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Britain's Railway Disasters (ePub)

Fatal Accidents From the 1830s to the Present Day

P&S History > British History > Victorian History P&S History > Social History Photographic eBooks Transport > Trains & Railways

By Michael Foley
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
File Size: 29.2 MB (.epub)
Pages: 238
Illustrations: 100 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781473831865
Published: 15th January 2014


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Passengers on the early railways took their lives in their hands every time they got on board a train. It was so dangerous that they could buy an insurance policy with their ticket. There seemed to be an acceptance that the level of danger was tolerable in return for the speed of travel that was now available to them.

British Railway Disasters looks at the most serious railway accidents from the origins of the development of the train up to the present day. Seriousness is judged on the number of those who died. Information gleaned from various newspaper reports is compared with official reports on the accidents.

The book will appeal to all those with a fascination for rail transport as well as those with a love of history.

Michael Foley examines the social context of how injuries and deaths on the railways were seen in the early days, as well as how claims in the courts became more common, leading to a series of medical investigations as to how travelling and crashing at high speed affected the human body.

This could have been a difficult book to read, but it isn't. The text flows well and the human perspective provided by the contemporary newspaper reports prevents it becoming dry and repetitive. Of course there are some sad stories, but also some miraculous escapes, and the overall theme is improving safety and responsibility from the railways. This is a social history as much as it is a railway history, and tells an important story.

Read the full review here

Michael's Model Railways

Reviewed by

Roger Backhouse, York Model Engineers, July 2020

All this makes it a great historical book instead of being a morbid book.

Read the full Spanish review here

Unos Cuantos Trenes

Article: 'History writer's latest book shares tragic story of station train crash' as featured by

Barking and Dageham Post, 18th December 2019

History is clearly something that Foley is passionate about and this book is well researched, providing an interesting social background to these tragedies. It can therefore be of interest to those who aren't necessarily interested in the mechanics of the locomotive

Essex Life Magazine

A useful contribution to the subject, particularly to the social history aspects of accidents to the travelling public and employees of the railway companies.

Railway & Canal Historical Society

Blends together a fascination for history and rail transport, producing an interesting read for history and railway buffs alike.

Discover Your History
 Michael Foley

About Michael Foley

Michael Foley developed his interest in railways after training to be a guard on goods trains. He later qualified as a teacher and spent much of his teaching career in primary schools in the East End of London. After leaving teaching to become a full-time carer to his twin grandsons, who were severely disabled, he began to write seriously for the first time. Since then he has had more than thirty local and military history books published. He has contributed numerous articles to magazines such as Best of British, This England, Essex Life and Britain at War. He has also had short stories published in My Weekly magazine. In recent years, he has written a weekly football column for the Havering Post and a weekly local history column for the Dagenham Post. He lives in Romford with his wife and grandson.

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