Page 1

FERROVIARIS


Definition:

After the establishment of the railway took place in the mid-19th century, a new profession bloomed: the railway workers. The toughness of the job resulted in all the workers becoming very close and caring for each other. The aim of this exhibition is to pay homage to them.

Testimony:

“Railway workers got along really well. They had their reasons. They made a great team: they were very good friends, like family�.

Dolors Borrell


The railway workers’ Exhibition Our aim with this exhibition of the Railway Museum is to highlight the importance of the human element in the world of trains. After the establishment of the railway took place in the mid-19th century, a new profession bloomed: the railway workers. The toughness of the job resulted in all the workers becoming very close and caring for each other. The aim of this exhibition is to pay homage to them. Difficult work conditions together with deep emotional bonds among the workers made a big family out of the profession: the railway family. Many of the jobs still remain today, but others only live on by the living testimonies of the family’s grandparents. Thanks to these people we are now able to know how the workers’ conditions were like when they built up their profession, their bonds, their festivities and also their protests. In many cases they lived in railway tows that were developed next to railway stations or major railway systems that, in some cases, still remain today.

This showing sought to portray images of the railway workers carrying out their jobs, but it has not been easy. These kinds of pictures have not been found in the consulted photographic collections.


The railway workers This showing sought to portray images of the railway workers carrying out their jobs, but it has not been easy. These kinds of pictures have not been found in the consulted photographic collections. Back then, only pictures of locomotives and train stations were taken. Pictures of groups of rail workers were rarely taken, and they always contained the two railway symbols: the locomotive and the station. The pictures show the workers standing up, wearing uniforms and are arranged by categories.

The purpose of this exhibition is to highlight the importance of the human element above and beyond the engine, not as a mere complement of it.


Testimony

Dolors Borrell “Railway workers got along really well. They had their reasons. They made a great team: they were very good friends, like family. They were so at ease when they worked! My father loved his job, I don’t know why…Trains are really something.”

Mercedes López

(History and evolution of the railway uniform) “…The railway was about to create new environments in the cities, giving them the possibility to grow and develop new ways of life…It became the nerve center of the city life, the new meeting point taking over former ones like churches or town halls, and sometimes it even took elements that characterized and symbolized those structures.”

Pedro Jiménez “The rail worker had a fixed salary, and that was important back then. Once we entered the MZA, we could not get fired, we were like civil servants, we didn’t make much money but at least it was permanent and had its advantages.”


Acknowledgements: Archivo de la Fundación de los Ferrocarriles Españoles (Archive of the Spanish Railways Foundation) Vía Libre Arxiu Fotogràfic de Lluis Miquel Tuells (Lluis Miquel Tuells’ Photographic Archive) Taller de Dones amb Memòria de l’Ajuntament de Vilanova i la Geltrú (Women with Memory Workshop of the Council of Vilanova) with the following testimonies:

Dolors Borrell, Dolors Mercadé, Camèlia Ferrer, Mª Lluïsa Jiménez, Pedro Jiménez i José Gascón Josep Mª Millàn and Josep Marín Eduardo Perucha Luis López Rodalies de Catalunya

Produced by: Catalonia Railway Museum. Vilanova i la Geltrú Creàtica.biz


MAQUINISTA


Driver

Job:

Person in charge of driving a railway engine vehicle.

Testimony:

“You were assigned an engine and told: “¡Now you have to take care of it, even more than you take care of your wife!” Truth be told, some drivers did …”

José Gascón


Testimony:

Dolors Borrell “My father spent a lot of time away. I waited for him for Christmas and he never came… I remind him absent. I couldn’t count on him, and I was so happy every time he came home. My mother, like all the other rail workers’ wives, had a basket where she put food for two or three days. I remember going to the station to bring it to him, and if we knew he wasn’t going to be long we waited for him, otherwise we just left it there.”

José Gascón “You were assigned an engine and told: “¡Now you have to take care of it, even more than you take care of your wife!” Truth be told, some drivers did… In the locomotive warehouse of Vilanova, with both stokers and drivers, we were a total of over a hundred people. There was a lot of coming and going… Regarding the workday, there were no set times. We knew our workday started when we leaved Vilanova, but that was it. It was hard, but I would rather work with steam locomotives than with electric ones.”


FOGONER


Stoker

Job:

The driver’s helper. His role was to keep the fire going and to clean the locomotive assigned to him.

Testimony:

“We stokers had to come to the warehouse on our days off to clean the engine. We worked all morning. With the drivers, we were like husband and wife.”

