‘An octopus that strangles many railmen in its tentacles,’ is how jl describes the railways on which he has worked for 25 years. Aged 45, married with three children, he is a technician in British Rail’s Midlands signal and telegraphic department, and has been an nur Branch Secretary for 11 years.
I am employed by The British Railways Board as a technician.
The qualifications for the job are many and varied. A sound knowledge of electricity from a practical and technical point of view is essential. So is a knowledge of mechanics, practical psychology, and an inexhaustible capacity to suffer, with infinite patience, the prattling of the ill-informed, impatient and often idiotic.
Amenities provided by British Rail at my depot are excellent, which is a nice change from washing in a bucket, no piped water, archaic gas lighting and outside lavatories, bunged up and foetid all winter and most of the summer too. A very well-equipped mess room, with all the facilities for preparing and eating one’s food is something we used to dream about, but only in the last year or two, a dream come true. Dear God, I swear they heretofore considered us subhuman! No proper supplies of toilet paper, mind you, we can’t have everything.