arduous duties. In
May, 1892, Mr. Noble resigned his post, and the directors of the
Company called upon Mr. Turner to fill the highest position in this
great enterprise in recognition of his most efficient and able adminis-
tration in many departments of the Company's service. Of ceaseless
energy, and possessed of the happy gift of keen business insight, of
great knowledge of practical men and of business affairs, Mr. Turner
has contributed much to the steady expansion and the continued
success of the Midland undertaking. He is a J.P. for the county
of Derby and a Colonel of the Engineer and Railway Volunteer Staff
Corps. Mr. Turner, in 1900, was elected Chairman of the General
Managers' Conference, which represents all the railway companies of
the kingdom at the Railway Clearing House.

The importance of the position occupied by Mr. Turner will be
better understood by referring to the Chart of Administration, which
has been compiled with the object of showing the great departmental
system of devolution adopted by the Midland Company and the whole
scheme of management and control. From this it will be seen that
the General Manager is directly and personally responsible for the
whole of the conduct and matters arising in

(a) The Superintendent of the Line's department, which includes
(i) district passenger agents, (2) district inspectors, (3) train
working inspectors, (4) canvassers, (5) stationmasters and
staffs of stations, (6) signalmen, (7) passenger and goods


() Goods Manager's department, (i) outdoor assistant, (2) goods
agents, (3) canvassers, (4) inspectors, (5) carters, porters, and
shunters, (6) veterinary surgeon and staff.

(c) Mineral Manager's department, (i) coal traffic district agents and

The General Manager, in the discharge of his duties in connection
with the traffic department, has associated with him four leading
officials, namely, the Assistant General Manager (Mr. E. W. Wells), the
Superintendent of the Line (Mr. W. L. Mugliston), the Goods Manager

(Mr. W. E. Adie), and the Mineral
Manager (Mr. J. Shaw).

The Superintendent of the Line
(Mr. Mugliston) takes command of
everything relating to the running
of all trains whether goods or
passenger excepting, of course,
the locomotive power, which is
supplied by another department.
He also controls the arrangement
of time-tables, which is in itself a
stupendous task little dreamed of by
the outside public. For example,
there is first of all the ordinary time-
tables issued to the public, con-
taining about 200 pages; then there
is the private working time-table,
issued to the Company's servants
only, containing the times of the
working of every passenger and

goods train on the whole system. This runs to nearly 700 pages.
In addition to this there is what is called the Appendix to the working
time-table, which is issued to the servants of the Company at frequent
intervals, and this runs to about 450 pages of closely printed matter,
giving minute and detailed instructions as to the working of the block
system, the number of whistles to be given at every junction on the
system, the distinguishing head-light to be carried by engines to denote
the class of train to which they are attached, the name of every signal-
box on the system, together with its distance from the adjoining signal-
boxes in each direction, the loads to be carried by engines over every
separate part of the lines and branches, the very important means of
signalling by fog -signals during the prevalence of fog that most




inveterate enemy of railway working, which frequently paralyses even
the finest system for days together; also the special arrangements in
force in every district of the system whereby a fully competent staff of
men to work fog -signalling can be called together at any time of the
day or night and be at their post of duty within a few minutes of
the call. This volume further contains all the regulations relating to
many parts of the system to be observed in shunting or working the
traffic, special rules for loading traffic, testing the telegraph wires, and,
in fact, it constitutes a great compendium conveying instructions and
directions for every circumstance
that can possibly arise on the
Company's system. There are
also the rules for the interchange
of traffic with other companies.
There is also a supplementary
working time-table giving the
running of all extra trains that
may be required by the exigencies
of traffic.

A great railway company, in
order to maintain its line in a
high state of efficiency, must be
constantly repairing and renew-
ing. This work of disturbing
the line from its ordinary con-
dition is undertaken only with
the greatest possible precautions,
not only at or near the point
where the works are being executed, but in giving ample notice to
drivers, guards, stationmasters, and all concerned well in advance of
the time. This is done in a weekly pamphlet of about fifty pages,
which sets out what parts of the line are to be repaired, the alterations
in running, the alterations in signals, the erection of new signals,
details as to the relaying of the line, and the special regulations for
the working of the traffic at these points whilst the work is in progress.