Luis López


Testimonies:

Luis López “We stokers had to come to the warehouse on our days off to clean the engine. We worked all morning. Drivers and stokers were like husband and wife. Being a stoker was hard work. First of all, we had to fully respect the driver because during work hours he was the boss, and if we didn’t get along with him, we wouldn’t get to go anywhere. During work hours we had to do everything the driver said, then we would worry about the engine’s pressure. We had to be careful; it was very important that the stoker got there before the driver. We were very close. I, as a stoker, went to the driver’s house and felt at home”.


operari de taller


Workshop operator

Job:

A craftsman who worked as a fitter, upholsterer, and carpenter in a railway workshop.

Testimony:

The workshop in Vilanova was very good. It was homey; it had a locomotive warehouse and a good work atmosphere.

Pedro JimĂŠnez


Testimonies:

Pedro Jiménez

The workshop in Vilanova “The workshop in Vilanova was very good. It was homey; it had a locomotive warehouse and a good work atmosphere. It was one of the workshops with best work conditions in the 5th zone and in many parts of Spain. I got to know Pueblo Nuevo, Tarragona and Mora de Ebro and, out of the three, Vilanova was the best. I worked in the workshop as a fitter. I had a bank and my work. Machines came in from time to time to turn its wheels as the tires got deformed. We were divided in three groups: one did the distributors and pistons, the other took care of the connecting rods and the third group was responsible for wheel bearings and brakes. There was also a group of boilermakers whose role was to look over the inside of the boiler in order to detect and fix cracks. We had lathe, brushes, workbenches, and the tool’s storehouse…

The gantry crane was used for small machines known as 500 and 400, which were German. Twelve or fourteen people were needed to lift the machines, but lowering them was more difficult. In order to go up the crane we had to use a staircase called the "cat ladder": a bunch of crisscrossed iron bars which guaranteed no safety whatsoever.


Testimonies: In the workshop we never worked an eight-hour shift, we always did ten hours: from 7 am to 12 pm and from 13:30 pm to 17:30 pm. This was possibly the reason why we earned a little bit more and we had what we called “precio hecho”: when a machine had to be repaired, the foreman established what had to be done and, once it was repaired, we got a little extra.”


Guardabarreres


Crossing keeper

Job:

Person in charge of looking after level crossings and barrier operations.

Testimony:

“The first women to work on the railway were the crossing keepers. Their uniform consisted of an apron and a headscarf. They were usually seen by the tracks with a pennant and a dog.”

Mª Lluïsa Jiménez


多Do you know of somebody who could add a testimony to this exhibition? You can contact us (documentacio@museudelferrocarril.org)


INTERVENTOR


Conductor

Job:

Railway worker in charge of checking for the passenger’s tickets.

Testimony:

“The conductor knew the people who took the train daily. When he passed by, it was like he didn’t need to see our tickets. He made us feel calm.”

Dolors Mercadé


Testimonies:

Camèlia Ferrer “The conductor had to check for our tickets, some of them knew us already but if you didn’t have it they would get angry. It was their job after all. I took the train every Saturday at noon to get back home and I often got on it as it was leaving, since my father had taught me how to. The conductor on the last wagon saw me one day and held out his hand to help me up. Then he asked me to sit down and told me very serious not to do it ever again, because it was very dangerous.

In the 50’s, if the train came from far away there would usually be a couple of police officers, but if it was a local train the only employee would be the conductor. We felt safe around him. If anything happened we would say: “I’ll go get the conductor”. He was the authority figure.

Dolors Mercadé “The conductor knew the people who took the train daily. When he passed by, it was like he didn’t need to see our tickets. He made us feel calm.”


FACTOR


Factor

Job:

Person in charge of, amongst other roles, running the ticket office as well as the luggage and merchandise check-in.

Testimony:

“He was a versatile worker, he knew how the entire station worked. He was responsible from things such as starting up the trains to things like luggage check-in.�

Eduardo Perucha


多Do you know of somebody who could add a testimony to this exhibition? You can contact us (documentacio@museudelferrocarril.org)


cap d’estació


Train station chief

Job:

The person with the most responsibility in a station.

Testimony:

“He was an authority figure, he was in charge of all different activities and of the train circulation. In the villages, people addressed him as Don (similar to Sir)�.

Eduardo Perucha


多Do you know of somebody who could add a testimony to this exhibition? You can contact us (documentacio@museudelferrocarril.org)


Ferroviarios english  

Summary of exhibition FERROVIARIS in English version. Resumen de la exposición FERROVIARIOS en versión inglesa.

Advertisement
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you