Wednesday, January 22, 2003
The golden age of railways
posted by Jonathan Calder |
In the public mind, fear of the railway accident was combined with a deeply felt hostility toward the railway companies. It was widely believed that almost all railway accidents were unnecessary, being preventable by safety measures that the government was unwilling to force on the railways, and which the companies themselves were too miserly to implement. Newspapers and journals were relentlessly hostile to the railways and their directors. In the opinion of the Saturday Review of August 1862, railway accidents were hardly accidents at all, but "might be more correctly described as pre-arranged homicide," given the "system of mingled recklessness and parsimony" that it accused the railways of operating.
Ralph Harrington "The railway accident: train, trauma, and technological crises in nineteenth-century Britain" In Mark S. Micale and Paul Lerner (eds) Traumatic Pasts: History, Psychiatry and Trauma in the Modern Age, 1870-1930 (2001)