Clerks and Porters

The preserved Jones Goods engine No 103 heading north through Woodlesford on 25 May 1964. It was returning to Scotland after featuring in the film “Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines” which was shot on the Midland branch line near Hitchin. This is the only surviving example of 15 engines that were built for the Highland Railway in 1894, the first in the world to have a 4-6-0 wheel arrangement. No 103 was set aside for preservation by the LMS in 1934 and restored to working order by British Railways in 1959. It can be found today at the Glasgow Museum of Transport. (Photo by Fred Wormald)

Before the advent of computers and electronic ticket machines an army of clerks worked for the railways processing the vast amount of paperwork needed to keep the system running smoothly. It seems there was a form for every transaction and they all had to be filled in and sent off. The clerks issued tickets and looked up long distance fares. They also had to balance their cash takings on every shift in the days long before credit and debit cards. 

The porters had more manual jobs. They had to meet every train as it arrived, call out the station name, and collect tickets from arriving passengers. On the early shift they issued tickets for the first trains of the day and lit the waiting room and office fires. They also swept the platforms and station yard. At busy times the clerks helped the porters unload parcels from the guards’ compartments on passenger trains and the vans on parcels trains.

Station totem on the Up platform.