Wednesday 20 July 2022

Were your Irish/UK railway ancestors involved in a work accident?

The Railway Work, Life and Death Project has today released a new database featuring transcribed details of about 17,000 British and Irish railway workers who were involved in accidents while at work. The project is a joint initiative of the University of Portsmouth, the National Railway Museum, the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick, and the National Archives in Kew.

Casualties by hours worked prior to accident
       Source: Railway Work, Life & Death project. Click for enlarged view.

The source records include those produced by the state investigators (1900-15 and 1921-1939), applications to the Great Eastern Railway Benevolent Fund (1913-23) for assistance following an accident, and legal cases handled by the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants trade union (1901-1905).

While the number of accidents occuring in Ireland were relatively small and caused injury, or worse, to fewer than 400 men, if your railway ancestor was among them you will be keen to explore the infomation provided in the free database.

Not only are the injuries, location and circumstances of the accident set out, so, too, are the findings of the investigating officials as to where the blame lay or what steps should be taken to prevent repeat accidents.

This is the first tranche of a database that will grow to include details of more than 70,000 railway accidents and the employees (and occasional members of the public) caught up in them.

Be sure to read the informative overview of the project here and then scroll down the landing page to download the database.