There is further a special excursion train programme for each week,
showing the running of every extra passenger train, the times of
running, who is to provide the carriages, the locomotive power, and the
guards. These regulations apply to all excursion and special trains
race-meetings, football matches, cricket matches, trains for holidays ;
and then, to crown all, comes a special summer programme.

All these things, of course, are quite outside and in addition to the



three hundred and odd pages of "Rules," which are signed by the
Chairman and Secretary of the Company for the general guidance of
all officers and servants of the Company.

The Superintendent of the Line is also responsible for the working of
the signal-boxes and the carrying out of the block system and the safe
working of the line in all respects.

For passenger traffic the Superintendent of the Line is assisted by
five district passenger agents, this devolution having been introduced
in November, 1899. These five agents cover between them the whole
of the Company's system, the districts being known as London, Derby,
Manchester, the North of England, and South Wales. Their duties
are generally to supervise the arrangements for passenger traffic in
their respective districts, and they meet together monthly to lay the
result of their investigations before the Superintendent of the Line and
the Traffic Department.

Then come the district inspectors, who take charge of smaller
divisions and are answerable for the proper conduct and for everything
that happens on the lines under their supervision. All cases of com-
plaint or delay come to their special notice and have to be inquired
into on the spot delays to trains, irregularities in signal-boxes,
accidents of all kinds, cattle straying on the lines, level-crossing gates
not properly secured, in fact, anything out of the ordinary course of
traffic working. The guard of every train makes out a "journal"
giving the number of coaches and the times of running of every train,
and he has to account specifically for every minute occupied beyond
the scheduled time. The importance of this, on a line crowded with
traffic, cannot be overestimated, because slight delays to either goods
or passenger trains tend most seriously to interfere with the carrying
capacity and the earning powers of the lines, and if not promptly
checked and obviated would soon lead to serious disorganisation.

These "journals" and special reports give an account of everything,
whether ordinary or extraordinary, relating to the working of each
train, and they must reach the Superintendent of the Line not later than
9 a.m. on the following morning. Here they are examined by a staff
of clerks, and those which record delays or anything of an irregular
character are sent to the district inspectors. In addition to this the
district inspectors also get reports through the Superintendent of
the Line, who has received them from the station master or signalman
in the district where the occurrence or delay of whatever character has
taken place, giving their version of the cause. The district inspector
must then go to the whole of the parties concerned, inquire into the
facts, and report without delay to the Superintendent of the Line.


In addition, the district inspectors have to visit every signal-box in
their district and see that everything is in order, and that the work is
being efficiently performed these visits being made both by day and
by night. These district inspectors have an assistant inspector under
them, but the district inspectors have no fixed hours of service ; they
have to be available at all times of the day and night it must be
known at all times where they can be found ; and whenever anything
unusual or of a serious or important character occurs the district
inspectors have to be called at once to the scene, and they must
remain in charge until the difficulty is removed.

There is also a staff of train-working inspectors, whose duty it is to
travel by either goods or passenger trains which frequently lose time in
order to ascertain the cause, and they have to present special reports as
to the best methods of overcoming the same.

The stationmasters are to transpose their name "masters of the
station," and their duties and responsibilites vary in a most remarkable
manner according to the size of the station and the amount of traffic.
Stationmasters at large centres, such as St. Pancras, Leicester, Notting-
ham, Leeds, Bradford, or Sheffield deal with passenger and parcels
traffic only. A stationmaster at such places has a very large staff
under his control and for whom he is responsible ; he has to receive
and distribute large sums of money for the payment of wages, amount-
ing in large districts to several thousand pounds per week. He is also
primarily responsible for all the money taken and collected at the
station, and for its being promptly banked and accounted for ; he has
also to manage the staff at his station so as to deal adequately with the
requirements of both day and night traffic. Sunday and weekday he
has the control of all the trains whilst they are at the station or within
station limits ; he has the control of the signalmen in the boxes within
those limits, which vary from three to twelve boxes. He is responsible
for the conduct of the parcels and milk traffic in the parcels depart-
ment ; he is responsible for the conduct of the booking-offices, for all
stores supplied to the station and their proper use books, stationery,
coal, oil, brushes, etc. The whole of the passenger guards are under
his control, and he has also to look well ahead to provide the necessary
coaches for extra trains which only run on certain days of the week, as
well as for special trains provided for in the excursion programme, and
also special trains ordered by telegraph. He is responsible for the
proper conduct of the whole of the rooms of every kind at his station,
the cab-stands, the out-porters, the lifts, the passengers' luggage, the
mails, and he has to specially report upon complaints of all kinds, so
far as the station working is concerned. His duties are manifold, and


