Old-time railway guards and their kits
By Judy Evans
September 13, 2020 9:20pm CST
I grew up on a farm in Western Australia and our nearest town was Narrogin. It was a centre for a number of railway tracks and the railways played a huge role in the area, carting all manner of goods to towns further out and in every direction. We received boxes of apples or oranges in season; also boxes of day-old chicks, and any horses we bought or sold also travelled by rail. Vince’s father was a guard in the railways and I’m reading a book written by the son of a fellow guardsman, Ernie. Ernie also played in the brass band that Vin and I were both part of at one point. The book lists the items that had to be in a guard’s kitbox. They often spent nights away from home in the course of their duties. One of the items listed was ‘detonators’. This surprised me but it was explained in the next paragraph. When a railway gang were working on a line doing repairs, a detonator would be set on the track some distance down the line. The loud report if and when it went off would warn the gang of an approaching train. There was telephone communication between stations but otherwise, flags and whistles were used as signals for the men. Photo is of our brass band. We combined with a pipe band and played at Kambalda, which, at the time, was a new mining town. I’m on the left of the few women and Ernie is next but one to me.
17 people like this
• United States
brilliant ya've still that lovely photo! yepperz, back'n the day they needed some sorta warnin' system. i believe such 'twas used here'n the u.s., too. 'd need to do me some readin' 'bout such. could asks the son, since he works fer the railroad...nah, he'd prolly jest roll his eyes, lol. what wonderful memories to've, the friendships made'n towns ya made smile with y'all's beautiful music.
• United States
@JudyEv really, that's wonderful! i bet listenin' to such's purty interestin', e'en more so with him there to identify? the son 'tis a master welder, so makes certain the tracks're tip-top shape. prolly not real keen'n the diff'rent whistles, but i could be'n err, lol.