he is being constantly required to give a decision on all manner of
questions, both verbally and in writing. Above and beyond all this, he
is responsible for the safety of every passenger arriving, transferring, or
departing from his station a matter of no light importance and
concern in times of great pressure of traffic with crowded platforms ;
and to him applies with special force the rule which says, " The safety
of the public must, under all circumstances, be the chief care of the
servants of the Company." A stationmaster is in very close touch
with the public, and he has come to be regarded almost as a public
functionary. The skill and diplomacy with which a stationmaster
discharges his duties have a very important influence in attracting
traffic to the line. He has also to encourage his staff in the careful
and diligent performance of their important duties ; he " coaches,"
"trains," instructs, and examines members of his staff who have ambition
not only to get on, but who have displayed zeal and ability in the
performance of their duties, and who are worthy of encouragement.
This is of very great value and importance, because it not only provides
an incentive for the faithful and punctual discharge of their functions,
but tends to promote that vigilant supervision which is so essential not
only for the safe and proper working of the railway and the comfort of
the travelling public, but the promotion of the Company's interests.

These observations and these details of the duties of a stationmaster
apply to all the large stations in the Company's system.

It has been pointed out that the stationmasters at large centres deal
only with the passenger and parcels traffic ; but the stationmasters at
small stations have to be a sort of " all-round, handy men " who know
everything about their districts, and undertake the supervision of
passenger, goods, and mineral traffic.

Taking an extreme illustration at the bottom of the tree, there is an
instance on a small single line with little traffic where the stationmaster
is the sole representative of the Company at the village, and his duties
comprise stationmaster, porter, signalman, gateman, ticket-clerk, goods
and mineral agent, and weighing-machine man combining all these
offices in his own person.

There are also what are called station agents, who at various points
perform very important functions where there are competing lines, and
who are, for all practical purposes, as far as the Midland are concerned,
really stationmasters. They are the representatives of the Company
on lines and at stations where the Midland has running powers. They
have to look after the Midland traffic and interests generally, but, of
course, they have no control over the station, or the station staff, or its
working. They, however, have to see that the company which furnishes


the running powers finds the porters and all the necessary facilities for
working the trains required. These agents are stationed at such places
as Carlisle, York, Bristol, Cambridge, Worcester, and Peterborough.

The entire train service, both goods and passenger, is regulated and
alterations from time to time determined upon as may be deemed
necessary to cope with the traffic, such alterations, regulations, and
additions being based upon the reports of all the functionaries or
officers whose duties we have been describing to the Superintendent
of the Line. He carefully dissects all these, and after full investiga-
tion he submits his reports and recommendations to the General
Manager, by whom they are finally decided after he has laid the most
important questions before the Traffic Committee for approval and
confirmation. Thus it comes to pass that no great change or any ill-
digested schemes or alterations can ever be brought into practice ; and
it is only after the fullest consideration and precaution, and the due
weighing of all the facts and conditions to be dealt with, that they are
brought into practical working. It is by reason of these rather elaborate
schemes of forethought that the running of unnecessary trains is
avoided, and also the consequent waste of expenditure which would
otherwise arise; and further, it also explains and accounts for the
smooth and automatic way in which these alterations which are brought
into practical working are effected without any disturbance of the
previously existing train service. These improvements fit in with a
nicety of detail and work in perfect harmony; all this is due to the
care, the forethought, and the systematic way in which they are brought
into being.

The alterations are not made for the mere purpose of bringing
about changes ; they are brought about by the actual pressure of traffic,
or the snowball-like way in which certain trains attract and develop
traffic en route, which forces its attention on the responsible officials.

Thus, a new train may be required because a previously existing
express has come to consist of so many coaches that two engines
are necessary almost every day ; or it may be that a rival company has
introduced or is about to introduce a new competing train, which it
is necessary, in the Company's interests, to checkmate in order to
retain its own traffic and position ; or there are cases in which
important traders or large firms put forth pressure and run sufficient
traffic to induce the Company at least to give a trial to a new
train for specific purposes, and as far as possible to meet public
requirements. In all these cases the Superintendent of the Line
receives the reports on the subject from the stationmasters, the
passenger agents, the goods managers, or the district inspectors, as


the case may be ; and when he has reduced all these into a practical
shape he himself draws up a report as to the probable number of
passengers, the best times for starting and arriving, the best stations
to stop at en route, the number of coaches required for the train, the
kind of carriages, and whether they are to include breakfast, dining,
or sleeping cars. After all this has been done his scheme is submitted
to the General Manager, who, if he is satisfied that it is a proper
arrangement, submits it to the Traffic Committee, who finally dispose
of it. If the proposed train is to run over any other company's line
on any part of its journey, or is to run into any other company's
station, or is to work in connection with the trains of other companies,
it is necessary to obtain from such companies their sanction, and they
must be consulted and the details made to fit their views and the
exigencies of their traffic. In working a new train into practical effect
it is necessary to provide a " balance " or return train in the opposite
direction, in order that the engine, coaches, and men can be brought
back to the station from which they originally started. This raises
another problem of discovering the best time for the new train to be
put on for the return journey. When this has been arrived at the Super-
intendent of the Line then communicates with the Locomotive Depart-
ment, giving the times of the new train in both directions, and requests
the Locomotive Superintendent to provide the required power. Then
the Locomotive Superintendent takes up the matter and provides for
the engine and the best means of utilising not only the power but the
time of the men in charge. The Carriage Superintendent has also to
be consulted as to the necessary vehicles and how they are to be pro-
vided. Of course, if he has sufficient vehicles in stock there is no
further trouble ; but if they are required to be of a new and special
character of which the Company does not possess more than are
necessary for actual requirements, the question of the construction of
new railway stock must be brought before the Carriage and Wagon
Committee. It is these requests for new trains whether passenger
or goods by the General Manager that necessitate and determine the
applications which the Locomotive and Carriage Departments have to
make from time to time for more capital to be expended on additional
engines, carriages, or wagons. But before this new capital is ex-
pended the General Purposes Committee, which looks so carefully
after the interests of the shareholders, and which Committee consists
of the whole of the directors, finally decides whether the new stock
or engines are absolutely necessary, and that the expenditure is a wise
one in the interests of the Company and to meet the necessities of the


It will thus be seen that it is no light and easy matter to arrange for
the introduction of new trains, as is sometimes imagined by the general
public, who often apparently think it the easiest thing in the world to
slip in a new train for their special benefit and convenience at any hour
of the day.

When a new arrangement does come into force and the time-tables
are printed, the alteration works smoothly and automatically without
friction of any kind and without disturbance to other trains on the
railway, from the fact that the arrangements have been so carefully
planned and worked out in a systematic manner; and although the
line is crowded with traffic, there is no dislocation of the facilities which
previously existed.

The Advertising and Literary Department, under the supervision of
the General Manager, deals with a great variety of detailed work, which
is admirably carried out by Mr. T C. Jeffrey.


The second division of the Traffic Department is the Goods, but,
as already explained, the Goods Department has nothing whatever to
do with the running of the trains, which are all dealt with, as already
explained, by the Superintendent of the Line.

The Goods Department is under the charge of the Goods Manager
-(Mr. Adie), and it is one of the chief and most important in the Mid-
land system, the Midland having an enormous goods traffic at every
station on the line. At the large stations the Goods Manager has
special goods agents, and at small places the stationmaster combines
the duties, as already explained. The staff under the Goods Manager
is a most extensive, one. He is assisted in his far-reaching duties by
an Assistant Goods Manager, an outdoor assistant, goods agent at
every station (some 600 in number), canvassers, inspectors, veterinary
surgeon and staff, carters, porters, shunters, and a whole army of

The outdoor assistant has to control and look after the whole of
outlying goods sheds, warehouses, yards, and their management ; and
he has generally to superintend the local goods agents in each town.
The carting, the horses, and similar things also claim his attention.

In the case of passenger traffic, the passenger, when he is booked
loads and unloads himself and there is an end of the matter; but
with goods it is far different. The goods have to be collected, signed

Online LibraryClement Edwin StrettonThe history of the Midland railway → online text (page 25 of 36)